The Flacktastic Tucker BoundsA Very Bad ManPresidential campaigns are largely exercises in lying and bullshitting. Intellectual dishonesty spreads like wildfire. You stretch the truth in favor of your candidate, it pisses me off and, consequently, I become more inclined to stretch it in favor of mine. Peirce asserts that feelings have a tendency to spread, and so do kinds of behaviors/actions. Anger tends to generate anger, love tends to spread love. Violence has a tendency to generate/spread violence, and intellectual dishonesty tends to generate/spread intellectual dishonesty.One might argue that folks who become more-or-less ordinarily dishonest during political campaigns can be forgiven. I'm not sure, but let's accept that for the time being. One thing's for sure though: if there's a God, and a hell, then there's a special place in that hell for people like Tucker Bounds. If there are gods of logic, then people like Bounds go into the lowest circle of their hell--a place reserved for people like Dick Morris and Rush Limbaugh.Unlike average folks and flacks who get caught up in the dishonesty of the moment, truly flacktastic flacks seem actually revel in lying, to delight in the fact that the facts--no matter how clear, pressing, or widely-recognized--cannot make them speak the truth. Set a stone in front of them, and they'll say there's nothing there, and do it with a smirk on thier faces. I am immune to facts, their smirks will say. I can say that black is white, and even the blackest blackness can't change that.Here is Bounds during the famous Campbell Brown incident. Note that he ends the thing with one of the flack's favorite techniques--he simply asserts something he has no reason to think is true (Palin makes decisions about equipping the National Guard), because he knows that Brown (though she'll smell a rat) won't contradict him. She knows that he is just asserting whatever it takes to escape total, humiliating defeat; she knows he' s just pulling it out of his ass. But that's the difference between people like Brown and people like Bounds--she could just assert that he's wrong (it'd be a good bet, and she'd be right), but she won't. Bounds has no problem asserting something pulled out of thin air so long as it serves his rhetorical purposes. Brown is cut from different, better-quality cloth.Flackiest bit:Brown: So tell me. Tell me. Give me an example of one of those decisions. I'm curious, just one decision she made in her capacity as commander in chief of the National Guard.
Bounds: Campbell, certainly you don't mean to belittle, every experience, every judgment she makes as commander --That's right, folks. Bounds (falsely) asserts that Palin has military command experience because she is in command of the AK National Guard. Brown asks for a single example of a decision she's made. Bounds's response: how dare you belittle every judgment she makes as a commander! This is flacktastic not only because it entails, fantastically, that asking for one example is belitting all judgments...but also because it actually presupposes the point at issue--that she's made any decisions or judgments as a commander at all.You are an unbelievable piece of crap, Mr. Bounds, with no respect for democracy. You kiss your mother with that mouth?Here's another bit, this one with David Shuster. Mark is probably right that the most notable thing here is that Shuster doesn't even pretend to take Bounds's transparent bullshit seriously, but just starts laughing at him. Though I think Mark's footnote is important, too: it's really not funny. It's nauseating. Bounds's repeated lies and evasions are, every one, another small cut, another small wound inflicted against the respect for the truth upon which any successful democracy must be built.It's not actually funny at all, and it's not actually excusable. People like Tucker Bounds are genuinely awful, genuinely harmful, genuinely dangerous people. They look like clowns to you and me, but make no mistake about it--they're actually villains.