Friday, July 13, 2012

"You Don't Need To Fool Anyone," By Abraham Lincoln

There's been some speculation about whether I really said the famous "You can fool some of the people all the time..." quote. To tell you the truth, I don't remember myself. I was president. There was a war on. I said a lot of things, you know?

But the other day I started thinking about it - noodling around on the web - and I realized the quote is completely moot. You don't need to fool all the people all the time. You don't even need to fool some of the people all the time. You don't need to be very good at fooling anyone. You just need the big brass ones to keep trying. American society is ready to reward your shameless ass.

Watch this Frontline episode about the economic meltdown. It talks about how our financial leaders invented such creative ways to sell debt they ultimately destroyed their companies and threatened to take the whole system down with them. And if you watch the follow-up Frontline episode you discover that their punishment was to get a huge wad of cash from the government, with no strings attached.

Or you could just go out and buy Stephen Glass's book from Simon & Schuster about how he spent his entire journalistic career making facts up - and it helped him sell his first novel. Or you could read Jayson Blair's book - he did the same thing, and he got a six-figure advance. The books didn't do well, but that's the publishers' problem. Or you could go see the upcoming Mike Daisey show... if you can afford it, of course - I mean, after he got caught lying in an NPR episode, his ticket prices became more expensive than ever. Or you could buy a book from a Bush administration official who got a publishing deal in order to tell you how they got this country into a war for those WMDs that never materialized. And here's an article about the godawful amount of money Sarah Palin's PAC has raised. Running on a failed presidential ticket and revealing that you have no qualifications whatsoever for public office is absolutely no impediment to being a political player.

Let's be clear: None of these jackasses are fooling anyone - not all of the time, not some of the time, not in a box, not on Fox. They've screwed up publicly. They've been exposed, fired, disgraced, and/or hounded by the press. And then afterwards, after it should have been clear that no one should take them seriously ever again... that's when they each got piles of cash and TV time to tell us about it.

I can't believe I took a bullet in the head for this country.

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