Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Truth About Lying

My work as a magazine editor often took me to Washington and Hollywood, two places where, if you ask people the time of day, you can see them trying to figure out what time you would like it to be.

So when David Geffen, Beverly Hills mogul, calls Hillary and Bill Clinton of D.C. liars, he may simply be stating the obvious.

But we are talking here of two professions in which people have raised lying to a fine art, where words seldom visit brains before going straight from the id to the mouth. To mix biological metaphors, movie people and politicians lie from the heart.

Geffen, in his blunt way, was echoing the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, U.S. Senator and Harvard professor. An odd couple, but on this subject, there is barely one degree of separation between them.

Geffen’s remark that “Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling” set off a mudfight. Clinton’s Hollywood supporters demanded Obama apologize and Obama wondered why he should be responsible for what Geffen said.

If this raises a sensitive issue for the Clintons, Geffen did not invent it.

Moynihan, whom Hillary eventually replaced, was deeply troubled during Bill Clinton’s Senate trial. He voted against impeachment but backed censuring him.

“There’s a sort of absence of character which has been the quality of this administration,” he told the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin.

The sight of Hillary supporters trying to drag Barack into her perceived problem does not contradict Moynihan.

So welcome to the big leagues, Senator Obama. When they throw high, hard curves at you, keep keeping your head down.

No comments: