Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Scoundrels, riots and lying politicians

Big news in Budapest, y'all. Politicians lie. They lie to stay in government. They stretch the truth, misrepresent their position, say things are going better than they really are. Via the The Telegraph:

"It's obvious that we lied [about the state of the economy] throughout the last year and a half, two years," he said. In an expletive-riddled recording, Mr Gyurcsany [PM of Hungary] said: "No European country has done anything as boneheaded as we have."

He went on to admit that it was only due to "divine providence, the abundance of cash in the world economy and hundreds of tricks" that the economy had not collapsed.

The Hungarian Prime Minister in a speech to members of his parliamentary party talked about lying to the electorate to stay in power. The speech was on tape. The tape leaked. Hungarians are understandably angry about it. They rioted in Budapest last night.

Now Hungary, of course, is a new democracy - so maybe they're still naive enough to be shocked by this. Maybe we've not had such a bald admission of lying by Mssrs. Bush and Blair. Maybe the mark of a mature democracy is to let things ride, knowing that the system of constitutional democracy is more important than any individual personality or series of mistakes and indiscretions. But it seems less amazing to me that Hungarians have rioted over this discovery than that the majority of the US population haven't reacted more angrily to a series of events from the rigged election in Florida 6 years ago, to the weapons of mass destruction, to the creeping dismantling of the US constitution by the Bush administration.

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