Lie to Me

One of the more depressing articles of this political cycle popped up on Slate today, asking not why McCain’s campaign is outright lying about so many things in its political ads and messaging, but why Obama isn’t. Sure, it says, Obama’s stretching the truth here and there, but when someone notes facts, the Obama campaign amends the message. When the McCain people get caught in a lie, on the other hand, they more or less shrug and continue the lie, on the grounds that it’s working. And well, it is, as anyone who can read a poll can see. Therefore, since outright lying and distortion seems to be what people want, one has to wonder why Obama isn’t doing more of it.

As fantastically depressing as the thesis of the piece is, it points to a fact that is alas well in evidence, which is that the McCain campaign is the reductio ad absurdum of the GOP strategy that “facts are stupid things” — and that from the simple realpolitik point of view that winning isn’t just the important thing, it’s the only thing, it might be onto something. It’s a campaign that will lie and continue to lie when called on its lies because as far as it can tell it’s being rewarded for doing so. As the article notes, the GOP has spent the last several presidential cycles inculcating the idea to its partisans and to the public that truth is a relative thing and that an actual, verifiable fact can and should be discounted if it is presented by someone whose politics are not your own — and indeed the very act of pointing out facts is a suspicious activity in itself.

It’s entirely possible that McCain campaign will benefit from a critical mass of people — and not just dyed-in-the-wool, will-vote-Satan-into-office-if-he-wears-a-flag-pin Republicans — who have been primed by years of intentional and structural undermining of the legitimacy of fact, to accept bald-faced lying as just another tactic; people, in other words, who know that they are being lied to, know the lies are being repeated in the face of factual evidence, and know the campaign knows it is lying and plans to continue to do so all the way to the White House… and see that sort of stance as admirable. Can you blame McCain for taking advantage of this dynamic? Well, quite obviously, you can, and should. It’s one thing to imagine one’s self a “maverick” for speaking truth to power; it’s quite another thing to be a “maverick” by deciding to lie one’s way into power. However, it’s also amply clear that many who should blame him, or would be outraged by Obama lying in such a transparent and recurrent fashion, won’t.

And this is the interesting thing about this particular election cycle. I’m not suggesting that distortion and lying are new to this presidential election cycle (it goes back to at least the 1800 election, when Adams and Jefferson teed off on each other), and I’m not suggesting the Obama campaign is comprised of innocent does who would (gasp!) never stretch a truth for political gain. I am suggesting the McCain campaign is the first campaign, certainly in modern political history, that has decided that truth is entirely optional, and isn’t afraid to come right out and say it. And it’s working — and might well work all the way to the steps of the White House.

If it does, that will be an interesting political lesson for the GOP. It will be confirmation of the actual “Bush Doctrine” of “do and say whatever the hell you want, because no one has the will to stop you.” When there is no real-world penalty for lying, distorting and demonizing, then the only thing to stop you is your own moral compunctions. However, if McCain actually had any moral compunctions on this point, he wouldn’t be running the campaign he’s running now. And I would suggest that a man who shows no moral compunction in pursuit of power is not a man who will suddenly find those compunctions once he has power. An election is a job interview, people. If someone lies to you during a job interview, and says to you “yes, I’m lying, what of it?” when you catch them in the lie, and you hire them anyway, well. You shouldn’t be surprised at what comes next.

To go back to Obama and whether he should embrace the philosophy of flat-out lying, perhaps it makes sense for him to do so, but I certainly hope he doesn’t. Not because I think it’s better to have honor than power (although I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have honor rather than power) but because I believe that someone should be making the argument that one can win an election by something other than a willful determination to lie in people’s faces, and to encourage them to cheer those lies.

The fact of the matter is that at this point in the election, it’s not just about what positions the candidates hold on various political subjects. It’s also about how the candidates, and the parties behind, choose to see the people they intend to lead. The GOP and the McCain campaign, irrespective of its political positions, sees the American voter as deserving lies, lots of lies, repeated as often as necessary to win. And maybe they’re right about it. We’ll know soon enough.

184 thoughts on “Lie to Me

  1. Obama isn’t lying? News to me. AFAIK his campaign has been end-to-end lies, with a side order of Hope and Change moonshine.

    Both candidates depress me. America deserves better than this, and should be able to do better than this.

  2. Thank you for once again channeling my frustration and despair so eloquently. The most dispiriting thing about this campaign is that our country has come to this: an utter disrespect for the truth, and the promotion of ignorance and ideology over experience, good judgment and moral fiber.

    It has been allowed to flourish because good people do nothing but shrug and say “Oh well, that’s politics for you.” And it’s not going to end until the American people collectively say “ENOUGH!” — and stop electing the kinds of unprincipled jerks.

  3. JJ:

    “Obama isn’t lying? News to me.”

    It might help to read the linked article, JJ, which gives a tally of such things. Also, it might help to note the reaction by each campaign to being caught out on a distortion; one corrects, the other one, not so much.

    It’s also useful, in my opinion, to note which of the campaigns actually talks about policy more than attacks the other campaign.

  4. From the caveats section of the Slate article:

    “I compiled these numbers by hand-counting recent entries on PolitiFact; none of the fact-checking sites maintain an overall “veracity meter” for each campaign. When I asked Brooks Jackson, who heads FactCheck.org, and Bill Adair, who directs PolitiFact, to judge which campaign was being more dishonest, both declined to do so. “I have no objective way of measuring the degree of mendacity in any political statement, let alone in any campaign,” Jackson told me. Adair compared his job to that of a baseball umpire, and my question, he said, was like asking an ump, “Are the Tampa Bay Rays safe at first more often than they’re out?” Adair said he didn’t object to my counting up all the lies for each campaign, but he noted that the process was not scientific—PolitiFact uses its own judgment in deciding which statements to investigate, so its sampling of politicians’ statements isn’t random.”

  5. The reason the Obama campaign isn’t doing the same thing — besides the probability that they actually have ethics, morals, and scruples — is the certain knowledge that if the were to do so, the McRove campaign would immediately come out with ads calling them habitual liars.

    One could ask why the Obama campaign isn’t doing that. (Well. They’ve started to, I see a report of one ad talking about it. And the press has started calling both McCain and Palin on their lies. But that hasn’t stopped them.)

    People are stupid. And the Republicans know that very well… and also use it very well.

  6. The “undermining of the legitimacy of fact” and the populace’s willingness to ignore – even expect – lies, is frightening. And though the political race is most on our minds right now, the issue extends far beyond that… we expect the government to lie to us about everything… military actions, foreign policy, the threats from which they must protect us, the liberties we must sacrifice so we can be protected… and we the populace ignore it because that’s just the way things are.

    Just as frightening is the way it extends into our private lives. After all, if the government doesn’t have to tell the truth or be held accountable for its actions / inaction / lies, why should I?

  7. I recall once when I lived in WI that Russ Feingold, in the run-up to his re-election campaign, offered a public challenge to his opponent to run a clean campaign. That meant neither candidate would mudsling, and they would make every effort to keep advocacy groups from mud-slinging for them. His opponent declined the offer and yet Russ stayed true and stuck to talking about the issues and his positions on them, while his opponent just kept heaping on the lies and the attacks.

    Russ won with a 12% margin. I voted for him, and I’m pretty conservative in my politics. He got my vote because he stuck to his principles, and his message, and didn’t waffle with the political breeze. And I saw in him some measure of honor that his opponent could not demonstrate. I don’t agree with him on many things, but I respect him as a politician and as a man.

    I know this is OT, but the point I’m trying to make is that once a campaign engages in Mud-slinging, it doesn’t matter how much mud is thrown on either side, the mud is out there and people, in general, are tired of it and typically ignore it.

    And I think the reason Obama isn’t getting a pass on it is because a lot of conservatives see the MSM as basically lying and stumping for Obama, and they don’t see him telling them to cut it out and be fair.

  8. I’m astonished that someone could write that article, prove their thesis, and reach the conclusion that the right thing is for BOTH sides to behave that way. I’m particularly amazed that a JOURNALIST would make such a statement. This is what a supposed finder-of-truth wants?

    The suggestion that something should be done because it works is the ultimate reductio ad absurdum. We could end homelessness by the end of the day – all we need to do is execute every one of them. That’s a solution that works, so long as you don’t mind the price you pay along the way.

    The price the Obama camp would pay both in their souls and in the respect of the people by taking up this style that Manjoo proposes would be far higher than losing.

  9. Madrocketscientist:

    “I think the reason Obama isn’t getting a pass on it is because a lot of conservatives see the MSM as basically lying and stumping for Obama, and they don’t see him telling them to cut it out and be fair.”

    The idea that conservatives think the media lives at the back and call of a political candidate illustrates:

    a) The basic corruption of the media on the right side of things here in the US, because much of it is in bed with the GOP;

    b) An overall and fundamental misunderstanding of the role and responsibilities of the press, likely aided and abetted by the first point.

  10. This is a rather silly piece, I think. An admitted Obama partisan is saying McCain lies and Obama does not and further does not even present any data to support this stance. A little balance might be called for, here.

    My personal, jaded, view is that politicians lie. All politicians. They lie for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is that the truth is usually a very long story and their audience does not have the patience to hear it. Second is that all people have a different conception of what constitutes a valid lie versus an invalid lie. Take the Clinton sex scandal as a for instance. Third is that there are subjects which their supporters just don’t care enough about to care if their candidate is lying about it.

    For instance, I believe that Obama is lying his butt off when he says that a person in my income bracket will not pay any more tax than I do today under his administration. He has claimed this for all people earning less than $200,000 – $250,000 per year. Lately his message has changed. I think this is one of those wink and a nod, “let’s fool the conservatives”, lies that liberals tend to tell that they don’t think is all that important. It certainly worked for Clinton.

    The list of reasons why politicians lie is long. The first reason above is the one which bothers me most because it says so much more about us than it does about politicians.

  11. The Republicans have to lie. That’s all that they have left. The last seven years have been the Republican dream – control of all of the branches of government, and a president who is willing to do all of the things that the people running the Republican machine have wished to do.

    The results have been catastrophic. Witness today’s complete meltdown of the banking system, for example. Our international standing has never been lower. Our ability to protect ourselves has never been lower.

    The Republicans have spent the last decade training the people that up is down and good is bad. The McCain campaign is the distillation of that philosophy.

  12. Eh, a brief look at those isn’t very persuasive John, unless you’re already drinking the Obama kool-aid.

    Just looking at them, the first one that was listed:

    ‘Obama’s one education accomplishment was “legislation to teach ‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.”‘

    The only falsehood here is that he didn’t actually manage to accomplish it. There’s certainly no dispute that he wanted to accomplish it, he did vote for it after all. And considering that his frequent vote when he was a state legislator was ‘Present’ rather than actually, you know, making a decision, that means something. So a fair reading here would have been ‘somewhat true’.

    The second one listed:

    “Says Obama called Sarah Palin a pig.”

    If you actually watched the video, of course he did, and that’s exactly the way his audience took it. Look, there are only two possibilities here. One, Obama intended it to be taken that way, in which case this one is absolutely true, or two, he didn’t intend it to be taken that way, in which case he’s clearly too stupid to be President. There are no other options on this one.

    When the very first two listed that I look at are at least somewhat incorrect, I tend to doubt the usefulness of the list.

  13. Jason D:

    “An admitted Obama partisan is saying McCain lies and Obama does not and further does not even present any data to support this stance. A little balance might be called for, here.”

