David Hazony dives into the mind of the President and discovers a universe of lies and mendacity unparalleled in the history of American politics.
I. Spin is the Opposite of Policy
Whoever said that truth always wins out hasn’t spent much time in Washington. In this town of majestic monuments and post-adolescent ambition-addicts, where the campaign never ends and only impotence is considered unseemly, truth is a butterfly in a mist of acid rain. It’s hard to catch, harder still to save.
Successful leaders have always been adept at deception, of course. To say politicians are liars is to state a truism and to ignore the unpleasant fact that sometimes one must deceive in order to achieve.
But in the last couple of years, something seems different, especially relating to the Obama administration’s signature policy initiative of its second term: The nuclear deal with Iran.
Two recent devastating profiles—one of President Barack Obama by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic and the other of Obama’s communications chief Ben Rhodes by David Samuels in The New York Times Magazine—have revealed a kaleidoscope of mendacity so sophisticated, creative, consuming, and substantively boundless as to give rise to a sense that something essential has changed in the relationship between truth and falsehood, between the actual policies of an administration and its efforts to sell them.
At a deep level, spin displaced policy. Not only were key promises in the deal’s favor knowingly fabricated for the purpose of persuasion; not only were the scope and ambitions of the deal, the timeline of when talks began, the internal dynamics of the regime in Iran, and the priorities driving the American side during each stage willfully distorted; not only were journalists and experts whose entire reputations should have been at stake enlisted in the government’s sorcery; not only were official records doctored; but the process of decision-making within the administration appears to have been short-circuited as well.
Members of the cabinet had little if any input. Indeed, in some cases their presence was entirely intended to misdirect the public’s understanding of the worldview behind the policy. Implementation of the president’s intentions was delegated, instead, to a staffer with the portentous title of Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.
Read the full article at The Tower.