All politicians lie — but that’s not the point
by Melvyn L Fein
June 18, 2012 01:47 AM | 1101 views | 6 6 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“All politicians lie!” By now I have heard this mantra thousands of times. Almost always it is issued for the mouths of liberal students trying to defend the latest deceit offered up by a liberal politician. Often nowadays, the person in question is the president of the United States — but his minions are also on the line.

The next thing I usually hear is that Bush lied too! Or that Republicans and/or conservatives are liars. If I suggest that not all politicians lie to the same degree, this may be acknowledged, but is treated as an incidental fact.

In contemplating how common this scenario is, several things strike me. The first is that these students, and the politicians whose example they are following, have become addicted to a strategy that most mothers warn against. They are essentially saying that: if everyone does it, it is OK.

Instead of defending a particular lie, they decide to accuse their opponents of the vice of which they stand accused. This shifts the focus of attention and when it works takes them off the hot seat. It may even succeed in establishing an equivalency between different instances of deception.

The way this often goes is: Well, Bush lied too! It doesn’t matter whether he actually lied or that he may have done so years ago, the current canard suddenly becomes unimportant. Now the fight is over whose lies are worse.

But that was not the original issue. The question was about this present lie and its implications. If the “everyone does it” ploy succeeds, then everyone is equally guilty and there is no current mendacity that should disqualify what liberals are arguing.

This seems to me a remarkably cynical gambit. Committed liberals appear to have become so jaded by the habitual deceits of their heroes that they no longer consider a lie wrong. Their criterion is now: Does it work? And if it does, then it is political wizardry.

We saw this recently when Democrats were accused of voter fraud in the Wisconsin recall election. Fraud is a kind of lying that, in this case, is utilized to change election results. Yet Wisconsin Democrats went on television, not to deny the fraud, but to assert that it was no big deal. After all, everyone engages in fraud and it does not really alter the course of events.

Then there is the Department of Justice refusing to allow states like South Carolina to use picture IDs for voters. This is said to protect equality, but what about protecting against dishonest manipulations? Evidently the fact that votes by felons, though illegal, probably allowed Al Franken to become a Minnesota senator does not matter.

There is also the spectacle of the president telling the nation that he has spent less than his predecessors. Given the fact that Obama increased the national debt by nearly $6 trillion, this would seem to be a joke. But no, it was said with a straight face.

Barack’s defenders quickly rushed forward with bogus accounting to demonstrate that black was white and white was black; an exercise that would have been unnecessary had the president been honest. Even so, many of his partisans swallowed this invention as if it were true.

Yes, everyone lies, especially if they are liberals. They have to because what they stand for is so egregiously fraudulent. Moreover, they are forced to defend their lies with another cordon of lies. They know that to do less would place their credibility in jeopardy.

But I submit that the credibility of people who have grown so comfortable with lying should be in jeopardy. The deceits emanating from Washington, be they about national security leaks or attacks on political opponents, have come so fast and furious, that they ought to be alarming to people who value honesty.

I have my fingers crossed that most Americans fall into the latter category.

Melvyn L. Fein Ph.D. is a professor of Sociology at Kennesaw State University.
Comments
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Off Balance
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June 18, 2012
If you can rationalize that saying what is necessary to get elected or re-elected is not a lie, then only a few lie. See, that makes a lie not a lie, to some. But, I may be lying, but I don't know I am lying or maybe I am lying about not knowing.

It all came to a head when we were asked what he definition of "is" is.

"Oh, what a tangled we we weave when first we practice to deceive."

Me--"but everyone is doing it."

So, if everyone jumped in front of a train, would you?", famous rebuttal from my Dad.

"“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”



The above is from whoever Iam.
anonymous
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June 19, 2012
Liar, liar, pants on fire!
Jerry Franklin
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June 18, 2012
If you Google "Wisconsin voter fraud accusations" you can see a lot of hits for that topic. And which party battles most of the voter ID laws that are trying to be changed? If we have laws that say you must be a citizen, non-felon, etc then why not enforce it? Do you not want to actually see the truth? As for the lies, he is right on- they all lie to get elected. Will tell you anything they can to keep that power and then will repeat the lies because we all know that if you repeat the lies enough times, it becomes the truth. And everything can be blamed on the previous President because there is no other option to offer to people to prove results so you throw up the all encompassing blame as the smoke and mirrors to divert the masses from the real truth. We call these elected officials leaders, but they do not lead anything or anybody unless there is something in it for them
Kevin Foley
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June 18, 2012
Nothing specific. No support. No research. No statistics. Just Doc Fein's Fox-fueled "impressions". Let's look at one of his fantasies: Wisconsin voter fraud in the recall election.

Didn't happen. The only place you will read or hear anything about it is on Fox and the far right blogs, where lies are the coin of the realm.
southernbychoice
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June 18, 2012
And thank God for FOX and Dr. Fein since you would never hear anything about any of this if you relied on the lamestream media or the likes of CNN or MSNBC. I suppose, Mr. Foley, you are one of those who believes if it is not covered, not talked about - it never happened. What Dr. Fein says is absolute fact, and it would n't ta ke much for you to get your blinders off and realize this. The 43 presidents before obama an up a deficit of 63 trillion - this is 43 presidents. This president in 3.5 years had a defict or 6.5 trillion - in less than one term. Look it up if you dare, or would it burst your balloon too much to see the actual facs.
twotats
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June 18, 2012
"didn;'t happen"??? And where di you get your information from CNN or from the unions or from DOJ?. Just like I suppose there was no intimidation of white voters by the new black panthers in 2008 - when the clips were televised. But then again, Holder says he will not prosecute any cases against his brothers" so no surprise.
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