    Jason D, either your summary of what I wrote is wrong because your reading comprehension is poor, or you’re being intentionally misleading; eitherwise, you’ve done a bad job of it. Likewise, your inability to follow a link for additional information is not my problem. Thirdly, please read my essay “Unfair”. Note in particular the following:

    But I doubt that many of the people who want me to be “fair” are actually asking for actual fairness, anyway. What they want is some sort of murmured polite dissent to whatever beef-witted thing they want to promulgate, something that implicitly suggests that their ideas have legitimacy and should be discussed reasonably among reasonable people.

    To which my response is: Well, no. Your opinion that whatever it is you want to foist on the world is reasonable does not mean that I have to agree, or treat it with the “fairness” you think it deserves. Rest assured that I am “fair” to the extent that I give every idea I encounter the respect I think it rates.

    Hope that helps.

    Be that as it may, you’re also amply proving the thesis that some people won’t believe something simply because of who says it, rather than what is actually being said. Likewise, ignoring the point of an article with the simple off-hand shrug that “every politician lies” seems to me a remarkably lame action on your part. Naturally the article seems silly to you; you didn’t actually bother to process it.

    Skip:

    “The only falsehood here is that he didn’t actually manage to accomplish it.”

    “If you actually watched the video, of course he did, and that’s exactly the way his audience took it.”

    Sorry, Skip, the GOP reality distortion field doesn’t make it quite all the way over here. You’ll have to try better.

  14. My personal, jaded, view is that politicians lie.

    Didn’t take much time for someone to prove John Scalzi’s point about voters, did it?

  15. On a SFnal note, it’s reminiscent of Frederik Pohl’s short story “Criticality”, where Americans judge politicians based on how well they play the game of politics, as opposed to any issues of substance.

    In this case, McCain is being seen as playing the game well and he’s being applauded for it, with the actual substantive issues being seen as largely irrelevant.

  16. To a certain extent, this is a side effect of the Republican base:

    The religious right has already trained their members to accept appeal to authority (in particular, their authority) as the only valid source of truth. “Faith trumps facts.”

    The economic right, as far as I can tell, holds its nose and votes for whomever is percieved to be more fiscally conservative. Neither side is appreciably so, but Repubicans claim to be pro-business, and Democrats generally don’t.

  17. Distortion or, perhaps, oversimplification does not equal bald faced, repeted even after being publicly busted at it lie either. So it is worse than one side correcting the record and the other not so, even.

    Madrocketscientist @ 8
    These “conservatives” you speak of have obviously bought into a decades-long lie themselves. “liberal media bias” is, and always has been, a myth itself. “telling them to cut it out and be fair”? Would this be the media that until the last week or so has overwhelmingly covered up GOP lies and criminal behaviour? That even went out of it’s way to edit McCain interviews in order to cover up mistakes showing his lack of expertise in his “area of expertise”?

  18. The idea that conservatives think the media lives at the back and call of a political candidate illustrates:

    a) The basic corruption of the media on the right side of things here in the US, because much of it is in bed with the GOP;

    A point that I’ll have to disagree with you on. Even Bill Maher comments on just how bugnuts the MSM is for Obama.

    b) An overall and fundamental misunderstanding of the role and responsibilities of the press, likely aided and abetted by the first point.

    My understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the press is to present the truth and the facts in an understandable format. What I see is media (left and right) that presents only the stories that attract the most attention at the expense of facts, with articles that use language to spin events and color attitudes. Maybe this has always been the case, but either the MSM is being much more blatant about it, or with the advance of age, I’m just getting better at seeing it.

  19. Per the web site monitoring this:

    Obama: 18 False statements
    0 Pants on Fire (POF)
    Biden: 4 False
    2 POF

    McCain: 22 False
    6 POF
    Palin: 0 False
    0 POF

    Way to distort the facts there Scalzi. Looks like the GOP lied 4 more times than the Dems. Heck they’re pure by comparison. Oh look, the sky is falling!

  20. You’re right on the money in this essay, but I think you’ve neglected the reason the GOP is so successful in distorting the facts: they’ve not only made a practice of lying, they’ve made a practice of using those lies to scare the crap out of people. “9/11! Terrorists! Booga booga! Do what we say or you’ll all die!” People who are scared don’t think straight and the GOP has many Americans terrified by the world outside their borders. Fear is a powerful manipulation tool.

  21. gpike:

    If that sort of idiotically shallow analysis works for you, you go with that. However, for the rest of everyone do keep in mind that part of the issue is what happens once a lie or distortion gets fact-checked by third parties.

    Madrocketscientist:

    “A point that I’ll have to disagree with you on. Even Bill Maher comments on just how bugnuts the MSM is for Obama.”

    But that has nothing to do with the first point; are you saying that Fox, Rush et al, aren’t in bed with the GOP?

  22. Nargel:

    Actually, I don’t see a “Liberal Media Bias”, I just see a “Media Bias”. Some outlets are much more blatant about it than others, some do a very nice job keeping an even keel and either sticking to reporting, or at least fairly presenting opposing sides of a debate.

    Fox News, the WSJ, NRO, etc are all outlets that are decidedly conservative. ABC, NBC, NYT, however, are un-apologetically democratic.

  23. There are degrees of offensiveness to politicians’ “lies.” To “lie” about what you want to do is one thing. It’s not right, but reasonable people understand how conditions change, how the original “promise”was made with incomplete information, or that politicians as a class will always tell us what they think we want to hear. People know that; it’s part od the equation.

    To lie about what you’ve done in the past, then, when confronted with the lie, continue to tell it, is disturbing. It hints at a ruthlessness and disregard for not just the facts, but societal standards any “conservative” (or liberal, for that matter) should consider a bedrock virtue.

    A well-know 20th Century leader said people will believe any lie, if it’s big enough and you tell it often enough. It’s hard to believe anyone is willing to face comparison with him.

  24. But that has nothing to do with the first point; are you saying that Fox, Rush et al, aren’t in bed with the GOP?

    God No! They are total GOP mouthpieces. My point was not the reality of media bias, rather the fact that conservatives in general see the big media outlets (ABC, NBC, CNN, NYT, WaPo, etc.) as being just so in love with Obama , and that feeds the myth of the Liberal Media Bias. Especially since a lot of conservative outlets are not very happy with McCain (although they are falling all over themselves for Palin and they don’t see the problem with that ), so people feel that the conservative media is being critical of McCain.

  25. Mad @ 20
    I repeat my earlier points.

    gpike @ 21
    Your “web site”, if it even exists, has no credibility. Palin? Zero?
    Bridge to nowhere lie, pork lie, anti corruption lie, troopergate lies and stonewalling? I could go on…
    And that’s the easiest place to start poking holes in your so-called web site.

  26. The general impression I’ve gotten is that both sides will do whatever they can to get elected. Truth is used when it is advantageous, but not rigorously pursued by either campaign.

    I’m disgusted with both candidates at this point, and plan on voting third-party.

  27. Skip has managed to illustrate how, to him at least, reality is indeed subjective and that he is happy to be lied to and accepts those lies as reality.

    ‘Obama’s one education accomplishment was “legislation to teach ‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.”‘

    The only falsehood here is that he didn’t actually manage to accomplish it. There’s certainly no dispute that he wanted to accomplish it, he did vote for it after all.

    Just to clarify for those outside of the GOP distortion field: the bill in question mandated age-appropriate sex education programs in K-12. For example, for kids just entering the school system it is important to know what kinds of touching are appropriate and inappropriate, and situations when they should run for help. Parents had the option to keep their kids out of the program.

    Obama explained it himself in 2004:

    We have a existing law that mandates sex education in the schools. We want to make sure that it’s medically accurate and age-appropriate. Now, I’ll give you an example, because I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and one of the things my wife and I talked to our daughter about is the possibility of somebody touching them inappropriately, and what that might mean. And that was included specifically in the law, so that kindergarteners are able to exercise some possible protection against abuse, because I have family members as well as friends who suffered abuse at that age. So, that’s the kind of stuff that I was talking about in that piece of legislation.

    As someone with a three year old daughter, I happen to agree. But the main point is that to characterize this as “learning about sex before learning to read” is the worst sort of brazen sleaze. McCain and his crew are morally unfit to govern.

  28. Okay. I haven’t read all the comments (I’m on a break from work and don’t have time right now), so someone might have already said this. But…

    What Obama needs to do is not to start lying like McCain is lying, but to stand up and say “McCain is lying”, enumerate the lies and correct them, and then make the point that by lying about the things he is is lying about, he is disrespecting the American people and that any American with any pride in their country will not stand for it.

    The thing that keeps getting the Democrats in trouble is that they keep trying to be civil when the Republicans (at the top echelons of the party, at any rate) only care about winning and don’t give a crap about being civil…or honest. We saw that in the Swift-Boating of John Kerry four years ago.

    The thing is, there is a difference between some lies (like Clinton’s assertion that he “didn’t have sexual relations with that woman”) that don’t really matter on a national scale and others (like Bush’s assertion that there were WMD’s in Iraq) that end up getting other people killed.

  29. Re: your second paragraph, John (and in reference to one of your main points):

    Winston sank his arms to his sides and slowly refilled his lungs with air. His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.
    –George Orwell, 1984

    (Re-reading 1984 this year was one of the most depressing things I’ve done in awhile, for what I hope are obvious reasons. And if they’re not obvious… well… re-read the above quote.)

    Oh, and great post, John.

  30. An interesting comment (also on Slate) on outrage over McCain’s lies.

    I like the point about focusing on education. Obama’s parted ways from the Dem. base by supporting charter schools and educational accountability. He’s losing undecided and independent middle-class voters; education policy might be a way to bring them back.

  31. So, on one side, we have the campaign telling bad lies and pretending they haven’t been caught red-handed, and on the other hand, we have supporters of the campaign who aren’t technically part of it, telling bad lies (like Palin having faked her pregnancy), and both them and the campaign pretending they haven’t been caught red-handed.

    As usual, I still can’t tell the two sides apart without a score card.

    I predict that a number of people, including John, are going to end this festival even angrier than they started it.

  32. Representative democracy tends to give people the government they deserve.

    Sometimes, this makes me despair for my country.

  33. “Truth optional”, in my experience, started with (it may have started before, but in my memory) the Goldwater – Johnson 1964 campaign. The point that sticks in my mind from then was that Johnson would keep us out of Vietnam; it was a big point in that campaign. Painting Barry Goldwater as the war-monger incarnate (remember the Daisy Ad? No, I didn’t see it at the time) was a prominent point in most of LBJ’s advertising.

    Things have gotten worse. How is it that politics is always getting worse? Does it ever get better?

  34. we have the campaign telling bad lies and pretending they haven’t been caught red-handed, and on the other hand, we have supporters of the campaign who aren’t technically part of it, telling bad lies (like Palin having faked her pregnancy), and both them and the campaign pretending they haven’t been caught red-handed.

    Rough translation: it’s okay if someone who could be President of the United States is lying, because ordinary Americans on the other side do it as well.

    And what part of Obama saying to the press that Palin’s family should be left alone did you not understand?

  35. Terry Austin:

    “we have supporters of the campaign who aren’t technically part of it, telling bad lies (like Palin having faked her pregnancy), and both them and the campaign pretending they haven’t been caught red-handed.”

    Well, except I do remember Obama specifically telling people to keep family out of it, and none of it actually being linked to his campaign at all. So unless you’re privy to confidential information the rest of us aren’t, I’m not sure your point has much to do with anything. And certainly not everyone who likes Obama for the presidency got on board with that rumor.

    If you can’t tell the two sides apart, Terry, you’re not paying attention.

  36. Well, except I do remember Obama specifically telling people to keep family out of it, and none of it actually being linked to his campaign at all. So unless you’re privy to confidential information the rest of us aren’t, I’m not sure your point has much to do with anything. And certainly not everyone who likes Obama for the presidency got on board with that rumor.

