Thursday, December 8, 2011

Resurgence of the "But I didn't mean to!" defense

   We all remember the stark denials of Bill Clinton regarding "that woman" and more recently Anthony Wiener's unequivocal declarations of innocence.  Both of course were lying through their teeth, and the undeniable facts soon came to light. The current crop of scandal-plagued politicians, who perhaps did not get far enough ahead of the curve to make the lies believable, have taken a different, albeit time-tested approach. John Corzine recently stated “I never intended to break any rules” despite the disappearance of more than a billion dollars of client funds. Rod Blagojevich, who admittedly tried the Clinton/Wiener strategy first and only recently pivoted, pleaded for mercy at his sentencing by saying, “I never set out to break the law. I never set out to cross the lines." And then Eric Holder, when confronted in a congressional hearing about whether or not he pulled a Clinton in his prior testimony helpfully explained that "it all has to do with your state of mind and whether or not you had the requisite intent to come up with something that would be considered perjury or a lie."  The proximity of these three incidents is undoubtedly coincidental but their similarity is striking.  Could it be a trend?  Might the Obama administration claim that it did not set out to bankrupt the country, things just turned out that way?  "Good intentions" are credited with paving the road to hell, but with today's obsession with rehabilitation (see Anthony Wiener,) politicians even seem intent on rehabilitating good intentions themselves.  I'm sure they have the purest of motives.

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