Politicians seem to be able to say things in a way that gets them off of hooks. Their occupation is one of getting people to do things they wouldn’t do unless the politician convinced them that to do it was in their best interest. They practice saying things without actually lying, because if they lie their opposition can easily challenge them and make them look like crooks. So, they are forced to speak with glowing generalities, and make statements which the majority of a democracy will only partially understand.
Occasionally, the politician does do or say something which he later regrets, but almost always he takes the passive way out of the corner if he possibly can make it work. Everyone always asks him to fess up to the truth, and says that the public will respect him for being transparent and honest. Unfortunately, the simple truth every politician soon comes to realize is that there are some of those people out there who are their opposition and those particular people will sink their fangs into a simple statement of minor wrongdoing and never, never let go. Those vicious dogs and their media front men will worry that improvident politician’s pound of flesh until the day he leaves office. So, they simply can never admit any fault whatsoever, or they will be hounded out of office.
When you hear a politician say things like, “Mistakes were made and unfortunate things happened,” you may rest assured he is in a tight corner and is saying one of the last available non-statements. It really isn’t admitting anything — who, what, why, where or anything else — because after he has said that nebulous statement, when the questioners’ teeth then snap at him, there are then a multitude of ways to jump and dodge, and anyone can make calls which later turn out to not have been the best possible one. If the interview is a short one, he can wander around and find something more interesting to talk about that sounds related, but which uses up time and dilutes the intensity of the accusation, and puts him in a positive light and a proper spin on the generalities of the potentially misinterpreted facts.
The truth is out there – and always will be.
UPDATE: A fine example, for Herman Cain of what this post is about.