    I’m not talking about her daughter’s real pregnancy. I’m talking about the KOS kiddies making up the lie that Plain – the VP candidiate herself – had faked her pregnancy to cover up a pregnancy on the part of her daughter that never happened. It was a bad, stupid lie to begin with, that was completely and utterly exposed as a stupid lie very quickly, and while the Obama campaign might have commented that family should be left out of it (though his supporters do still bring up McCain’s first wife, and Obama doesn’t seem to object much to that either), at not point that I’m aware of did he take his own supporters to task for literally making up slanderous lies. If he did, he certainly didn’t make enough of a deal of it, and continues to not make enough of a deal of it. He needs to step on these people hard, or they’re going to cost him the election. Mind you, I don’t think it’s a matter of him giving them a wink/wink/nudge/nudge sort of approval. I think it’s a matter of him not having enough experience at campaigning to realize that, whether they are an official part of his campaign or not, the public will most certainly hold him accountable for their actions.

    If you can’t tell the two sides apart, Terry, you’re not paying attention.

    This isn’t the first time you’re resorted to outright insult, John. You’re starting to come across as being unwilling to admit that it’s even possible to disagree with you in a reasonable way. I know that’s not your intent, and I know you’re a better writer than to come across so differently than what you intend (I’ve read your books, after all). I’m getting the impression you’re a lot more angry about the election this year than you want to admit, even to yourself, and perhaps even more angry that you’re angry. In any event, it’s left me wondering why I bother to read this nonsense.

    Go ahead, tell me not to bother, cuz obviously you write this blog because you don’t want anybody to read it. You were about to, weren’t you? This is about three entries on politics that you’ve made, that any sane, rational person with a room temperature IQ would know would generate a lot of passionate, even hostile responses, in which you’re responded to the expected responses with hostility, including at least one ban that I’ve noticed. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were the sixth grade bully on the third grade playground, picking fights because you know you’re bigger than the littler kids. And if that gets me a ban, then by all means, enjoy your urine soaked playground with the other sychophantic children. At this rate, you’ll be David Brin in another year or two.

  37. Terry Austin, if you really can’t tell the difference between lies that comes with the tagline “I’m John McCain, and I approved this message” and lies told by internet wackos, and explicitly rejected by the Obama campaign, then you aren’t trying.

    Put it another way: When Karl Rove says Republicans are being untruthful, you know they’ve gone way over the edge. (And yes, he did try to apply the “but Democrats do it too” spin, which was was, ironically enough, yet another lie.)

  38. Nargel @ 28

    Yes there is a myth of the Liberal Media Bias, but that myth exists, and democrats will be hard pressed to gain any traction with conservative voters while the myth perpetuates.

  39. Jon Marcus: I see bad, stupid lies from both sides. I see neither candidate doing anything to stop them. What’s the difference?

  40. Jason D, (and to all the others that have expressed similar thoughts in other threads) “My personal, jaded, view is that politicians lie. All politicians.” .

    As an elected official (aka a politician) of my village, I’d like to say that I love you to itty-bitty pieces and hope your drive home is a safe one.

    You might want to get out in the sunshine more often.

    Fortunately my village doesn’t pay us very well so I have to keep my day job. I guess that means the taint on my soul isn’t all that deep.

  41. Sorry for the poor timing in that response. But someone who’s so sensitive that they read “you’re not paying attention” as a personal insult might want to avoid screeches like “Your blog is a urine-soaked playround filled with sychophantic children.”

    And that kinda begs the question, why are you choosing to hang out in this “urine-soaked playround.” Or does it become that only after you’re banned?

  42. Steve Buchheit:

    I have a friend who is an elected official. It’s a local thing, with no more than a few thousand voters he has to convnice. He is a politician. And he does not lie. At all, ever. It’s a big deal to him, in fact, as part of his religious faith. I’ve known him a lot longer than he has been a politician, and he has faced his share of grief as a politician because he won’t tell even the polite white lies that make getting along with people we don’t lie easier.

    So yeah, I agree, there are politicians that don’t lie.

    However, said friend knows full well that he will never, ever, ever be elected to any higher an office than he currently holds, because he won’t play the game. He can’t get the money he needs for even a county-level campaign without the backing of his party, and he won’t incur the political debts necessary to get that backing.

    At the national level, all politicians do lie. They cannot get elected if they don’t. Most of them will admit this, if you catch them in private on a good day. It’s how American politics is played.

  43. Terry Austin:

    “I see neither candidate doing anything to stop them. What’s the difference?”

    The difference is that one is officially signing off on them as part of a campaign strategy, whereas the only connection to the other is a tenuous, not-supported-by-facts assertion that every supporter of a candidates is somehow taking orders from them.

    As for this:

    “This isn’t the first time you’re resorted to outright insult, John”

    It’s not an insult. Seriously, if you can’t tell the difference, you’re not paying attention. If you see that as an insult, it is not my problem. I’m just not sure how someone who is paying attention can’t tell the difference. Perhaps you’re not paying as close attention as you think you are.

    As for the rest of your amateur psychoanalysis: Whatever.

  44. I don’t actually expect you to be fair. I don’t believe in “fair”. I do believe in “right”, but find it hard to pin down.

    My reading comprehension is just fine, but thanks for the personal attack all the same, I do so enjoy them.

    As for my inability to follow a link, well, I was referring to your piece not Slate’s. While I won’t debate your statement “The basic corruption of the media on the right side of things here in the US, because much of it is in bed with the GOP” in general, Slate, for one, does seem to me to be firmly liberal.

    On the “who says it versus what is being said” issue, you seem to have taken Slate’s analysis without question. Is this because it is a voice that is expressing thoughts consistent with your own? Did you chase down the facts on every one of the lies or did you like the message and jump straight to writing about it?

    If you thought I was being an apologist for politicians lying then maybe it is your reading comprehension that needs a little polish. That my experience has been to observe all politicians lie does not mean that I think it is OK, nor did I say that. In fact, if you had read as far as the last paragraph before exceeding the limits of your attention span and vomiting a bit of personal attack (right back at’cha, buddy :-) ), you would have found a bit that speaks to what I hate most about the lies politicians tell.

    Getting back to the “who says it versus what is being said” issue, we read a piece like you found in Slate and take it as written because the message resounds with us. We might hear something Limbaugh says and find it likewise feels right. As soon as we identify with the source, we tend to increase the faith we have in the source and also excuse it’s errors and omissions. The reverse is, of course, true when we don’t identify with the source. We tend to distrust it more and errors and omissions obtain inflated severity. Fall into one camp and you are a right-wing nut-job. Fall into the other and you are a liberal moon-bat. Both have “reality distortion fields” miles wide and deep.

    The real trick is to wade through it and find what matters.

    If you have gotten this far before launching another attack based on your opinion of my intelligence, I offer a challenge to you: track down Obama’s statement on taxes. Follow what he has said on the matter regarding who would and would not be affected. Note carefully how the message has changed over time. Then try to put yourself in the position of someone who cares very much about that issue, even if you do not, and ask yourself if that is or is not a lie or has or has not become a lie. Changing one’s stance on an issue over the course of a campaign is, in my opinion, lying.

    I would submit that if you are unwilling to doubt Obama’s veracity, then you have a nice little reality distortion field going on here, yourself. If so, you are likely OK with that.

  45. Terry @ 44, the difference is that one side it is the campaign that is lying…you know the official sanctioned spokespeople of the candidate. On the other side its…what did you say, a few diarists at Kos. Hmm. One of these things is not like the other.

    Could it be that anonymous bloggers who don’t work for the Obama campaign aren’t quite on a level with, oh say, the official position of the McCain campaign?

  46. Jon Marcus: I see bad, stupid lies from both sides. I see neither candidate doing anything to stop them. What’s the difference?

    Jon’s first response was still fine, so I’ll just quote it:
    “If you really can’t tell the difference between lies that comes with the tagline “I’m John McCain, and I approved this message” and lies told by internet wackos, and explicitly rejected by the Obama campaign, then you aren’t trying.”

    I see neither candidate doing anything to stop them. What’s the difference?

    Again, what part of Obama’s “leave families out of it” did you not understand? He didn’t specify the pregnancy, he said “leave the families out of it.” That’s a blanket rejection. That he does not show up on the door of every wacko with an Internet connection is irrelevant, just as the fact that McCain didn’t show up at the door of everyone claiming Obama was a closet Muslim.

  47. You know, the ironic thing is that articles like this really won’t affect anything, neither do new stories pointing out that McCain is lying. Obama has already won the votes of the people who put thought into the campaign, and McCain has as well. They voted during the primaries.
    The last of the swing votes, IMO, are made by people who don’t listen to the news. They listen to sound-bites. And they won’t catch a McCain lie. And, unless Obama starts shortening his rhetoric, they won’t catch his message at all.

  48. As a McCain/Palin supporter who frequents blogs leaning that way, the lack of honesty from the McCain party is being noticed by Repubs and it is annoying. Everyone naturally wants to feel that their party retains the “moral high ground” and it is hard to retain that feeling when you hear your candidates say things that aren’t true.

    A lot of these “lies” are just truth-stretching that is commonplace and forgivable, but I am particularly annoyed that Palin made such a big deal of getting rid of the “Bridge to Nowhere” when she worked hard to get it to begin with. That is what you call an “unforced error”. She would have been forgiven for supporting it originally and credited for changing her mind if that was her original story. But by publicly patting herself on the back for being against it without ever mentioning she supported it, she loses that whole moral high ground I mentioned earlier. That was just dumb of her and frustrating to her supporters.

    I don’t think McCain has to lie to win – he should just focus on Obama being against the surge in Iraq and Obama’s general lack of experience. He can play to the center and leave Palin to rally the base, and he shouldn’t have to lie his ass off.

    Completely contrary to the Slate article and Scalzi’s points, the lying does matter, is being noticed, and quite possibly will reach the critical mass soon where it becomes an accepted meme that does McCain and Palin in.

  49. Jon Marcus:

    This blog as long been noted as a place where people who disagree can express their opinions without fear of censorship. That has been one of the most attractive features of it, in fact. And outside of election politics, it still still.

    But it’s changing, because John has changed the way he’s handling the political stuff. He’s increasingly hostile, and apparently angry, and increasingly intolerate. That is what is turning it in to a urine filled sandbox full of unruly children, and because there’s one 800 gorilla, all that will be left, soon enough, are the children who fawn on said gorilla, because anybody who does not agree with him will be banned, or have left. It’s happening already.

    And you’re taking your cue from him, and acting much the same. There’s no reasoned debate of the issues here, there’s no reasoned debate over the candidates. Hell, there isn’t even rational discussion of the lies. All that’s left is namecalling and childish tantrums, from nearly everyone (including me – and you). That’s committing the one unforgivable sin on the internet: it’s not interesting.

    And despite your petty, childish, “if you don’t like it, why are you here” tantrum, the reason I’m still here is that I’m hoping John will realize he’s gone down a road that isn’t good, and perhaps stop doing that. I’m hoping it will go back to being interesting, even if that means staying entirely away from the subject of politics (which is what I’d recommend, as much because John seems to angry about the subject as because everyone else is, too).

    And, for the record, I do not believe for a second that “you’re not trying” was not intended as an insult. A passive/aggressive insult, perhaps, but an insult, nonetheless. You didn’t offer any observations on what the fundamental differeces are, you didn’t offer any suggestions on how to tell the two parties apart, you just insulted me.

