One of the ways that Rudy Giuliani has tried to prove himself the true heir to the Bush administration legacy is to develop the strikingly new lying technique of "flooding the zone." Of course, "flooding the zone" is a football term for the tactic of sending several receivers into one part of the field. In that way, the offense expects that one of the receivers will be open. Rudy Giuliani's approach to lying can be described as flooding the zone because he's so prolific as a liar.
Here's a catalogue of Rudy's lies from TPM:
But just as importantly, Giuliani keeps undermining his own credibility on all policy issues by exaggerating to the point of comedy. He can't just say he spent time at Ground Zero; he has to exaggerate to say he spent as much time (if not more) than the rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers who spent a year sifting through human remains and rubble. He can't just say he's interested in counter-terrorism; he has to exaggerate to say he's been "studying Islamic terrorism for 30 years." He can't just say he's committed to promoting adoption over abortion; he has to exaggerate his record as mayor. He can't just he cut taxes in NYC; he has to exaggerate his record to include tax cuts he opposed (he even counted one cut twice). The guy can't even release a list of congressional endorsements without exaggerating the numbers.Steve Benen of TPM thinks that Giuliani is "undermining his own credibility" with all these seemingly unnecessary lies. But that's not the case at all. Right-wing activists enjoy, expect, and even demand these kinds of lies because they interpret Giuliani's contempt for truth as an indication of contempt for the mainstream media, liberal audiences, and the Democratic opposition. One way or another, demonstrations of such contempt are required of Republican candidates.
There are several things that are ingenious about Giuliani's flooding the zone with lies. First, lying so often gives Giuliani the chance to cover up some of the more unsavory aspects of his record. Liberal media outlets like TPM and Salon might catch Rudy lying about the time spent at Ground Zero. But when the liberal media is hashing over that lie, they're not talking about Rudy's marrying his cousin, Rudy's use of the Emergency Command Center as a love nest for his mistress, or the inhumane way he treated second wife Donna Hanover during their divorce.
That's a plus for Rudy.
Flooding the zone with lies also means that individual revelations of dishonesty won't be so damaging. Because there's so many more lies coming down the pike, discussion of any particular lie only lasts for 24-48 hours. Rudy's tendency to "exaggerate to the point of comedy" doesn't hurt him because it's impossible to pay much attention to any particular dishonesty.
Another advantage for Rudy is that a few of his lies might get accepted as the truth. Given how hard it is to keep up with Rudy's dishonesty, the media might end up accepting Rudy's exaggerations of his tax-cutting record or his congressional endorsements as "conventional wisdom." Assuming that Rudy's going to have bigger and better lies in the future, the shear frequency of his fibs means that there's a chance that some of those lies will really help him.
"Flooding the zone" with lies is such an effective technique for Rudy that I wouldn't be surprised to see Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson to adapt it pretty soon. Both of them have a long way to go before they show that they're really serious about winning.