THINKPIECE: Politicians didn’t invent spin, but watch for its excessive use in the race for the presidency

With the presidential election cycle starting earlier than ever, we’ll be hearing more from - and about - spin doctors than ever. So it’s important to remember that spinning is nothing new; politicians and others have always been masters at it.

With the presidential election cycle starting earlier than ever, we’ll be hearing more from - and about - spin doctors than ever. So it’s important to remember that spinning is nothing new; politicians and others have always been masters at it.

With the presidential election cycle starting earlier than

ever, we’ll be hearing more from - and about - spin doctors than

ever. So it’s important to remember that spinning is nothing new;

politicians and others have always been masters at it.



When William Howard Taft lost his 1912 bid for reelection, for

example, he proclaimed that ’no candidate was ever elected

ex-president by such a large majority.’ How’s that for

Clintonesque positioning?



Politics could turn even a straight-shooting frontiersman into a

spinmeister.



When Daniel Boone was elected to the Virginia legislature, a

reporter asked him what he’d done when he’d gotten lost exploring

new territories.



Boone said he’d never been lost. But the reporter pushed on: ’You

spent years in totally unmapped lands - you must have gotten

lost!’



’No, I never got lost,’ Boone insisted. Then he thought a moment

and said, ’Well, once I was a little bewildered for about a week,

but lost - never!’



Even the world of love provides fertile spinning grounds. When

comedian Chico Marx’s wife accused him of kissing a chorus girl,

he responded indignantly that ’I wasn’t kissing her - I was

whispering in her mouth!’



And Hillary Clinton isn’t the first person to put a positive spin

on being cheated on. In France, when a prince and a writer

discovered that they shared the same lover, the writer said, ’To

be dishonored by a prince is an incredible honor.’ The prince was

equally philosophical: ’It’s no serious misfortune to be deceived

by such a brilliant man.’



Here’s a spin from the world of sports: One night basketball

legend Elgin Baylor scored 71 points, and a teammate scored only

two. But the other player put his arm around Baylor and crowed to

the press that they’d had a fantastic night: ’Between us, we

scored 73 points!’



Writers, of course, are great spinners. Consider Alexander Dumas,

author of The Three Musketeers, who was an expert shot. One

night, he and his drinking buddies decided to draw straws, with

the man picking the shortest straw having to shoot himself. Dumas

lost and withdrew to another room.



A shot was fired, and his friends ran to retrieve his body. But

Dumas stood there, with his smoking pistol in his hand, and said,

apologetically, ’Gentlemen, I’m ashamed to admit this, but I

missed!’



Finally, to prove that there are spin doctors everywhere,

remember the priest who was asked if he believed in Hell. His

response was a classic: ’It’s a dogma of the Church, so yes, I

believe in Hell. But, personally, I don’t believe that anyone

ever goes there!’



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