10/06/2006 03:01 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What Happens when a Lying Politican Tells the Truth

Stepping past all the craziness of the current political scene in the United States for just a minute, there is an interesting object lesson about the way politics works on display in Hungary. I don't really follow Hungarian politics. I have too much staring off in to space to do. But if I understand what I am reading in the NY Times, it goes something like this:

On Monday the Prime Minister of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurcsany, called for a parliamentary vote of confidence amongst his cronies in the national government in order to counter the fact that his whole country freaked out and elected members of the opposition party in eighteen out of nineteen local elections.


Well, here is where it gets interesting: Apparently Hungary turned on him en masse after they heard a tape of a speech he made to a meeting of top party officials in which he admitted that, in his effort to get re-elected, he had " lied in the morning and lied in the evening about the economy."

To recap: He lied to get re-elected. And it worked. He succeeded because he told people what they wanted to hear. But then when he had the bad sense to tell the truth, the whole country turned on him.

My brain has been bleeding since I read this story yesterday trying to come up with the perfect parallel involving the cast of players we all know and complain about here. But all I can come up with is this: It's too bad that there is no way to explain to the people who go in to politics that the things they are taught when they are 4 and 5 years old about telling the truth and not telling a lie are still going to matter and have consequences even after they get out of grade school.