  50. Steve Buchheit:
    Oh, I know that there are pols who don’t lie (at least in political matters — two that I know are wicked bridge players, and if you believe that quavering 4 spades means you should go 5 diamonds … besides the point, or perhaps making it) and I am grateful for them, of every party and no party. Sadly, once you get above county level in USAian politics (and frequently even at that level) there’s a huge amount of lying, by all of the office holders and candidates. You are one of the exceptions that proves the rule (well, there are so many county and below office holders you (all) might not be the exceptions, but the rule, and it’s the “big dogs” who are the exceptions.)

  51. htom@37
    I vividly remember that ad in ’64. Goldwater had mentioned victory in Vietnam even if the US had to nuke it back to the stone age. Of course, nuking North Viet Nam would likely have precipitated a full-blown war with the Soviets.
    Johnson had inherited a war and he could not see a simple way out of it. For the Record: The war in Vietnam began in 1954 when the US sent “Advisors” and materiel support to aid the French in their bid to reclaim their colonies lost in World War II.
    The old tried and successful tactic of outmanning and outgunning the enemy didn’t work as very few in Washington understood it was a civil war, not a war of foreign conquest. Goldwater was old school as was Johnson, but his threat to use nukes to end one war (and start another) made many people very nervous.
    Coupled with the charges that Goldwater had suffered a few nervous breakdowns, the populace was frightened at the likelihood of a nutcase with a finger on the button.
    Dr Strangelove anyone?
    The ad may have been spin, but the implied consequences of Goldwater in the White House was a very real threat–enough so that Johnson won by a very wide margin.

  52. John,

    I suspect if he wanted to, McCain could email you to let you know why you are wrong, but according to an Obama ad I saw, he’s technologically illiterate, and can’t….oh wait, that’s not technically true, is it. :-)

    IMO the issue with regards to the media isn’t that Rush and other aren’t in bed with the GOP, they are, and they admit it. You know where they stand, and they don’t pretend otherwise. The mainstream media though is trying to come across as having some semblance of balance and neutrality towards the race (with the exception of what happens on the editorial pages), when an even cursory look and read will show their bias towards the Democratic party and against the Republicans. And what negative stories they have had with Obama since the start of the campaign have only been addressed after the stories have reached critical mass on other media outlets. When you sit on a story because you aren’t sure of the facts (and that’s your story and your sticking to it, so lets have the National Enquirer scoop you), but the half rumors of a possible alleged affair are front page news, that’s a problem.

    Sure, there are several media members and services out there that are total GOP mouthpieces…but why ignore the bias coming from the other big media groups? Is there anyone whose going to defend MSNBC as not being pro Democratic this election? The NY Times? Washington Post? CBSABCNBC?

    Andrew

  53. Jason D:

    “My reading comprehension is just fine, but thanks for the personal attack all the same, I do so enjoy them.”

    Well, you know. Keep leaving spectacularly off-the-bead summarizations of my entries in my comment threads, you’ll get more of them. I have a low opinion of people who cast my words to say what they didn’t, and don’t feel the need to be nice to them.

    Fortunately, your second comment is more cogent, for which I thank you. And as for the Slate analysis, yes, it fairly approximate to my opinion, which is informed by various news and fact check organizations weighing in on the campaign ads and speeches from both parties. I feel reasonably informed about what I’m writing about, otherwise I wouldn’t write about it (unless I specifically note “and here I’m talking out of my ass,” which I do from time to time). If you’re asking me to footnote every single one of my blog pieces beyond an initial link, I would suggest you’re asking me to do more work than I need to do for free.

    I’m not linking to it because it “feels right” — “truthiness” might be sufficient for others (and as noted McCain seems to be making a campaign out of it) but it sort of leave me damp. I linked to it because a) it was a decent summarization of what I’ve read elsewhere and b) the overarching thesis of the piece (i.e., maybe Obama should lie like McCain is doing) is one I found very depressing.

    Re: Obama and taxes — if what your suggesting is that an evolution of his position based on information and/or an acknowledgment that previous positions were based on incorrect assumption as a “lie,” I think we have a difference of opinion as to what a “lie” is. And that sort of “lie” is manifestly different than the sort of lies McCain is airing and repeating, even when caught out on them.

    Terry Austin:

    If your precious sensitivities are hurt by “you’re not trying,” then it’s probably best if you leave now. As far as I’m concerned that’s well within the realm of decent discourse and always has been. As for your assertion that I’m handling things differently now than before, you’re pretty wrong about that, and I have the comment documentation to back it up. So stop whining that other people’s incredulousness about your lack of discrimination between an intentional campaign strategy on the part of a presidential candidate, and the independent actions of another candidate’s supporters somehow constitutes rudeness. And if you really think it’s rude, go now. There are other places for you to be.

  54. Enjoy your urine soaked sandbox, John. Enjoy the sychophants. Ban me, or not, it won’t make any difference. I have better things to do that read someone who is boring.

  55. Matthew in Austin@53
    I sure hope that is the case. I was and am a fiscal and social conservative who has believed all his life that the government should perform as outlined in the preamble of the Constitution.
    As the years have passed, I have found myself growing increasingly alienated from the Republicans for their abandoning all the values they claimed. Reagan was the start, with his wild defense spending and refusal to find the income to pay for it. Newt Gingrich and his contract on America and his desire to dictate instead of negotiate drove the wedge deeper. As I have had to explain to all my Republican ex-friends, I did not leave the party, the party left me.

  56. Terry Austin:

    I see bad, stupid lies from both sides. I see neither candidate doing anything to stop them. What’s the difference?

    The difference is in the fact in one case, it’s the candidate doing the lying, and in the other, it’s people who are not associated with the campaign. If it’s as easy as you imply for the latter candidate to stop the lies, imagine how much easier it must be for the former!

    Your way of distinguishing the cases is awfully convenient for actual liars, people who want to believe in them, and pretty much no one else.

  57. Mad @ 43

    Since, as you pointed out yourself, democrats pointing out the myth-ness of liberal media isn’t going to help, why don’t their fellow conservatives (who should at least recognise that their party was hijacked starting with Reagan) start pointing it out themselves and start fixing “their” party from the inside?

  58. Terry Austin:

    I’m not going to ban you; whining about your feelings being hurt doesn’t rate a ban. I merely suggest you leave if the place is not congenial to you.

  59. If I wasn’t related by marriage to scores of people who are just as willfully blinkered as Terry and Jason D, I don’t think I’d actually believe they were real people and not caricatures.

    It truly is amazing how thoroughly our social instincts will lead us to ignore EVERYTHING in order to circle the wagons and close ranks around “our guy”. Astounding how powerful — and how intractable — our lizard brains truly are.

    Of course, that same instinct toward tribalism also allows (when appropriately manipulated) for nationalism, the modern nation-state, and indirectly the United States’ current position as the leader world power. So I suppose there are some upsides.

    I’m going to do for Terry and Jason D what I do for my in-laws. Give up on them. They’re too far gone. They’re part of the 27% Crazification Factor.

    http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2005/10/lunch-discussions-145-crazification.html

    I’m just hoping that the Obama/Biden team can persuade the persuadable, and win this thing already. John’s right about Job Interviews — this is a horrible job interview for one set of candidates.

    In the end, I kind of LIKE my nation (blame that lizard brain nationalism), and as a result, I kind of PREFER that my country stay powerful, certainly in my lifetime (and in my children’s lifetimes, too). History is happy to point out that it’s rarely a gentle fall from the top. I’d like not to experience it for myself, thanks.

  60. What gets me is how incompetent and easily disproved the lies are. It’s like the McCain campaign got all of the people too stupid to get a job working for Rove.

    I mean, Karl Rove himself is appalled

    “McCain has gone in some of his ads — similarly gone one step too far,” he told Fox News, “and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the ’100 percent truth’ test.”

    This is Karl Rove. The guy who once suggested that McCain fathered an out of wedlock baby with an African-American mother. And *HE* thinks McCain is being a bit too blatant in his lies? Well, this is what McCain gets for hiring former Rove operatives; Rovian tactics.

  61. John, I want to belabor a point you made in the original piece:

    Whether or not “all politicians lie” is immaterial. One party has chosen to try to get elected ‘by any and every means possible’, the other has not.

    Even if you believe that this election is a choice between the lesser of two evils, their chosen strategies should provide more than enough insight to base a decision on.

  62. I remember way back when when Terry used to troll reg.games.frp.dnd . An original usenet crank.

    I’d have warned you, John, but it was much more fun watching Terry reveal himself by his inevitable implosion. Chances are he’ll return a few times in order to stalk off in a huff a few more times.

  63. Nargel @ 62:

    We are trying, believe me we are. So many of us would love to get rid of the morality police and robber barons, just as many on the left would love to oust the socialists and the nanny-staters.

    Back to the point on hand, someone above had a good point in that most of the GOP mouthpieces don’t pretend to be anything else, and while many DNC outlets are also just as open about their orientation, there are a lot that still try to pretend that they aren’t.

  64. Has anyone else read the articles on politifact.org that Slate linked in order to demonstrate the McCain Campaign’s lying?

    I had time to read about half in each category and was impressed only with politifact’s ability to stretch.

    More koolaid anyone?

  65. Josh Jasper:

    Well, as far as I can see Terry hasn’t done anything terrible here, other than exhibit an overdeveloped sense of personal affrontery, which is in any case not exclusive to him. He’s welcome to comment unless and until he goes over the bounds, and I’ll let him know when and if he’s in trouble before he gets banned.

    However, the exchange should reinforce something which should be in evidence in any event, which is I’m not particularly moved by other people’s opinion on how I should run my own site, and I’m fairly immune to criticism on that score. Terry and others either learn to deal with it or they don’t.

    With that said, I’d prefer henceforth to keep to the actual topic of the thread, and not have a referendum on other commenters.

  66. John – The urine soaked sandbox comment was just too hilarious not to comment on. But yeah, warning you about someone’s behavior elsewhere would have been fruitless and foolish of me.

    That said, from the minute I saw his name pop up here, I knew exactly what was going to happen. And he didn’t disappoint.

  67. I found this recent quote by Ben Bradlee, of Washington Post fame, to be incredibly timely:

    “Even the very best newspapers have never learned how to handle public figures who lie with a straight face.” – Ben Bradlee

    (from that left wing rag Mother Jones:

    Note to Press: Get a Spine

    )

    And is also what I find most discouraging about the whole McCain campaign. I can easily take and understand a politician exaggerating what he hopes to accomplish, like fewer taxes, no war, a chicken in every pot. But the out right hypocrisy of the right in general and McCain in specific leaves me speechless.

  68. Skar:

    OK, I’m a liberal, and not inclined to trust McCain any further than I can throw him. So you can count me as having drunk the koolaid .

    But really, as someone who’s studied the topic for several years, the ad on abstinence Obama’s sex ed views was egregiously wrong. It really misrepresented what the legislation was intended to do, and it did so in a way that put Obama together with scary thoughts about children and sexuality. I think it was intended to provoke a form of hysteria that I’ve seen the right wing try to get out of talking about GLBT people and sexuality in regards to children.

    You may not be seeing the same thing, but to me, the imagery and intent were pretty blatant.

    As for the lipstick on a pig remark, if you think McCain was honestly seeing intent on Obama’s part to smear Palin, you’ve been drinking your own koolaid.

  69. Today Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy.

    Today the Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch, because otherwise Merrill Lynch would have soon joined Lehman Brothers in bankruptcy.

    Today the NYSE is going to close more than 300 points down from it’s last close. It is likely to close more than 400 points down.

