Dollar bill presidents

Obama bill

You’ll have heard the speech by now. Barack Obama yesterday addressed a large crowd and said that McCain was

Going to try and make you scared of me. [polite applause]

You know, “He’s not patriotic enough.” [polite applause]

“He’s got a funny name.” [polite applause]

You know, “He doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollars bills.” [loud, sustained applause, accompanied by hooting and, yes, hollering]

Presidents? Well, never mind that. What’s more interesting is that journalists heard the cheering and knew what it meant, which forced an Obama campaign spokesman to say that

What Barack Obama was talking about was that he didn’t get here after spending decades in Washington.

A complete, bald-faced lie, of course. Washington—George, that is—did not “spend decades in Washington” yet managed to get his mug on a bill. Grant, neither. Nor Andrew Jackson. Lincoln? Ah, well.

Thus, the spokesman said a lie, but not just an ordinary lie, a ridiculously laughable lie. But, given that it came from a “spokesman”, this is still not unusual.

What I want to know is why journalists never actually accuse liars of lying. The “L” word is never heard or seen in the media. Possibly this is because, once you bring out the big gun, it’s hard to put it away. Accuse one politician of lying, and you’d have to, if you were honest, accuse others, perhaps your favorite, too.

The word “liar” is still potent, it still has it’s original meaning and cannot (yet) be used ironically. People still fear this word. Nobody wants to be called one. Because of this fear, euphemisms abound. Politicians don’t lie, they spin. Spokesmen do not lie, the utter words that are at variance with the truth. It depends on what the meaning of is is, and so on.

If you’re a journalist and you call somebody a liar, you had better be prepared for a return of the favor. Before using this devastating word, you best be sure your house is clean. I thus suspect it is a lack of clear consciences that accounts for some the sparsity of the “L” word.

Calling somebody a liar is a hostile act, and it’s hard to remain friends with a person after you do. Journalist of course crave access to politicians, and do much to obtain it. Shouting, in print, liar! will almost certainly lose them the access they had, or lessen the chance that they will gain access to new politicians. Thus, personal ambition accounts for the lack of the word.

What is strange is that journalists desire access to politicians who lie to them since they purported desire is to report the truth.


  1. Raven

    As an economist I was wondering if you would like to weigh in on this claim:

    “Martin Weitzman, a Harvard economist who has been driving much of the recent high-level debate, offers some sobering numbers. Surveying a wide range of climate models, he argues that, over all, they suggest about a 5 percent chance that world temperatures will eventually rise by more than 10 degrees Celsius ”

  2. Luis Dias

    Yeah, you’re right, mr Briggs. It seems a racist remark. But I think he suffers from it, actually. He really doesn’t look like the “americans” on the dollar notes. Combine that to the “muslim” meme that we are constantly berated in the internets, and it’s quite an unfavorable “climate” for a presidential wannabe. Of course, it’s a flame remark and it is spinnable in high speed and in fashions all over the place.

    Compare to Bushie. He does lookalike the “americans” on the dollar notes. And I do think that that got him on the job.

    Yes, it’s a horrible discussion and topic to have, but I am afraid that these kinds of things do have political consequences, and the game of Politically Correctness is always defeated by Cheneyisms and Roveyisms. I sincerely hope that we move on as a global human community.

  3. Sylvain

    Did he really address a large crow?

    It surely makes the phrase funny.

  4. “Yeah, you’re right, mr Briggs. It seems a racist remark. But I think he suffers from it, actually.”

    If he suffers from racism, then why is he bringing the subject up? I suspect it is because he knows that there is a larger group of people who will tend to vote for him on account of his race than will vote against him for the same reason. America wants to elect a black president because this would have the effect of putting the 1960s behind us. Obama is hip to this desire and tries to play on it. He’s a politician. The McCain campaign is right to call him out for “playing the race card” because that is, in fact, what he’s doing.

    The idea that Bush looking like the americans on the dollar notes got him the job is absurd as his opponents looked as much like them as he did.

  5. Briggs

    Let me tell you, Sylvain, crows can be nasty, frightening birds. It’s always better to try to talk with them than to attempt anything physical.

  6. David Adams

    This is not the first time Obama has used his race but it is the first time someone had the guts to question it. The mainstream media has been bought and paid for – and they will continue to worship at his feet. The American voter needs to start paying attention to the words this man uses and the way he uses them. Forget the cheers and clapping by adoring mobs – listen to what he is saying.

  7. Joy

    “Compare to Bushie. He does lookalike the “americans” on the dollar notes. And I do think that that got him on the job.”
    Would that all men had it that easy!
    I think you mean Bill Clinton! Why didn’t he think of that elegant excuse!”
    Seriously though Louis Dias, do you not think there were enough similar looking men like the guys on the notewhen they “chose” Bush? That’s funny. Who do you think will win?

    interesting that what the US call Democrat we call “Labour” which is a socialist party.
    I suggest a few alternative names of parties:
    “The we’re all doomed unless you vote for us” party
    “The pro everything that’s good” party ”
    the “virtuous party”
    “the only good people vote for us” party
    the “fair and squares”(perhaps not)
    “”The let everyone have a vote party”
    “the save the worldif it were in peril rather than not” party
    “The we care don’t you?” party

    I would be suspicious of a party that has anon title and tells nothing of it’s policy. That suggests that they don’t have any sort of vision or drive except that of winning votes for the sake of being in power.

