I’ve Already Lost Respect For This Guy. Can It Go Lower?

Eugene Robinson has never been one of my favorites among the WaPo writers and it’s become pretty clear in recent months that he is among the worst. If he’s breathing, he’s probably lying. He begins this op-ed by using the dictionary definition of dissembling to rage against it, then proceeds to do it.

Bigotry Beneath the Fog
Wednesday we had one of those rare high-definition moments, when the House Republican caucus defied its leaders and refused to back renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

That tells you about all you need to know, doesn’t it?

No, as a matter of fact, it doesn’t. It doesn’t mention why they are opposed to renewing it as is; it doesn’t mention that the provisions they object to are supposed to be temporary, though they have now been in effect for 41 years. If they are reinstated yet again, you can bet that, should he be alive in 25 years, he’ll object to getting rid of them then. How do I know this? He offers no argument in favor of renewing them now, just an attempt to paint the Republican Party as racist because they don’t want to renew two temporary provisions.

Why does this act come up for renewal at all if not to evaluate its effectiveness? Robinson offers no insight other than to say that the South of today is not the one of his youth. This should be a positive development, but in his mind, apparently not.

As an op-ed writer, Robinson probably has a pretty high regard for himself, and probably considers himself as something more than a politician, above the fray; a thinker, even. That regard is misplaced. Aside from dissembling, I can think of two other techniques that are frequently used by politicians today:

  1. Taking a candidate’s weakness and painting his opponent as having the same weakness before the opponent can respond.
  2. Misstating an opponent’s position and then disagreeing with the misstatement.

The second one made me laugh when I first heard it, but it doesn’t seem so funny with Robinson using it as a springboard to make false claims of racism.

For the record, I have no problem with renewing the Voting Rights Act as is. I simply despise people who use a legitimate objection to a bill to paint the objectors as racist. It’s sickening.

UPDATE: If any readers can come up with good political techniques to obscure lying, please include them in the comments. As for Robinson, he’s either lying or he’s extremely dumb. I mean Cameron Diaz dumb.

UPDATE: Let me restate: If anyone knows another technique that one might use to pass off lies, like misstating an opponent’s position and then disagreeing with the misstatement, let me know in the comments.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2006, Race and Politics, , , , ,
Robert Prather
About Robert Prather
Robert Prather contributed over 80 posts to OTB between October 2005 and July 2013. He previously blogged at the now defunct Insults Unpunished. Follow him on Twitter @RobPrather.


  1. McGehee says:

    good political techniques to obscure lying

    Maybe you could explain better what it is you’re looking for with this, because I can’t make heads or tails of it.

  2. Just another thought. How would you count Earle’s indictments where the judge, taking just the accusation and assuming that the Earle would be able to prove every assertion (i.e. ignoring facts and just looking at what is claimed), said no crime was committed?

    And you also have the two great rallying cries of the left.

    Fake but accurate.

    Ahead of the news cycle.

  3. yaj,

    That’s a good one and a good, humorous example of what I was hoping to find.

  4. eric says:

    I think Mr. Robinson was being truthful about you conservatives and the Voting Rights act of 1964.People like him marched and had jobs and their lives threatened not white boys like you.