Politics of Lying

09.20.08 | Comment?

How can you tell a politician is lying? Check to see if their lips are moving.

First a joke. How can you tell if a politician is lying? Answer: Check to see if their lips are moving.

One troubling trend this campaign season is the emergence of out and out lies. There are always half-truths and lies of omission (Obama pull a doozy with Carly Fiorina’s comment on McCain/Palin not being ready to lead a large corporation conveniently omitting that Fiorina said the same of he and Biden.) The one that really puzzles me is how this “bridge to nowhere” non-sense is playing out.

The claim: Palin is a maverick reformer who said no to earmarks and wasteful Federal spending.

The facts: Palin supported the project in question publicly during her campaign for governor. After elected, Federal support for the project was withdrawn. Palin and Alaska kept the money.

This isn’t a case of gilding the lilly, it’s an outright lie that has been propagated by the campaign and the media. When confronted with this subject, the campaign manager for McCain said “we’re in this to win” inferring they just don’t care, they’re going to say whatever it takes to get McCain in the White House. The Obama campaign hasn’t been nearly as blatant, there tack has been one more of omission and selective story telling, their campaign manager hasn’t indicated they’re willing to say anything, but is the pressure any less on that campaign?

What are the politics of lying? I can’t see that there is any downside for candidate A to claim that candidate B practices satanism backed by quotes from second and third-hand sources. It’s not as if anyone is being held accountable for what they’re saying. Doesn’t this bother anyone?

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