Bill Clinton’s big convention lie

Ego is the alchemist’s dream.  It can recreate a life’s history, edit out flaws and failure, and settle into your memory in a way that can challenge the lie detector’s needle.  Tuesday night, in Bill Clinton’s sorcery, we saw the core of amorality that has corrupted both of the Clintons’ public lives for decades.  He actually believes that words have no natural allegiance to the truth.  You can say whatever you need so say, twist or omit facts to your end, and steal from others to mythologize self.

This is really quite simple.  The Senate’s lion for child health and disability legislation was Ted Kennedy.  He was the leader of the effort for family and medical leave and every major proposal for health care form, including Ryan White, Cobra, Child Health Insurance Program and Child Nutrition.

There is no word in English that captures Bill Clinton.  Plagiarism comes from the Latin to kidnap, and this is so much closer to what is being done.  Yet Clinton simply did not borrow Kennedy’s words or ideas.  It is one thing to say that you supported and helped Ted Kennedy, but quite another to erase him and bury his legacy under a pile of rhetorical dirt.

The most troubling part was the most obvious.  He believed it as he surely believes that a lie gains truth if you tell it just the right way.  What is worse is the plotting and scheming to get such a speech just right.  I wonder if anyone, writer or early reader, had the temerity to question its central and fallacious premise.  You can only imagine the kind of administration this foreshadows.

Bright people have a special responsibility.  You can put your talent to good or bad use.  Tuesday night, another chapter in their revisionist history was spoken.  It was quite remarkable, both in the doing and in the surety that no listener would call them to task.  Oh yes, the book title will be The Art of the Lie.

Mark Twain said it right: “when in doubt, tell the truth.”