Say whatever you want

There’s really just no accountability, and once you get a reputation (no matter how ill-deserved) as an intellectual, people will still think you are smart despite all evidence to the contrary.  Exhibit A: Newt.  Via Drum:

ThinkProgress has a post up today that shows Newt Gingrich unequivocally supporting a no-fly zone over Libya two weeks ago and then equally unequivocally opposing it today. The only thing that’s changed in the
meantime is that two weeks ago President Obama opposed a no-fly zone and today he supports it. So Gingrich is consistently taking the anti-Obama position, whatever that happens to be…

Back in the day, I remember a lot of people saying that it was getting harder for politicians to shade their positions — either over time or for different audiences — because everything was now on video and the internet made it so easy to catch inconsistencies. But that’s turned out not to really be true. Unless you’re in the middle of a high-profile political campaign, it turns out you just need to be really brazen about your flip-flops. Sure, sites like ThinkProgress or Politifact with catch you, and the first few times that happens maybe you’re a little worried about what’s going to happen. But then it dawns on you: nothing is going to happen. Your base doesn’t read ThinkProgress. The media doesn’t really care and is happy to accept whatever obvious nonsense you offer up in explanation. The morning chat shows will continue to book you. It just doesn’t matter.

And that’s got to be pretty damn liberating. You can literally say anything you want! And no one cares! That’s quite a discovery.

Depressing and true.  Of course, I blame the media for continuing to treat people like Gingrich as if they actually had any intellectual credibility.  Just pretend you do, and they’ll believe it.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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