    Today McCain said the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igAmVs0cvY8

    Given the timing, it’s highly unlikely he was unaware of items 1 and 2 when he made that statement. Is McCain lying? Does he believe the economy is strong, despite the continued meltdown of the banking industry? Is he unaware that more banks are liable to fail? Is he unaware that the insurance industry is now exposed to a great deal of risk because of the bank failures?

    Of course, I could write quite a bit on cognative dissonance, and how it blinds Right Wing Authoritarians in particular, but that’s been done better and more definitively elsewhere. Link to Altemeyer http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

  70. Here is something I found very effective in dealing with the true believers for McCain: Challenge them to defend the changing positions of Senator McCain versus Candidate McCain–and NOT attack his opponent.

    I have not yet met anyone who can defend McCain without resorting to “Well Obama is a liar too!!!”

    They usually cave within two minutes.

  71. The one encouraging thing I’ve seen is that the lies are getting so outrageous and so persistent that the MSM is finally beginning to choke on them. Just today a Fox News (!) commentator chose to call Tucker Bounds out on his lies about Obama’s tax policy.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014726.php

    “Says Obama called Sarah Palin a pig.”

    If you actually watched the video, of course he did, and that’s exactly the way his audience took it.

    SO McCain is lying when he says that’s not what Obama did?

    http://tinyurl.com/58fx9c

    Did Barack Obama really call Sarah Palin a pig, as a John McCain ad leads people to believe? “No,” McCain said Monday.

  72. Hall @ 74 – I’ll take that challenge.

    1) McCain was against the Bush tax cuts as Senator. As candidate, he wants to expand them.
    2) McCain says he’ll cut taxes, except his health-care “plan” is to tax employer provided insurance (a tax hike). He’ll give you a credit, except that the credit covers less then half the insurance costs.
    3) McCain’s chief economic advisor, Douglas Holtz-Eakin is quoted as saying in a book out in January that “of course McCain will raise taxes.”
    4) McCain sponsored the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill, now he’s against it.
    5) McCain was against torture, but the bill he drafted is specifically written so it can’t be enforced in court(http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_03/008343.php).

  73. J.D.@75
    I agree, just over the last week McCain/Palin have been getting called out on their two most embrassing untruths: Palin bragging about being against the Bridge to Nowhere, and Obama’s tax plan raising taxes on most Americans.

    It is very frustrating to Republicans (like me) because it seems so unecessary. McCain should be congratulating Obama for his tax plan because it includes lowering taxes on so many Americans – we have the Democratic nominee essentially pushing a Republican style tax plan. Most Republicans (and Americans in general) really like the details of Obama’s tax plan, so why not focus on some other Obama quality that is criticism-worthy, like the general lack of experience or being the command-in-chief who was against the surge.

    Like I mentioned earlier, I think the Slate author and Scalzi are wrong, and for once cynicism won’t win the day. McCain’s campaign (and I do think his advisors are more behind it than him personally, though of course that is his responsibility) has pushed it to far, and it is starting already to bite him in the ass. (I love that Karl Rove link someone posted above)

    I know how much many of you hate Republicans, but most of the rank and file conservatives do value honesty very much, and do not like what we’ve been hearing recently. It is just stupid, unecessary, and needs to stop.

  74. Matthew in Austin:

    I don’t hate Republicans in the least, since it would require me hating several family members, and I’m not willing to go there. I wish they had better people running their national strategy, however.

  75. Josh-

    As for the sex ed for kindergartners thing:

    I, as a conservative, don’t think the public schools need to be teaching my children sex education at all, much less in kindergarten. I’ll take care of that, thank you. The video I linked to demonstrates, fairly plainly, that Obama disagrees with me in the way that McCain suggests he does. At most the McCain ad is an exaggeration, yet politifact gives it a “pants on fire” rating.

    And the lipstick on a pig thing? I’m sorely disappointed with the McCain campaign for even deigning to comment on it. However, if you watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPd4yk0x-eg
    You’ll see that Obama knew exactly what reference he was making. Note that he says, “you can put lipstick on a pig” then waits for the audience to laugh, and then finishes “it’s still a pig.”

    Silly to make a fuss over it, yet fairly obvious he knew what he was saying would be linked to Palin and her lipstick on a pitbull joke.

  76. Matthew @77: I don’t hate Republicans. Some of my best friends are Republicans. And I’ve even written some complimentary things about john McCain in the past. But now it seems he put his integrity in a pawnshop somewhere. I truly believe he sees this as his last chance to be President, and he’s so desperate he’ll do anything to get it.

  77. Chris Gerrib@76

    Good start! Now –justify your support_ for McCain despite of or because of his ever-shifting positions. Do they make him honest and believable enough to be president? Which are his true opinions? How can you tell?

    Oh, and this also works for most sound bite obsessed partisans for Obama too.

  78. I’m interested by someone’s comment (though it certainly came off more as a demand) that Obama should explicitly disavow the ugly Daily Kos pregnancy rumor. If you’re saying that, are you also saying that McCain should explicitly disavow all the “Obama is a secret Muslim who was sworn in on the Koran”-type stuff that’s flying around the internet (although it seems that would be pretty much a full-time job)? I mean, if the first must be done in the interests of ‘fairness’, then shouldn’t the second? Should everybody have to disavow everything that the crackpots dream up, or should we try, as an electorate, to be educated and aware enough to have the bullshit detectors cranked up to max?

    Part of the problem is that there no longer seems to be any such thing as a ‘reliable news source’. I pin it primarily on the shift from the ‘news as public service’ model to the ‘news as profit and ratings center’ and ‘news as entertainment’ models. We’re all victims of the 24-hour news cycle and the need to feed the machine.

  79. I, as a conservative, don’t think the public schools need to be teaching my children sex education at all, much less in kindergarten.

    If I were the McCain campaign, I would translate the above as: “Conservatives: In favor of sexual predators.”

    See how easy it is? Prizes available.

  80. And if I were the Obama campaign I’d translate it as:

    “Bitter rednecks cling bitterly to impregnating their own children.”

    Now where has that gotten us, David?

  81. Skip @ 13

    “The second one listed:
    “Says Obama called Sarah Palin a pig.”
    If you actually watched the video, of course he did, and that’s exactly the way his audience took it.”

    Tell me Skip, was John McCain calling Hillary Clinton a pig when, on October 11, 2007, he referred to her health care plan as “Putting lipstick on a pig.”?

    McCain was not calling Clinton a pig, and Obama wasn’t referring to Palin either.

  82. Hall @ 81 – what made you think I support McCain? The so-called “Maverick” is pandering to the very party he’s supposedly running against. I’m asking the McCain fans to explain these contradictions to me.

  83. You’d have to be a genuinely special kind of wonked-out window-licker to believe that Obama was referring to Palin with that whole pig and lipstick thing.

    Of course, truth be damned, these idiots are willing to believe anything. Even when reality clearly shows otherwise, they’ll grasp that little nugget and gleam back at you with a shit-stained smile of pride.

  84. Skar @ 84 – the “sex ed” bill was:
    1) not written or sponsored by Obama
    2) Didn’t pass
    3) called for “age appropriate” education to defend against sexual predators.

    For “age appropriate” see the Cub Scouts’ program

    Your turn, Skar – pick a McCain flip-flop and defend it.

  85. Skar @ 79
    Congratulations on joining the league of the willfully dishonest!!!
    Video link #1 shows Obama in 2007 telling a crowd at a Planned Parenthood conference that he supports “age-appropriate sex education” which, to anyone who isn’t deluding themselves, is not teaching kindergartners about sex. YOU can hold your kid out of any public school sex ed. at any age or time, and that is your right-and your opinion on public school sex ed. is as valid as mine is-but that clip, the insinuation in your comment, and McCain’s ad insinuating that Obama desires to teach kindergartners about sex are willfully dishonest. Are you attempting to back up the point of this original post by losing us in sarcasm?
    Video link #2 shows Obama making the lipstick on the pig statement and in 47 seconds there is not a single mention of Palin. Not once. So how does that back up your contention? Other than two common references/jokes to animals and lipstick by two politicians. You are again being willfully dishonest when you write that that second video shows Obama calling anyone a pig…he is quite clearly talking about policies, not people. Again, are you using sarcasm to back up the original intent of this post?

  86. John, I love your political posts. It incites very funny comments. People argue past one another thinking they’ve made a point when all they’ve really done is piss of the “other” side. Truly it is entertainment of the grandest kind.

    Also, I like how both sides claim media bias against their side. Advertising money and whatever it takes to get more readers control the media, and anyone who thinks humans can be unbiased is lying to themselves. We are not objective animals. So, it is up to each of us to seek out the opposing sides arguments to see if our side holds up. I know, I know it’s a wonderful dream, but no where near reality.

    Finally, I don’t think I noticed your response to Mark S @#4 discussing the caveats saying that the man who wrote the article picked these stats, not the sites themselves. Either way I don’t care. I have no dog in this fight at all. Obama/McCain makes no difference to me. Thanks for inciting the commenters to hiliarious rioting.

  87. John @ 19: On Andrew Sullivan’s site: The Obama campaign starts playing hardball with McCain’s political strategy.

    Keeping in mind your previous post made regarding Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism and how it can be discounted in its entirety due to Goldberg’s assertion that Mussolini was a Socialist, I have to ask: why should we pay attention to anything Sullivan writes about this election? Sullivan was more than happy to demand proof that Trig Palin was Sarah’s child, and assert that rumors originating at a DailyKos blog were by definition acceptable reporting and not a smear campaign.

    Regardless of what could be argued at the time, we now are absolutely certain that the questions about Trig Palin’s parentage were intended as a smear campaign. That should call into question every other bit of political analysis made by Sullivan, who has neither acknowledged, nor apologized for, spreading base libel.

  88. “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” ~Mark Twain

    Is it just me, or is John McCain looking *profoundly* uncomfortable these days?

  89. Sullivan… spreading base libel

    I assume you also rose up in righteous outrage when Sullivan called left-wing Americans a “fifth column” in the wake of 9/11?

  90. The only media bias I consistently notice is the bias towards sensationalized stories that will draw the most eyes, which maximizes advertising revenues. Not that this is anything new. Go back and look at the battle for circulation between Hearst’s New York Journal and Pulitzer’s New York World. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, I suppose.

  91. An amusing discussion. Jason D nailed it all the way back at comment 11; the rest of this thread might as well not exist. All politicians lie. In fact, that’s one of the ways you can distinguish a politician from a citizen officeholder — citizen officeholders generally still value honesty and integrity, while politicians do not. The best you can hope for from a career politician is that the lies he/she/it tells are not about anything important. So far, I think McCain is doing better at that than the Snob is. But then, McCain has an unfair advantage: the Snob has to hide his affiliations with domestic terrorists, racists, and the Chicago political machine, while McCain only has to hide his contempt for the Constitution and conservative ideals.

    OTOH, I suppose the Snob has an advantage of his own: the same mainstream media that Scalzi claims is in bed with the GOP has extensively aired every rumor and innuendo ever blogged about McCain and Palin, while printing not one word about any of the skeletons in the Snob’s closet.