    Are the Republicans not a democratic party? If so, surely they could merge as to have two is costly duplication. Maybe the Republicans should change their title to “democratic republican”

    Come to think of it what does Republican mean?
    Gordon Brown should break it to them gently that the Brits are not coming back!

  8. Bushie? We have had 8 long years of that kind of nastiness, Louie Louie. As a non-American foreigner from some slime hole of a trash country, do you think your outstandingly creative clever bon mot impresses anyone?

    What skunk den of a fascist murdering racist stinkpile nation do you hail from Louie Louie? Because Americans probably pulled your sorry asses out of some self-induced reign of terror more than once.

    Do you visit the graves of Americans who died to give you your freedom, Louie Louie? Do you understand what kind of sacrifices Americans have made on your worthless behalf?

    Here’s a tip. Stay out of my country. You are not welcome here.

  9. Joy

    Anyway, turned out nice again today don’t you think?

  10. Well, maybe I was a little over the top, but furrners have no call to insult American leaders. That privilege is reserved for Americans only.

    The commie fascist Euro-worms have never elected a black, a Jew, an Asian, an Indian, or had one run for any office. They prefer Teutons. Frequently they get themselves in a world of trouble that way, and then Americans have to bail them out of their recurring mass insanity/mass murder. First thing you know they’re waving little American flags and saying this like, “GI got Hershey bar?” and “I want you meet my sister.”

    But it doesn’t last. Their false and deluded sense of superiority takes over again and it’s back to cruel authoritarianism and worship of their genetically defective royalty and Mafia thugs.

    So I exercised a little American freedom of thought and speech, just for a demonstration. Don’t tread on me. You might get a bite you never recover from.

  11. A.Syme

    The value on that bill is incorrect, it should be “0”

  12. Joy

    Mike D:

    Where to start. Probably best not to do so as I might get bitten and there’s apparently no known anti-venom.
    “commie fascist” is that like “royal republican”
    I sympathise with your anger and outrage but You don’t “win hearts and minds” by spitting out your dummy or watch it, I might take my bat and ball home.
    I will disagree with your insisting that only Americans must be “allowed” the privilage of insulting American politics. This is clearly wishful thinking but out of the question. Your comments about Europe tell me that you know little about European issues. So while you exercise your right to speak about others, they will, in turn exercise theirs, a rule of the playground and the same the world over.
    Large nations and groups of nations are a bit like large planets. They have a strong gravity which slowly draws in the weaker forces around. This does not mean that the man on the street in England or France, Germany, and so on are in a position to resist these forces easily. It’s the same method currently being used by your very own Al Gore and his comrades. I think your anger is testament of the power that “The European Union” has had over many nations and the United States, if they are not careful, will also go the same way. I am myself fiercely against Britain’s membership of the EU, but international politics and their various machinations mean that I have no option but to swallow the bitter pill. I see a lot of rhetoric that was used on the British now being used on the US. Be very weary of the following phrases: (I have inserted “US” instead of “britain”
    “The US has the worst record for…….European nations have….”
    “US is currently the worst on the table of…..Germany, France, and even Spain are ranked…”
    “This politician is a EUROSCEPTIC” he is a ludite….he is not forward thinking.”
    “The old luxuries of power are now at an end”
    “look at the map of the US compared to the rest of the world…It takes up a small fraction” (As if size were important!!!)
    “look at the Dollar, we can’t survive without the rest of the world”

    Sound familiar? I’ve heard Americans even saying similar things and I’ve certainly heard people on TV from the US saying this. They must be “democrats”
    So my advice is to exercise your vote wisely and don’t sell your souls to the devil lest someone from across the pond calls your nation” commie fascist”. That’s worst than just being “commie” or just plain “Fascist” or worse still “royal republican”.

  13. Luis Dias

    @Mike D, or is it Mr. T?

    Get a vacation and shill man. Come visit my own country if you like. We cook very well and have a nice weather. Don’t look for clues about american soldiers having been here, though. You’ll just waste your time.

    @Joshua Herring,

    Yes, you’re right, that’s exactly what I said. But what I also think is that while racism is a positive force in him, it’s also a negative. Many people do in fact want to overcome the sixties and etc., but many also don’t, and they have the power to vote too. To be PC and never address racism would be more honest and honorable. It would also be a losing strategy. And despite all his “I’m so good and honest” rethorics, he’s there to win it.


    If bush wasn’t a lookalike to the notesmen, he would have lost. Al Gore seems more like a robot from planet Droid. Bush’s also a straightforward joe sixpack. If Obama looked more as that Jackson guy in 88′, he’d have never gone so far. So yeah, I believe looks play the game, but hey, I’m no american, so I guess I ain’t entitled to an opinion…

    Also, to your little advice. I’d also add to research a little, make some trips, ask the “natives” how they live, think for yourself on politics, without any constraint for being rep or dem or wtv. Avoid polarizations, you’ll learn nothing. There are good things coming from both sides, nasty stuff all around as well. (Isn’t it ironic that for so long have people questioned the “fear” that the US was living with the “terrorist global menace” et al, by the bush propaganda, and now they are on track to embark a new “global menace” but this time, a “democrat” menace, Global Warming? It seems funny if not sad)

  14. Joy

    Louis Dias:

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