There are a few things that signify why Americans generally see all politics in a dim and skeptical light. Top of the list are: Double talk, polispeak, and lack of responsibility. These are exemplified by Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is trying to recover from making a direct answer to a direct questionAbout America today.
Last week, Sunday September 2nd, Gov. O’Malley was asked on CBS’ Face the Nation a direct question. Bob Schieffer, the host of the program, said
“Can you honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago?”
It is as about as direct a question as can be asked in politics. It has no partisan influence, it is open ended, and it addresses concerns of the public.
“No, but that’s not the question of this election. The question, without a doubt, we are not as well off as we were before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, the Bush recession, the Bush deficits, the series of desert wars — charged for the first time to credit cards, the national credit cards.”
Here is the video of that question and response
The answer, in the first sentence is fine. Even if Gov. O’Malley had said yes, it would still be fine. But it’s when he qualifies the answer that Americans get turned off. Because Gov. O’Malley ignores any responsibility of the Obama Administration for the past 3 1/2 years, and that of the Democrat congressional supermajority in ’09 and the majority in ’10, to place the blame on a former president whose policiies are not impacting America now.
It’s the kind of answer that only a politician and a 5 year old would make. Because it lacks all credibility, and assumes that the listener is too stupid to understand reality. Truly only a person that believes President George W Bush is still in office could accept the statement on its face.
But the thing that makes this so much worse is what Gov. O’Malley has done since making the statement. On September 3rd, Gov. O’Malley blames Face the Nation, claiming they “word-spliced” his conversation. In essence, that CBS altered what he said and in what order to provide a political benefit for Republicans.
It’s an arguement that might work, if no video existed. The comments of Gov. O’Malley were a direct response, addressing the question asked, without cuts from a word he said. There is no jump in the conversation, movements or background. Plus the followup, also in the video, of Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter were in direct support of Gov. O’Malley (with more than a bit of softening of the rhetoric) and the question asked.
On Sept 7th, Gov. O’Mally went even further. On MSNBC, a cable network well-known for its direct support of President Obama, Gov. O’Malley said,
This not only contradicts what was said previously, it falls flat on the facts. The latest unemployment report proves him wrong. Any cursory review of unemployment since President Obama took office proves the Governor wrong. Don’t even bother to consider the national debt, national creditworthiness, or any other economic data.
In one fell swoop, Gov. O’Malley – an individual already being considered strongly as a potential presidential candidate in 2016 – has spoken with a forked tongue that most Americans beleive politicians must have as a prerequisite to getting elected. It’s not his fault because he didn’t say what he obviously said, and if he did the public are just not smart enough to understand what he really meant.
This is the kind of political commentary that the DNC, in their consideration of Gov. O’Malley as a presidential candidate, believes the leader of the United States should be, apparently. Which should give some pause to the current Democrat holding the office, as well as elections across the country.
America deserves more from our elected officials. Lying, or purposefully misstating if you prefer, about what was said and the facts that are readily available is the hallmark of desperation and an insult to the viewer. If Gov. O’Malley, or any elected official, doesn’t have the balls to say what they think and can only parrot political party talking points, then they don’t deserve elected office.
But as long as Americans have short-term memory loss, and forget incidents like this with Gov. O’Malley, the nation will never truly be better off. The best we can hope for is delusions of granduer, and a prayer that no one pops the bubble on the illusion.