Friday, May 28, 2010

Can't be trusted

Following up on Jason Kenney's lies about never asking political staffers to testify while in opposition, let's take a somewhat closer look at the factors (aside from the fact that it's been caught on tape) makes this particular dishonesty so damaging compared to the Cons' usual garden-variety lies.

The first point worth noting is that Kenney doesn't simply present his false version of history in the Cons' usual style of idly reciting talking points or provoking an obviously fabricated shouting match. Instead, he manages to summon plenty of apparent emotion and outrage in support of his lies.

And that's only amplified by the second point, which is that Kenney's Power Play appearance includes plenty of the types of personal details (e.g. about his own aggressiveness) and even seeming attempts to remember past events which would normally provide some indication of genuine recall as opposed to fabrication. Rather than simply reciting a party-based message, his words are tied to a personalized time frame and his own supposed memory of his time in opposition:
I was in Parliament as an opposition member for nine or ten years, and I was a pretty aggressive opposition member. I don't ever recall, in that decade, current political staff members of the government being called before committees to testify.
Now, it's one thing to be caught giving false information when there's some argument to be made that a minister was simply misinformed about something beyond his or her control. And that tends to be the territory where the Cons normally operate, bolstered by their strategy of covering up any information that would indicate what ministers actually knew at the time they answer a particular question.

But it's another matter entirely to be caught saying with the fullest possible conviction that one's own documented history never happened - having had one's fake sincerity laid bare for all to see. And that's where Kenney now stands.

Which is to say that Kenney has effectively been drained of all credibility. He can't pretend to speak with passion on anything, or to have any useful content to offer from his personal experience, because he's shown himself to be able to put on a blatantly false facade in both of those areas.

Of course, the Cons generally consider that kind of performance to be grounds for promotion rather than reason for concern. And they still get taken far too seriously on far too many subjects despite their track record of dishonesty. But the gap between what Canadians can see with their own eyes and what the Cons pretend to passionately recall and believe is bound to reach the point where Harper and his spokesparrots are answered with nothing but derision and mistrust - and the sooner that response becomes the norm, the better.

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