Wednesday, August 03, 2016

What is going on?

It was as long ago as 1985 that Mayor Mario Cuomo (a Democrat by the way) came up with the line that Leo McGary eventually used in The West Wing:

'We campaign in poetry; we govern in prose.'

It served well as a general description of the seriousness with which campaign rhetoric should be taken. We got it. You paint yourself good and your opponent bad. You don't bad mouth, in an ideal world, nor do you lie or cheat. But a bit of hyperbole - it's kind of expected.

This last few months has seen the rule book torn up. From Brexit to Trump the new mantra is:

We campaign in feelings; we govern in facts.

So a Trump spokesman, presented with the facts that crime figures in the USA (amazingly) have been falling for the last fifteen years said:

'Not in Chicago they're not.'

And having it pointed out to him that it is possible for pockets of increased crime to exist in an environment where crime generally is falling, he said:

'People feel that crime is getting worse.'

Now this blog has been the first to admit that a mugging victim will find it hard to agree immediately that violent crime is decreasing.

But once, as commentator John Oliver said, ' bring feelings into a fact fight', what are the rules?

Speaking way back in the 1980s Donald Trump himself said that if he ever ran for office he would run as a Republican because '...those guys will believe anything.'

Maybe it's now:

We campaign in lies; we govern any damn way we want.

Politics really is appalling right now.

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