    Personally, I consider the entire advertising back-and-forth to be nothing more than a spectator sport, and a very good one. I think it’s great fun to watch the Snob overreach time after time after time, and McCain get inside his OODA loop every time. It simply confirms my long-formed opinions of both parties. Democrats are pie-in-the-sky idealists who are incapable of learning from experience, and Republicans are down-and-dirty pragmatists who are incapable of giving a sucker a break, and never let their sense of morals get in the way of doing what they think is right. I think it will be even greater fun to watch the massive cranial detonations from leftists if current trends continue and their magnificently inept strategy loses them not only the White House but also control of Congress, in an election cycle that started with every experienced observer on both sides expecting a donkey in the White House backed by complete control of the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

  92. It is very frustrating to Republicans (like me) because it seems so unecessary. McCain should be congratulating Obama for his tax plan because it includes lowering taxes on so many Americans – we have the Democratic nominee essentially pushing a Republican style tax plan. Most Republicans (and Americans in general) really like the details of Obama’s tax plan, so why not focus on some other Obama quality that is criticism-worthy, like the general lack of experience or being the command-in-chief who was against the surge.

    Yeah, that’s the puzzling thing. McCain’s points can be gotten across WITHOUT the blatant lies. It’d be much more satisfying to discuss things like the surge, where things aren’t so clear cut obvious, where both Obama and McCain can make hay by emphasizing different perspective on the facts.

    But then again…in politics, facts may not matter. It’s very clear that people form their opinions, gravitate to sources that confirm their biases and reject facts that counter their pre-existing viewpoint (for example, during the Clinton years, the majority of Republicans surveyed in one study were convinced that Clinton grew the deficit during his time in office….).

  93. Jason D nailed it all the way back at comment 11; the rest of this thread might as well not exist. All politicians lie.

    Talk about missing the point. Again.

  94. made by Sullivan, who has neither acknowledged, nor apologized for, spreading base libel

    I’m not sure there is any kind of libel other than “base”, and I have a very low opinion of Sullivan, but “libel” has a very specific meaning.

    gwangung: the point of the lies is to show that they’re fearless liars. There is (IMO) a large section of the electorate that votes with their adrenalin; they’re less interested in McCain’s actual policies than in seeing McCain, Palin and the GOP making like rabid attack weasels. They identify with rabid attack weasels. The attack is the whole point.

  95. Skar – If you look into the sex education proposal for younger kids, it’s telling them to let an adult know if there’s someone touching them inappropriately. It’s not telling them about sex in any great detail. This is why, IMO, the McCain ad was over the top.

    I concede that the view of how much misinformation it is might be in they eye of the beholder. You’re not crazy for seeing it differently, and I appreciate your explaining your viewpoint.

    At a young age, just letting kids know what to avoid should be enough. That includes encouraging them to talk to an adult they trust about inappropriate touching.

    Do you agree at least with that?

  96. Skar @ 79: The real lie, in my opinion, is when the ad says the following:

    Learning about sex before learning to read?

    Now that is a lie. Plain and simple, nothing but lie. It doesn’t even pass the sniff test.

    And to all the posters who say the press is “pro-Obama” I say ha! Let’s not forget who Obama is running against. John McCain has proudly called the press “my base.” The press has been carrying water for McCain for months. Think about it, McCain picks a VP that has none, and I mean none, of the qualifications McCain said a VP should have and the press says squat. Even before this last week McCain has been lying and smearing at a prodigious rate, and the press says squat.

    Individual reporters may like Obama, granted, but they love McCain. They go over to his house for BBQ, they hand with him on the bus. If there is one problem McCain doesn’t have it is anti-McCain press bias.

  97. Politics and Ethics have been estranged bedfellows for so long that little surprises me there anymore. That said however, the ongoing willingness of the great American public to suck it up and appear to be enjoying it is quite another matter. Surely choosing between black and grey should not be the only option?

  98. Josh Jasper-

    Here I had a whole prickly response written to The Griz when you come along all polite and reasonable. Thanks for taking all the wind out of my ‘offended’ sails.

    To answer your question, yes, I agree that there would be no harm in an opt-in program to teach young kids that they ought to let someone know if they’re being inappropriately touched.

    In the video I linked to, however, Obama is talking about sex-ed for kindergartners that included material that needs to be “science-based” (~32s) and something other than abstinence (~50s). Given those two things, it’s not just predator awareness he’s talking about. Therein lies the problem.

  99. Praise God, Jesus, Allah, or the deity of your choice, someone finally said it: THE ELECTION IS A JOB INTERVIEW. If you’re a hiring manager and the candidate’s resume says “two years of executive experience,” you don’t throw the resume down on the desk and say, “Damn, this person is perfect!” You ask a few question, like, uh, what did you do? And how did it turn out? And, now that you’ve had some experience, what would you do differently? And so on.

    This is all standard-issue stuff in the business world, but in politics we get all caught up in crap like whether we’d like to have a beer with the candidate. (Which, by the way, seems like a bad idea if the candidate is an alcoholic. Just sayin’.) Then when we invade the wrong country, or have a prolonged recession, or a whole bunch of financial institutions go toes up, it’s God’s Will. Or Clinton’s fault. Anyone’s fault but the brain-dead voters who elected an ignoramus, or someone who’s experienced only in the sense that they’ve managed to cling to bad policies for far longer than the other candidate.

    Could we wake up now, even for a little while? Just a couple of months ought to do it.

  100. Skar, he’s saying that the entire sex-ed K-12 program needs to be science-based and other than abstinence. Hence the fact that he said ‘science-based sex education in schools’, and not, let’s say, ‘in kindergarten’. He has broadened the discussion beyond kindergarten.

    He has said in other forums that he believes that predator awareness is what that should be taught in kindergarten.

    Are we done with this yet?

    -fred

  101. Well, John said everything I was going to say to Terry Austin, and better. Here’s the only part of my comment that was worth saving:

    How to tell the two parties apart: One set of lies is in ads ending with “I’m John McCain and I approved this message” and the other is spread by internet wackos and denounced by the candidate himself—Obama has said publicly that people’s families are off limits; speaking in particular about the rumors about Trig’s parentage, he said this:

    We don’t go after people’s families; we don’t get them involved in the politics. It’s not appropriate, and it’s not relevant. Our people were not involved in any way in this, and they will not be. And if I ever thought that there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they’d be fired.

    I got that
    here.

    Now, about the beer thing: which of your beer buddies do you think would make a good President? I mean when you’re sober, do you really think any of them would?

    And Obama never called Sarah Palin a pig. Even though she is one.

  102. gerrymander:

    “I have to ask: why should we pay attention to anything Sullivan writes about this election?”

    Your foamy foamy foamy about Sullivan aside, the link is specifically to the Obama campaign’s most recent political ad, which Mr. Sullivan, one presumes, did not have a hand in composing. I’m linking to his hosting of the ad primarily because that’s where I found it.

    That said, I agree he went wacky with the Trig Palin thing; however, aside from that rather regrettable trip into lunacy he’s been interesting to read this political season.

  103. So far, I think McCain is doing better at that than the Snob is.

    Name-calling is such an effective way of mounting an argument. But then you’re not really making an argument, are you? You’re just coming into the thread to trash-talk and generally spew bile. In fact, you are living up to your image of politicians, bereft as it is of honesty and integrity.

    Skar, he’s saying that the entire sex-ed K-12 program needs to be science-based and other than abstinence.

    Chances that Skar equivocates on this, as well? High.

  104. Sorry, the whole, “Yeah, he said that, but what he REALLY meant, was… (insert apologetics)” line doesn’t really hold much water folks.

    Chance that Skar has his integrity and or intelligence questioned, in lieu of an actual response, again? High.

  105. gerrymander @ 92
    and others

    The fact is that the Palin “rumor” started when people, trying to see just who this Palin person was, found the story in her own home town newspaper. That’s where it started.

    Then 5 or 6 people, out of 100,000+ possible diarists and/or trolls, turned into twits about it despite more reasonable people telling them to settle down and quit being twits.

    Thank you for repeating the GOP talking point ad nauseum and proving yourself clueless. It’s not as if the claim was that Palin was *a traitor!* or (state name of latest candidate) is *the most liberal evah!*. As if being liberal or progressive was A Bad Thing. Clean up your own house, as so clearly shown in the origional post, and then you can get all huffy and whine about inaccurate attacks to me.

  106. Skar, you know and I know that the ‘sex ed for kindergartners’ thing is meant to lead people into believing that Obama wants your five-year-old to watch graphic pictures of gay orgies. Age-appropriate SCIENCE-BASED sex education for kindergartners is ‘where do babies come from’ and ‘what are the proper names for the parts of your body’. Abstinence, frankly, is not an issue that even comes up at those ages.

  107. I have to say that in retrospect, Bill Clinton’s and Dubya’s lies while in office both loom large in setting the tone for behavior during this campaign. Both men (and their handlers) lowered the standard of truthfulness for the office about as much as Mr. Nixon, and now we’re paying the price. Now that it’s been proven that the die-hard partisans don’t care how much THEIR guy lies, the major parties feel safe doing whatever they need to fool the independents just long enough to get elected.

    In other news – This is only marginally related, but another depressing case of deja vu all over again:

    There is a circuit judgeship race that was held in late August in Palm Beach County (yes, that Palm Beach County) where the margin of victory is something under 80 votes out of about 40,000 cast, and I use “about” advisedly. This race has been recounted about 3 times now, and the vote totals have varied between 2,500 FEWER votes than were in the original count, to about 200 MORE votes than in the original count.

    Florida has moved to paper ballots this year because of all the concern about electronic tampering, and now we have ballots magically disappearing and reappearing during the vote tally. Palm Beach county is set to determine yet another election with an elections office that perhaps can now design a ballot that doesn’t give you butterflies, but now they can’t maintain a proper chain of custody for its ballots even in a minor primary election with low turnout.

    Better damn’ well hope that whoever wins Florida does so by about a million votes. If it’s any closer, the clowns in Palm Beach County could be deciding the presidency again.

  108. Hopefully this comment is approximately on-topic. Paul Krugman wrote an interesting piece last week about the media’s treatment of McCain’s honesty (or lack thereof). The most relevant part to the discussion at hand:

    Why do the McCain people think they can get away with this stuff? Well, they’re probably counting on the common practice in the news media of being “balanced” at all costs. You know how it goes: If a politician says that black is white, the news report doesn’t say that he’s wrong, it reports that “some Democrats say” that he’s wrong. Or a grotesque lie from one side is paired with a trivial misstatement from the other, conveying the impression that both sides are equally dirty.

  109. The argument about which way the media leans oversimplifies things. There are left-leaning media outlets. There are right-leaning media outlets. People who prefer one to the other tend to treat their preferred outlets as “unbiased” because the alternative is to admit that they themselves are biased, and we all prefer to believe that we’re middle-of-the-road, mainstream, average Americans and it’s all those extremists on the left/right/both who are making things so unpleasant.

    I do want to reiterate one point that has been made above. There is a qualitative difference between untruths and stretched truths in an official campaign ad — one that the candidate professes to have approved — and untruths and stretched truths put out by people with no official connection to the campaign. A candidate can and should be held accountable to ads that he claims to approve. A candidate should not be saddled with the wild and unverified claims of rabid supporters, unless those supporters have an official tie to the campaign. Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin will have enough to do defending the statements they themselves make without trying to make them claim or disclaim the statements of their respective lunatic fringes.

  110. David@109: You misunderstand. I call the Democrat candidate “the Snob” because from my POV, he carries snobbery to such an extreme that it’s the defining characteristic of his personality, and therefore should be a component of his true name. If you find that offensive, well… that’s your problem, not mine. Just as your inexplicable insistence that this election actually means something is your problem, not mine. I know this election is essentially irrelevant, and therefore nothing you or I or Scalzi or anybody else says about it has any real significance at all.

  111. Xopher @107 Now, about the beer thing: which of your beer buddies do you think would make a good President? I mean when you’re sober, do you really think any of them would?

    And Obama never called Sarah Palin a pig. Even though she is one.

