The following is an excerpt from: Katie Roiphe | November 8, 2011 | Slate.com
When it comes to scandals, we like to think that it is the clumsy cover-up, the lying that matters. As Maureen Dowd put it recently, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that it’s not the scandal that kills you; it’s the cover-up.” But is it really? Do we honestly believe that if Anthony Weiner had stood up on national television, right from the beginning, and admitted the full scale of his virtual forays, the American public and the Democratic National Committee, and editorializers of all stripes, would have said “oh fine”?
And of course with yet more women coming forward, Herman Cain is still saying “There’s not an ounce of truth to these accusations.” He has called the airing of previous allegations “a witch hunt.” We don’t know for certain what happened in any of these cases, but it doesn’t matter: The idea of his lying or evading—or what Dowd called “the cascade of malarkey”—has already become a central part of the public narrative. (“Man up and tell the truth,” demanded one influential political blogger. James Carville said the lying means he’s not fit to be president. A fellow conservative called for him to take a lie-detector test.)
The revelation that politicians evade certain uncomfortable truths when possible, that they are professionally trained to strenuously and creatively avoid answering certain questions, that they sometimes stretch that evasion into what the general public would probably categorize as “lying,” cannot possibly be news to us.
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