The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Simply Not True’

Posted on | March 12, 2022 | Comments Off on ‘Simply Not True’

Joe Biden believes he is honest, and that anyone who disagrees with him is lying, or is ignorant, or has been deceived by liars.

So deeply convinced is Joe Biden of his own honesty that he thinks his very name is synonymous with truth-telling:

“I give you my word as a Biden: I will never stoop to President Trump’s level.”
— Nov. 20, 2019

“I give you my word as a Biden: If I am elected president I will do everything in my power to protect our children from gun violence.”
— March 10, 2020

“I give you my word as a Biden: When I’m president, I will lead with science, listen to the experts and heed their advice, and always tell you the truth.”
— March 18, 2020

When I first noticed him using this “my word as a Biden” phrase during the 2020 campaign, I was puzzled. Has the Biden family been so prominently associated with honesty that when Joe says this, most Americans say, “Well, that settles it”? Of course not. In fact, Biden’s first presidential campaign, in 1988, collapsed in disgrace specifically because of Joe’s dishonesty, when he was caught plagiarizing others — most notably British Labour leader Neil Kinnock — in his speeches:

Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr., a U.S. senator from Delaware, was driven from the nomination battle after delivering, without attribution, passages from a speech by British Labor party leader Neil Kinnock. A barrage of subsidiary revelations by the press also contributed to Biden’s withdrawal: a serious plagiarism incident involving Biden during his law school years; the senator’s boastful exaggerations of his academic record at a New Hampshire campaign event; and the discovery of other quotations in Biden’s speeches pilfered from past Democratic politicians.

Joe Biden lies about a lot of things, including his own biography. It is fair to say he is notoriously dishonest, and yet he seems to believe that nobody knows this, and that he enjoys a reputation as a truth-teller.

Twice in the past week, Biden has used the phrase “simply not true” to dismiss criticisms of his administration’s policy. On Tuesday, after accusing “oil and gas companies and . . . the finance firms that back them” of being engaged in “padding profits . . . profiteering . . . price gouging,” Biden said: “First, it’s simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production. It’s simply not true.” He then offered various statistics which he seemed to think disproved criticism of his policies. But let’s go to Marc Thiessen:

Biden blames Russia for a 75-cent rise in gas prices. But the price has risen $1.85 since he took office. The week before Biden’s inauguration, the price of a gallon of regular gas in the United States was $2.46; at this writing it is $4.32. Before the war in Ukraine, Biden presided over the largest year-over-year price rise in at least 30 years.
What drove those record price spikes? We can start with Biden’s war on fossil fuels. Upon taking office, Biden implemented a policy of energy disarmament. He rejoined the Paris climate agreement, canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, suspended all oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and began working on his pledge to ban all “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters.” He came into office having promised that his administration would “end fossil fuel.” When you announce your intention to tax and regulate the fossil fuel industry out of existence, investors and workers listen. The results are less production — and higher prices.

But this is “simply not true,” Biden tells us, and expects us to believe him because his “word as a Biden” is so trustworthy. And the same with his remarks Friday at the congressional Democrats’ retreat in Philadelphia:

So, I’m sick of this stuff. We have to talk about it because the American people think the reason for inflation is the government is spending more money. Simply not true.
I don’t think we need any lectures from our friends on the other side about fiscal responsibility, for God’s sake. Look, we have an ambitious agenda. So let’s go get it done.

Notice the clever pivot there. After denying that increased government spending causes inflation — which, in fact, is provably true — Biden then takes a shot at Republicans as unfit to speak about “fiscal responsibility,” thus returning to a Democratic talking point from the 1980s. Democrats claimed then that federal deficits were caused by Reagan’s tax cuts, even though it was easily demonstrated that federal revenue increased after the tax cuts were enacted. (Thus the proof of the so-called “Laffer Curve,” with lower marginal rates causing economic growth that actually produces more tax revenue.) Because Democrats were so committed to a “tax the rich” policy, and also committed to continuing expansion of the Welfare State, they refused to acknowledge the basic economic truth involved and, instead of doing anything to reign in government entitlement spending, blamed “Reaganomics” for the deficit.

We may grant that Republicans in recent years have not approached a Barry Goldwater ideal of fiscal restraint, to put it mildly, without endorsing Biden’s belief that pouring trillions of new federal spending into the economy has nothing to do with record-breaking inflation. Yet in his mind, any criticism of his “ambitious agenda” is “simply not true” — no one can honestly oppose or criticize Joe Biden.

The problem, in an age of political polarization, is that about 40% of the population will automatically believe anything a Democrat tells them, even if it contradicts the most basic principles of economics, and there is a vast media establishment which won’t even question Biden’s bizarre counterfactual claims about inflation, energy policy, etc. All that matters to them is the cynical question, “Cui bono?” Who benefits from a particular belief — Democrats or Republicans? If a certain belief is favorable to Republicans, then this belief will be attacked as a “myth,” and will endlessly be undermined by media “fact-checkers.” Whereas if a belief benefits Democrats — e.g., increased government spending does not cause inflation — the media will advocate and defend that belief.

Thus does “truth” become a partisan prize, over which one party claims a monopoly. By selling their souls to advance this belief system, the media destroy their own credibility. Then they wonder why we don’t trust them.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!



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