Lies, flip-flops, and trust

Some politicians cannot understand why so many folks hate politicians. To help them understand, I suggest they simply listen to themselves.

As you know, Supreme Court Justice Scalia died. The President will nominate someone to replace him. The Republicans say they won’t consider his nomination. Because it is an election year. From what I can read there is not much in our Constitution that says whether this is right or wrong.

The President tells us this is wrong. He calls the Republicans a lot of names over this. Vice-President Biden says the same. He says the President should nominate someone. And the Senate should deliberate over the nominee. Now.

Our Senator Schumer says the same. Senator Harry Reid says the same. In other words, election year be damned. They claim the Republicans are playing politics. They are throwing sand in the gears of the machine we use to appoint justices.

As mentioned, the Constitution offers no guidance. So these are merely opinions.

Here is why politicians are about as popular as last week’s lunch served for tonight’s dinner. A few years ago these guys all said the opposite.

In 1992 Senator Joe Biden was head of the committee that vetted justices. He proclaimed that nominating justices in an election year was wrong. He told us earlier presidents refrained. And President Bush should follow their example. This is the very opposite of what he says now.

In 2007 Senator Schumer said the Democrats should not allow President Bush to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Bush still had seven months left in office. This is the opposite of what he says now.

Harry Reid has flip-flopped several times on the issue of how the Senate should deal with nominees from the President. And President Obama – when he was a senator – joined in a filibuster on a nominee. In other words he helped toss sand into procedural gears. His spokesman says the President now regrets that.

Is this the politicians’ version of the game “All Change”?

Suppose your friend tells you that such and such is absolutely wrong. A year later he tells you the same such and such is right. After the flip-flop do you take him seriously any more?

Can we take our politicians seriously? This is a pretty big issue. They did not make their remarks casually. They were not caught off-guard in a flippant response. They carefully prepared their remarks. When it helped their cause one year they said X. When it helped their cause another year they said Y.

So…were they lying then? Are they lying now? Did they believe what they said then? Do they believe what they say now? Do they believe anything?

Is this indeed just a game to them? A game in which words mean nothing? A game in which they can feed us anything? And we are supposed to swallow it? We, the rubes, boobs and patsies?

A child specialist told me once that parents can screw up their kids by doing just this. Kids hate it when parents say something one week and say the opposite the next week. They figure that in one of those weeks the parents lied to them.

This can cause confusion. And resentment. And anger.

I wonder if politicians cause the same feelings with voters. By saying what we hear them say over this vacancy. Versus what they said before.

Cynics say politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths. They say politicians have no beliefs. And that they will say whatever works for the political moment.

Sometimes the cynics ain’t so cynical. Sometimes they tell it like it is.

From in Morgan.

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