Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's a smear

This year's political campaigns have produced a new definition of the word "smear." It now apparently means something true but unflattering. This definition seems particularly appealing to the crop of inexperienced "tea party" candidates who have suddenly found themselves in the political spotlight this year and are probably regretting ever having used that line about "we need to run our government the way we run our businesses and personal lives . . ."

Thus the campaign manager of the New York Republican candidate for governor, Carl Paladino, denounced it a "smear" by the "liberal elite" when reports surfaced that he had a habit of sending a long list of e-mail friends revolting pornographic videos and racist "jokes"; likewise the camps of other far-out GOP candidates have termed as "smears" the (completely true) facts that have emerged about their promotion of a pornographic website (Ben Quayle), their trail of unpaid bills, a mortgage default, and an IRS lien (Christine O'Donnell), and the various simply bizarre things they themselves were caught saying on camera just a few months earlier (Sharron Angle).

Once again Ambrose Bierce comes to the rescue to explain this:

Defame, v.t. To lie about another. To tell the truth about another.