Vice President Joe Biden finally said it, albeit politely, when he called out Paul Ryan on his less than accurate statements.
“We Irish call it malarkey.”
Interestingly, the etymology of the word malarkey is unknown. It’s thought to be someone’s name. It showed up in the early 1920’s as meaning untruthful, to obscure or mislead but the word hasn’t been used much since the term ‘bullshit’ came into fashion. So Biden’s assertion that it is an Irish term is as likely as any.
Maybe it’s time for ‘Malarkey’ to make a comeback. Ever since Republican Representative Joe Wilson yelled “you lie!” at the President during a state of the union address back in 2009 it’s been open season for disrespect on Capitol Hill. But the term ‘liar’ isn’t something that’s bandied about carelessly. Calling someone a liar tends to shut down the conversation rather quickly. It’s the Godwin’s law equivalent of yelling ‘Hitler’ in a chat room. It’s an accusation that one is intentionally misleading others rather than just misstating facts without malice.
But how else to accuse someone that they are actually lying? In the first Presidential debate, fact checkers pointed out that Mitt Romney made at least 26 factually incorrect statements. Now either Mitt Romney is really dumb or he is intentionally stretching the truth to suit his own purposes. In the Vice Presidential debate Paul Ryan seemed to be on track to repeat Romney’s performance but Joe Biden was having none of that. The minute Ryan stated something untrue Biden called it a bunch of ‘stuff’. Moderator Martha Raddatz asked him to clarify and that’s when malarkey re-entered the popular lexicon.
Joe Biden came away from the debate as a winner precisely because he was ready to call malarkey. Paul Ryan escaped without giving any new details on the Romney / Ryan budget but it wasn’t for Joe Biden’s lack of calling them out for it. So now we have a new, polite way of saying bullshit.
Leave it to Joe to pull the wool off of our eyes.