The Worst Job In The World

A long time ago (last week), White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was publicly proclaiming that George Bush had only ever used the phrase "stay the course" eight times. This was followed by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's COUNTDOWN (how appropriate) show presenting a video collage of George Bush saying "stay the course" twenty-nine times. When instances in print were added in, there were about one hundred sixty examples.

How does one explain, or understand, people like Tony Snow?

Is he proud of what he’s doing? Does he enjoy lying, repeatedly and publicly?

How does he look at himself in the mirror? How does he look his family in the eye? How does he live with the shame?

I’m not joking with that last question. If someone told me “For this job, you will have to stand up in public and lie, repeatedly, blatantly, and obviously,” I wouldn’t have that job. And if for some unfathomable reason I couldn’t walk away from such a job---

---I would get myself a straight razor and slash my throat. I’m not joking; I would not want to live doing what Tony Snow does everyday.

Watching him, and the other habitual liars in this administration, just creeps me out.

How do they live with themselves?

I've always had a hard time dealing with lies and liars. Lying is a common social skill. Some people are even great at it; they do it well, they do it frequently, and they do it with such charm and brilliance that even after you find out what they've told you is utterly bullshit, you still want to forgive them and like them.

Not me. I suck at lying. It's almost physically impossible for me to tell a flat out untruth; I can think of probably five or six times in my entire life when I've tried telling a direct whopper, and every time has been followed by weeks or months of shame and guilt.

This doesn't necessarily make me honest. (Sometimes I've felt it makes me a cripple.) I've learned to be evasive when occasions warrant. I've learned that sometimes telling all the details, all the truth, isn't the wisest course of action. And I've especially learned that sometimes you just need to keep your damned mouth shut completely.

But goddammit, lying may be common as dirt, it may even be useful in the short term, but in the long term... it makes it so damn much harder to deal with the world. The real world.

Back a ways, there was the piece in a news story about an unnamed White House official who said "We create our own reality." And the context was that the power and influence of the White House/Bush Administration/United States government was so great that whatever they proclaimed would come to be. That if you just proclaim a lie forcefully enough, persistently enough, willfully enough, that lie will come to be fact.

(Iraq. Katrina. North Korea.)

How DO Tony Snow, and company, live with themselves?

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