John Dean kind of gives me the creeps. I think it’s the photograph they run on his page over at FindLaw. I can’t really explain it, but something about the earnest, lofty-toned way he writes on these things, without acknowledging the seamier side of his own history of involvement in presidential politics, when combined with that photograph, just makes me go “eesh”.
Anyway, with that caveat, I actually really like his latest piece, in which he reviews David Corn’s new book, The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception: Has George W. Bush met his own Ken Starr?
Besides effusively praising Corn’s book, Dean goes into a long discussion of Bush’s lies, evaluating them based on the criteria laid out by political scientist James Pfiffner in an essay titled “Presidential Lies” that appeared in the December, 1999 issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly. From Dean’s conclusion:
…applying Pfiffner’s hierarchy of Presidential lies to the collection of falsehoods Corn chronicles in his narrative is alarming indeed. It shows that Bush’s lies are almost never justifiable. And it also shows that they are typically of the most serious kind — lies that misinform the public in such a way as to disrupt the proper functioning of the democratic process.