A reader writes:
Re: your comparison of Bush's and Clinton's lies. While you very appropriately pointed out the similarities between the two equivocators, the differences are just as instructive.
Clinton is the more intelligent, calculating, and verbally acrobatic of the two presidents, and he knew damn well that he was splitting hairs when he denied having sex with Monica Lewinsky. Somehow, I don't see Bush's remarks about torture in quite the same light. They are just as disconnected from the facts as Clinton's were, and probably have far more serious, long-term consequences than Clinton's sleazy evasions. But Bush does not have a black belt in semantics like Clinton did ; he isn't fudging facts, calculating consequences, chopping logic, or coolly hedging his bets based on the probability of having to defend his statement in court at some future date. I wish that were all he was doing. Instead, the man actually believes his own lies. He is seriously deluded and appears to be suffering from a god complex that allows him to shout things into and out of existence, ignore or violate existing laws, and ultimately be accountable only to himself.
A shrewd liar or someone in complete denial? In a president, I think I prefer the former.