A politician was elected

From our series of John Oliver questions we can answer:

John Oliver’s season premiere asks: ‘How did we get a pathological liar in the White House?’

15 thoughts on “A politician was elected”

  1. Do we ever get actual examples of the lies? You would think they could provide hundreds if he truly is a “pathological liar”.

    I suspect what he means by “pathological liar” is “someone who has very different opinions to me”, but even that may not be the case in fact as Trump was for many years also a Democrat.

  2. @Rob. I am on balance a Trump fan (just so you know where my biases lie) but yes, there are clear and easy examples of his stupid lying. Two specific example spring to mind:
    1. His statement last week about crime being at an all-time high. Clearly wrong and easily disprovable.
    2. His claims about the turnout for his inauguration.

    He just does not need to do that stuff, and it worries me that he does. It does strike me as pathological.
    I agree that it’s no better than Killery (e.g. the Bosnian sniper fire episode or her claim to have been named after the Mount Everest climber even although the climb happened years after she was born). But ‘whattabouterry’ does not refute the claim.

  3. Gary, there may be reasons for Trump to lie the way he has, and he may be doing so deliberately and knowingly.
    Throughout his campaign, he was drawing in enormous crowds to come see him, in stark contrast to Hillary who only managed tumbleweeds, harpies, and a selection of alphabet soup types.
    Yet the media in its entirety completely ignored this and downplayed the numbers he was getting.
    By making an issue of the inauguration numbers and creating a controversy, he draws the attention of ordinary Americans to the whole situation. It plays out positively for him whatever happens.
    Same with the comments on crime, he may have other reasons to be making these remarks, maybe simply to wind up the left, or possibly to pave the way for other policies down the line, or maybe just as a distraction for something else he wants to get done a little more discreetly.
    It’s early days yet and he’s still finding his feet in the White House.
    He has a lot of obstacles in his way so we shall see hope he copes with the bureaucratic and judicial obstructionism that’s happening.
    I just don’t think he’s the loose cannon that you think he is.

  4. The Inimitable Steve

    Gary – yuge Trump fan here, FWIW.

    Trump’s one of the few honest politicians I’ve seen. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t indulge in braggadocio and bullshit, because of course he does. But generally I think he tells the truth as he sees it, albeit in simplistic big picture terms.

    His “lies” are usually either of the sales puffery variety, or the deliberately trolling his enemies variety.

    First and foremost, he’s a salesman. One of the greatest salesmen I’ve ever seen. He’s a master at crafting a pitch, which in political terms involves talking up the problem while hyping his solution. His positioning statements are memorable, attention-grabbing and simple.

    The crime stuff falls into this category. While there has been a worrying rise in violent crime in parts of the US of late, it’s been worse. Trump (no doubt correctly) identifies law and order as a priority for voters, and part of his value proposition involves public safety and locking up the bad hombres.

    However, communicating that to an electoral market of 300 million people almost requires you to simultaneously hype up and dumb down your message. It’s not even that voters are stupid (though half of them are below average intelligence). But even smart folks are busy, we’re in an age of media and social media saturation of news, fake news, celebrity gossip and cat memes, and the Professor Yaffle approach will get drowned in noise.

    Particularly given the legacy media hates Trump and wouldn’t give him a fair hearing even if he invented a cure of cancer that also makes your hair look fabulous.

    The crowd size thing was pure trollface.jpg and misdirection. He had his enemies in the press running about for a good couple of weeks, screaming like the guy at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, over a trivial non-issue that no normal person cares about. And all it cost Trump was a few tweets and off the cuff remarks.

    If he was British the Queen would give him a CBE for services to the wind-up industry.

  5. Meissen Bison: “How we avoided having one of the most corrupt and evil women ever to have lived and also a pathological liar in the White House” .

    Fixed it for you.

    In general : How come US tv has an unfunny, four-eyed, UK CM agitator masquerading as a comic on its airwaves? If he chopped his dick off live on air he could make the event neither remarkable nor even entertaining.

  6. OK, the Trump “crime at all time high” claim is an obvious one.

    It forces the media / left (I repeat myself) to contradict one of their sacred false claims from the last umpteen years. Barry said it lots, and it’s demonstrably false. But the Meeja wasn’t going to go and cite the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics against their man there, so went along with it.

    So the only way for the media to report the truth on crime rates is for Trump to say exactly what Barack said many times.

  7. Trump: ‘I have the biggest dick in the world.’
    Almost certainly false but capable of being true.

    Clinton: ‘I have the biggest dick in the world.’
    False, unless she is talking about BIll.

  8. If he chopped his dick off live on air he could make the event neither remarkable nor even entertaining.

    One look at Oliver suggests it’s been done and we missed it.

    If it hasn’t, someone’s going to have to buy him a pair of really powerful reading glasses, ’cause no-line bifocals aren’t going to be up to that sort of microsurgery.

  9. What is it about left wing Americans and going all damp at the gusset when a left-wing Brit slags off their country and their political enemies? I mean, all he does is repeat all their lazy, overly-simplistic clichés and received wisdom, but with a British accent…

  10. To be honest with you it’s his accent that grates the most with me.

    So, he’s from the Midlands, went to Cambridge, Footlights, all that. And he’s got some mock estuarine accent. WTF?

    Don’t mean that Cambridge should have given him RP, or BBC, but estuarine?

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