    1) I don’t know about beer buddies, but I remember one article that compared how McCain and Obama gamble. Apparently Obama’s a poker-player, while McCain shoots craps. Personally, I’d rather have a poker player in the white house.

    2) Palin’s not a pig, she’s the Mediocre Witch of the Northwest. She’s even got the Ruby Slippers (well, pumps anyway) to prove it. “There’s no place like Nome. There’s no place like Nome…”

    Actually, on a more serious note about Palin, it’s scary the way independent-voting white women seem to have embraced her story while ignoring her platform. Are there really that many women who are arch-conservatives except in their desire for equal opportunity in the workplace?

  112. Chances that Skar equivocates on this, as well? High.

    Sorry, the whole, “Yeah, he said that, but what he REALLY meant, was… (insert apologetics)” line doesn’t really hold much water folks.

    That’s one square. Now, I only need a few more for comment-thread Bingo.

    I call the Democrat candidate “the Snob” because from my POV, he carries snobbery to such an extreme that it’s the defining characteristic of his personality, and therefore should be a component of his true name.

    Again, name-calling is such an effective way to build an argument. That you can’t see that calling someone names in a room full of the person’s supporters is such an entirely bankrupt way to enage in a discussion simply destroys any credibility you might bring to the discussion. You flick spitballs on the (urine-soaked) playground and wonder why people object.

  113. I’ve skimmed the comments, and so far, by far, they’re mostly either tu quoque evasions or accounts of specific lies politicians have uttered.

    The real meat of the matter, which John mentioned but which is most important to me in a meta sense, is that democratic government can’t survive if we don’t care about metastasizing mendacity. A government “of the people, by the people and for the people” depends, absolutely and essentially depends, on an honest and open discussion of issues and what the candidates plan to do about those issues. It’s bad enough when voters make little to no effort to understand even the basics of the issues that affect us all; it’s downright lethal when voters accept outright lies as legitimate coin of the realm, rewarding most the pol who tells the most egregious lies.

    American politics is so debased, so amazingly dishonest, shallow, and feckless that government “of the people, by the people and for the people” is already a joke. Our political process is little more than an ongoing game show, with voters playing the role of the audience, applauding whoever is most entertaining. I can’t even begin to fathom it, since the people who get elected enact laws that really and truly affect us all, but you’d never know that if you heard what passes for political discourse.

    Of course I have my opinion on who is most to blame for the de-evolution of American Democracy into the Gong Show. But We the People – we the voters – have to be at the top of the list. We enable this, we allow this, every time we decide we don’t need to dig deep and figure out what the hell is going on, is it doing us any good or not, and if not how can it be improved. We go along with the facile sloganeering, the ‘analysis’ that leaves out facts and historical context, and we don’t rise up in outrage and demand better.

    As someone who takes citizenship seriously, takes the American Ideal seriously, and takes politics seriously, this phenomenon enrages me.

    You want to know what’s the real slap in the face to everyone who’s fought and suffered and died to protect and defend America? It’s not some idiot displaying a Che poster or burning a flag or not wearing a flag pin. It’s allowing ourselves to be accessories to the destruction of government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

  114. Chris Gerrib@86

    My mistake! When you said you’d take the challenge, I thought you were going to play McCainista.

    “I’m asking the McCain fans to explain these contradictions to me.”

    Well, Carry on! And if they manage to do so credibly, we’ll both be surprised.

    BYW, it works better in person . . .they usually turn a delightful shade of magenta!

  115. Wolfwalker, An Other Eric:

    Your “ooh look how enlightened and above it all I am, looking down on your petty little arguments” nihlism is childish and asinine.

  116. Skar @ 105 – I’m new to this whole reasonableness thing. Be gentle.

    In the video I linked to, however, Obama is talking about sex-ed for kindergartners that included material that needs to be “science-based” (~32s) and something other than abstinence (~50s). Given those two things, it’s not just predator awareness he’s talking about. Therein lies the problem.

    Sex ed for pre-tens generally includes nothing more than information on body functions and safety. No sex talk. Teenagers get actual disease and pregnancy prevention in comprehensive sex ed. If you’re disapproving of teens getting that information, we disagree.

    Personally, I saw the ad as a big huge “Barack Obama wants to sex up little children!!!” scare campaign. YMMV.

  117. As for Andy Sullivan I do think he’s a bit of a twit, but he’s not a full blown idiot.

    It’s sort of entertaining watching him teeter between sensible and idiotic. He’ll go on about how he wants a return to sensible conservative values, and rational debate, and then he’ll complain that no one takes the science in The Bell Curve seriously. He’s like a charming but drunken relative who’ll randomly say some racist or sexist thing at odd intervals and embarrass the whole family.

  118. Casey L: I disagree somewhat with your statement:is that democratic government can’t survive if we don’t care about metastasizing mendacity. A government “of the people, by the people and for the people” depends, absolutely and essentially depends, on an honest and open discussion of issues and what the candidates plan to do about those issues.

    I’ll let the first politician of the US respond:

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    — John Adams, October 11, 1798

    I’m not granting either side of the debate the corner on these virtues or these vices. I think that the problem with our candidates is we citizens are getting what we deserve.

  119. @17 Martini –

    The religious right has already trained their members to accept appeal to authority (in particular, their authority) as the only valid source of truth. “Faith trumps facts.”

    The economic right, as far as I can tell, holds its nose and votes for whomever is percieved to be more fiscally conservative.

    Eh, the economic right is also firmly in the “faith trumps facts” camp. (Well, if we assume that they actually believe that supply-side stuff; maybe it’s just pabulum for the unwashed, but they always sound so sincere about it…)

  120. Kerry 110: Actually I never encountered that before, so thank you for introducing me to it! I think I’ll probably be reading it fairly regularly.

    Bozo 119: I meant pig as in “you fascist pig!” Book banner, autocrat (office abuser), and forced-pregnancy advocate adds up to pig in my book, whether the jury is split or hung.

    And btw, she’s anything but a Witch. I’m a Witch myself, and I know Witches, Witches are friends of mine, and Ms Palin is no Witch.

  121. And could someone explain to me when the Republicans turned into politically correct, hyper-sensitive whinging cry-babies? If I hear one more hypocritical bleat about “sexism” or “ageism” from the McCain-Palin camp, or their proxies, the nearest brick wall is going to hell one hell of a Liverpool kiss. :)

  122. Actually, David, I know exactly why you and your fellow Obama-ites object to my comments. What you don’t know (but would if you had ever bothered to ask) is that my unpleasantness has an ulterior motive — one that has nothing whatever to do with trolling, or ego, or any of the usual motives you ascribe to those you don’t like. I want to get you (and everyone else reading this) to stop thinking in simpleminded partisan terms, unlearn the reflexive combativeness that blinds your vision, and see the real threat that waits for all of us less than ten years down the road.

    The pending entitlements disaster will destroy the United States within your lifetime. Neither party has the will to do anything about it. I and a few other intelligent people have been watching it approach for over a decade now. There have been many opportunities to address it. Thanks to people like you, who care more about beating the other side than about solving the problem, nothing has been done. And yet, you expect me to care when you start yipping about which of these two pathetically unqualified candidates is telling more little white lies?

  123. Man, reading these comments is like listening to kids squabble over a candy bar. Can we agree to have an adult conversation here? I believe what Mr. Scalzi is trying to do here is provide a forum for opinion here, not a site for your personal shit. With that said, let’s address the topic. Do politicians Lie? Well, hell yes they do! God I hope they don’t tell the truth all of the time. If they did, they would be completely ineffective in government. There is no way you can do business with your heart on your sleeve at that level. The point here is how effective of a liar is each of the candidates? To be able to govern effectively, you have to be good. Look at how pissed people were at Bill Clinton for being a bad liar. Folks said “If he can’t conceal an illicit affair in the White House, How is he going to keep state secrets and U.S. Strategy from foreign powers?”
    I think the problem here is not lying, but STUPID lying.
    The Republican camp and supporters are saying some of the most stupid shit that anyone has ever heard, so much that even die hard republicans (see above postings) are shaking their heads. Yes, Mr. Obama is lying about some stuff. There is no way that he is going to get anything done without doing it. But in my opinion, he is not being STUPID about it. We have had STUPID Liars in the white House for the last sixteen years, from both sides of the fence. If we get our collective heads out of the sand, maybe we can do something about this. Or would you all rather be entertained by the Clown show?
    Dave

  124. Craig @ 132

    When? When they stopped being able to get a free pass on lying about and demonizing their opposition.

    These people became politically lazy during the decades when lying about the opposition and appealing to wedge issue voters (and lately out and out election fraud) was all they needed. No real party planks other than a) more money for businesses and people who have most of it to start with and b) promise the religious fundimentalists whatever they want for the megachurch vote and don’t deliver so we can do it again next time. And of course the gun nut vote.

    Now that they are being called out on the bullshit (and BBQ buddy McCain at that), the easy or only option they can find is faux outrage in whatever flavor they can think of.

  125. wolfwalker @ 133
    The answer is simple, raise or abolish the current FICA cap set at $90,000.

    The only reason there is an issue in the first place, especially after Reagan’s double bite on the Baby boomers is because Reagan, Reagan, Bush,Bush, and Bush took the money that would have been gaining intrest out of the Treasury to fund their preposterous economic plans and left IOUs in it’s place.

    So, don’t put in another thief and raise/eliminate the FICA cap so the tax bracket buddies who helped the theft along put more than a relative pittance toward putting it back.

  126. My general reaction to this election has been “Wait a minute, how can our political process be this screwed up and yet we’re still arguably the most successful society on the planet?” You’d think someone would be more on the ball than this.

    I’m generally a fairly moderate person, and I would have considered voting for McCain circa 2000. But he’s clearly decided that being a nice guy just didn’t work.

  127. On a note tangentially related to the discussion, thanks for posting about this, John — I’ve always enjoyed reading your political posts, and I know you have a low patience threshold for wading into the madness that is online political discussion.

    But this is one issue that needs to be talked about; loudly, clearly, and repeatedly, by everyone, to anyone who will listen, and those who won’t, for that matter. The acceptance of the McCain campaign’s level of respect for the truth by the American public, even by way of apathy, would be an extremely disturbing prospect for the future of this country’s politics. With no exaggeration for dramatic effect, it is the language of Orwell, and we must reject it soundly. It has no place in a democracy in the 21st century, and certainly not in one that works to be an example for the rest of the world.

  128. Skimmed some, because there’s limits to my patience.

    Part, I think, of why the lying thing has gotten worse and worse, is the lack of unformatted debate.
    “Senator ______, could you take a moment to explain to me and the American people what you meant by _____”
    “______ ____ ____”
    “I see, however, that’s a load of bull.”
    “No it isn’t! _____ ____ ______.”
    “That’s even stupider bull.”

    That conversation will never happen. And I can’t think of any way that makes a lie stick harder, than when somebody calls it a lie and asks you to respond to it being called a lie. If McCain actually physically shrugged after something he said was called a lie, and didn’t answer, that’d be the end of that issue, and McCain would look like a twit.

    But since people don’t talk to each other’s faces anymore you never have to actually answer for your crap. You just decline to be interviewed by the people who will call you on it.

  129. The last several presidential debates have been simultaneous Q&A, not debates. Two people talking past each other except to say “I basically agree with him.” That’s the extent of the interaction. They don’t answer each others questions or challenges, they answer the moderator. It’s a useful tool for undecided voters to hear both sides at the same time, but it’s not a real debate.

