But the question Orwell's quotes raise -- Are Clinton's words designed to make lies sound truthful, or does she actually believe things she knows to be untrue? -- goes to an even more important matter than the Obama administration's heartbreaking decision to just throw up its hands and give up, reversing its own decision of only last month to keep 3,000 troops in Iraq past the end of the year.
It goes to whether the administration -- and many senior GOP politicians as well -- are merely capable of deceiving the public, or whether they have succeeded in deceiving themselves on the dire circumstance in which our nation finds itself: Our debt and deficit crisis, our position vis-a-vis China, and our deepening national security vulnerabilities around the globe.
As Gore Vidal wrote of a presidential candidate in his play "The Best Man": "Y'know, it's not that I object to your being a bastard, don't get me wrong there. It's your being such a stupid bastard that I object to."
My fear is that Washington politicians (and commentators as well) have been denying Washington's utter failure to confront and resolve the dire threats to our national existence for so long that we have deceived ourselves into believing the dangers do not exist -- or are only on the distant horizon.
For example, what ever happened to the U.S. deficit and sovereign debt crisis? Only three months ago, we had a blazing -- and needed -- fight about our deficit and the raising of the debt ceiling. Then we passed a phony bill that will not remotely avoid the upcoming crisis, and both parties promptly went back to sleep -- instead of back to the mattresses.
Even as the kindling flames lick up under Europe's potentially apocalyptic debt and banking crisis, Washington does not stir itself. Even as total U.S. public and private debt -- about $50 trillion, according to Federal Reserve statistics -- rises to over 300 percent of the gross domestic product -- Washington mentally slumbers.
Worse than a straight out lie about our dangers, I suspect that Washington is succumbing to a glutinous taste for self-delusion and denial. Thus, perhaps Clinton actually believes we have maintained our "commitment and resolve" in Iraq -- even as we slither away.
George Orwell once warned, "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." In that struggle, too, Washington has lost its commitment and resolve.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.