    I wouldn’t use that kind of debate to teach a rhetoric class…

  130. You’re too close to this one, John, and it’s shredding your ability to analyze it properly. McCain’s campaign is lying, as politicians do, but the lies are minor and they mostly involve exaggerations of the facts. If McCain were to tell whoppers – such as posing as a champion of ending illegal immigration or free speech – he’d suffer badly. He’s keeping it within the rules of the game.

    Obama, on the other hand, is lying about who he is and he has been lying about who he is from the very beginning, even in his own autobiography. The man is obnoxious, a near-complete fraud, and many people sense that and dislike him; he can tell the absolute truth for the rest of the campaign and it will make no difference at all. The fact that his campaign is run by strategists who think they’re still running in a Democratic primary hasn’t helped him.

    Does this mean the electorate is stupid? Of course it does, most people are idiots. Most people HERE are idiots too, functionally if not literally. I mean, those who are still in denial about Liberal Media Bias may as well sign up for the Flat Earth Society and the Holocaust Deniers League while they’re at it.

    I understand why Democrats are furious. They absolutely should win this election in a landslide and if they had nominated Hillary, they would have. But they didn’t. Instead they unwisely nominated a smooth self-promoter who is so hopelessly amateurish that he can’t even attack a Republican president presiding over the worst financial meltdown in the country’s history. Obama fans had better get used to the notion that he’s going to lose, since he’s probably going to lose worse than people thought McCain would a month ago. Remember, those who say he’s still a winner are the same folks who said Palin was a terrible choice by McCain that would blow up in Republican faces.

    But Democrats should be consoled by the fact that it doesn’t matter who wins since Bernanke is going to be calling the shots anyhow. The economic meltdown will continue, Republicans will bear the blame, and Hillary can ascend the Cherry Blossom Throne four years later than scheduled, just in time to reap the rewards of a economic bounce-back.

  131. Vox:

    “You’re too close to this one, John, and it’s shredding your ability to analyze it properly.”

    Well, no. McCain is lying through his teeth, constantly and consistently and purposefully, and your estimation of him keeping it “within the rules of the game” is not one that even Karl Rove agrees with. As for Obama, I like him, but I’m not hopelessly in the tank for him; I never bothered to anoint him the Messiah. That said, I don’t think a little self-serving autobiographical polish written before his candidacy is as much a mark against his soul as you do. As for who will lose and win, well, we’ll see, won’t we. This is why we actually hold elections, and given how much the electoral map has changed in two weeks, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that it will change again in the next several.

  132. Let’s let Obama talk, ‘kay?

    “If we’re going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily,” Obama said.

    Well. There you have it.

  133. How convenient of you to leave the next sentence out…

    “What Obama apparently meant was that McCain, not Obama, has put out more negative ads.”

  134. Just to be clear, in the context of the article that Frank linked to, with the words “win that contest,” Obama is claiming he has had fewer negative ads unrelated to the issues at hand.

    And he’s right.

  135. The Gritz

    How convenient of you to leave the next sentence out…

    So, you think I needed to include it? Like Obama would ever knowingly indict himself in this way?

    Step back. Take a breath. Because, you know, life is funny too.

    Take Delbert’s advice on life

    You need a job so you can make some money
    You need a nice warm place to stay
    A sense of humor cause life is funny
    A big stick to keep the wolves away

    A big stick is good but so is a sense of humor.

    Just sayin’

  136. It’s rather pretentious to request that I “Step back. Take a breath.” The context of the linked article, and especially the next sentence of the article, make your point in the post dishonest.

    Of course, it’s also really, really funny to just lie to people and hope that some small percentage buy it. Ha, Ha. Now my stomach hurts.

  137. Griz:

    It’s probably me knowing Frank through his posting here over the years, but I believe that indeed he was merely doing a tweak involving a poorly grammatically structured sound bite from Obama. I don’t think he was genuinely attempting to deceive anyone.

  138. CHS wrote an interesting article called “Liar Nation” here:

    http://www.oftwominds.com/blog.html

    Lying is now acceptable behavior at every level of society. We have become what we used to mock: a nation of corrupt liars and theives who are stealing from ourselves.

    It is said that the Roman Republic became corrupt because its’ citizens failed to maintain its’ civic virtues and to pay proper attention to its civic necessities. Weakend from within, it fell. I certainly hope the US is not headed down the same path, but by all appearances, we are.

  139. This is why we actually hold elections, and given how much the electoral map has changed in two weeks, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that it will change again in the next several.

    That’s true. When the Fannie Mae deal broke, I thought that might give Obama his chance to bounce back… until I remembered that two of his senior campaign advisors had been CEOs of Fannie.

    We’ll see. I wouldn’t mind seeing Obama win, not in the slightest. I just don’t see much reason to believe he will, as most external shocks would work to McCain’s favor.

  140. You know, with all of the focus on how Obama was a mere community organizer, I love how everyone glosses over the fact that he taught Constitutional Law for twelve years. Blah blah, another lawyer, we hate lawyers, let’s kill all the lawyers, [insert lawyer joke].

    Considering how the job of the president is to, you know, defend and protect said Constitution, it might be nice to have someone holding that job who actually knows what it is, and *shock* understands what it says and means. But hey, what do I know?

    On a related note, this “op-ed” from Red Room is pretty interesting, and eye opening:

    This is Your Nation on White Privilege: http://www.redroom.com/blog/tim-wise/this-your-nation-white-privilege

    Great post, John. Yes, all politicians lie, it’s part of the game, blah blah, but what does that say about us as a nation that we accept it and condone it so readily with barely a shrug? Last I knew, lying was bad behavior that we try to discourage our children from doing, so really – what shining examples we set for them and for each other when we accept it with such complacency.

  141. Vox @ 154:

    Do you really want to play advisor bingo? Sure, Jim Johnson ran Fannie successfully a decade ago. So? If you want to tar him and smear Obama, you’re better off going with his Countrywide associations.

    On the other hand, the (now ex) chair of Lehman is one of McCain’s top economic advisors, along with Phil Gramm, who’s deregulation successes started with Enron and just keep coming. (And who can forget his “American is a nation of whiners” hit?) McCain’s top foreign policy advisor is a hard-core neocon who took money from Georgia (the country) as recently as this year.

  142. JS @ 129

    I think you misunderstand the economic right. Supply side or not isn’t their issue, how much of their money the gummint will take is their issue. (With a side order of pork, but all groups have that.) Supply side and other arguments are talking points to make their core argument (“stop taking my stuff”) seem less selfish (“stop taking my stuff because you’ll get more stuff if you do”).

  143. Wolfwalker @ 133: Refering to the pending entitlements disaster reveals your bias there. Medicaid/medicare are definitely heading for a crash, along with most of the US healthcare system. I like Obama’s plan for that much better than McCain’s plan to tax my health care benefits.

    As for Social Security, there’ve been predictions for a decade or two that 40 years from now it may only be able to pay 75% of benefits. Interestingly, that target date keeps slipping back, so it’s still at 40 years out. But even if it does come to pass, dealing with the projected shortfall is hardly going to bring our nation to its knees.

    Dealing with a coming healthcare crisis might well do so, which is what makes lumping Medicare and SS together and referring to an “entitlements” crisis so disingenous.

  144. It’s not just the McCain campaign that’s pushing lies on Obama. There’s now a professional push-polling comapny that’s trying to scare voters by implying a tie between Obama and Hamas.

    details here.

    No one seems to know who’s paying them. Probably not McCain’s campaign directly, but I do remember how, in 2000, Karl Rove’s operatives targeted McCain with a similar tactic. I expect it’s some sort of general Republican attack group, like Swift Boat Veterans For The Truth.

    Expect this sort of attack on Obama to show up more often before the elections. It’s a standard Republican tactic. They even use it on each other.

  145. Do you really want to play advisor bingo? Sure, Jim Johnson ran Fannie successfully a decade ago. So? If you want to tar him and smear Obama, you’re better off going with his Countrywide associations.

    You don’t understand the point. It’s not that McCain doesn’t have equally corrupt advisors, it’s that a few of Obama’s advisors and contributions preclude him from taking advantage of something that would otherwise offer him a giant hammer with which to repeatedly club McCain over the head. I don’t see how he could have foreseen it, but that doesn’t change the reality of the current situation.

    The idea that Jim Johnson “successfully” ran Fannie is quite funny. He was just the lead pig at the trough for a while. By the way, I’m not a Republican. I will not vote for John McCain; I’ve never voted for a Republican for president.

  146. The academic left in America ( specifically in the literature departments) has spent the better part of the last four decades pushing post-modernism. Among other things, Post-moderns preach a very relativistic view of truth. In fact Fish and his buddies claim that there is no knowable truth and that facts can and should be adjusted (revised) to fit whatever group is currently in vogue (i.e. Wendy Doniger’s claim that Sarah Palin is not a woman).

    In that narrow context I find it amusing that the political left is suddenly concerned about “truth” .

    Is the left really prepared to trade in their relativism for a shot at the white house?

    That’s change I could vote for.
    .

  147. Update – The push polls are being done by a Republican attack group called Central Research Services, out of NY, with ties to (owned by? it’s hard to figure out) a bigger Republican attack company called Wilson Research Strategies, out of Texas.

    The guy who runs Wilson used to be head of the Republican Party when Bush was governor.

  148. Hey John… Just wanted to drop by and have a laugh at your expense.

    After all…

    You actually thought this amatuer had a chance. You know.. Hillary would’ve won. I’ll bet that stings doesn’t it? To know that your party had the presidency handed to them on a silver platter… and they… no… not they… you… you screwed the pooch.

    3 years ago a conservative friend lamented that there was no way to prevent a victory for the democrats… Back then I assured him….

    I told him, “Never underestimate the democrats. They could find a way to lose with a royal flush.”

  149. I can’t help myself. I have to write something here. I’m registered as republican, but from what I can tell, modern examples of both sides are all over the map. Some things that one side seems to stand for are fantastic to me, but others are just frightening. For example, the seeming strong connection between religion and the republican side is one I hope to not be associated with. I’m an agnostic, and don’t make my political decisions based on faith. Maybe I’m generalizing too much but I meant only to give an example of something that worries about the “republican” view.

    With all of that said, my understanding of the underlying beliefs of the republican side are broken down as “smaller government, more personal freedom”. My understanding of the “democratic” side leads me to think it supports “bigger government in the interest of safety”. I could easily be wrong. But I want readers to know where I’m coming from on this.

    Gun control is a hot button topic with me and it should make for a good example. Obama says he supports gun owners’ rights, but the voting records I’ve read disagree with that completely. Obama seems to vote anti-gun. McCain does not. Therefore McCain has big points in my book because it says to me that he understands the simple truth that more gun control laws won’t do what people think they will… they won’t protect us. Taking responsibility for our own lives will protect us. So it’s a basic philosophical difference I have with Obama.

    Now I’ve obviously heard Obama speak, and he does speak very well. And some of the policies he’s talking about changing sound good. I’m just worried enough about what he’ll likely make worse that McCain strikes me (based on his voting record) as the better choice.

    So that’s my two cents.

  150. Vox 161: By the way, I’m not a Republican. I will not vote for John McCain; I’ve never voted for a Republican for president.

    Do you believe in voting at all? Or is there some third party candidate who will get your vote? Given positions you’ve advocated in the past, I can’t imagine you being comfortable voting for Obama. Just curious.

  151. Nate:

    How do we know that Clinton would have won? (paraphrases of “it’s obvious! duh!” will not be accepted).

    Also, Obama hasn’t lost yet. Let’s not talk about why the Democrats lost the election until… how does “after the election” sound?

  152. I’m sorry… one more thing, because I can’t resist. I think our government is broken. The two party system is retarded. There shouldn’t be parties. They just divide us. There should just be the issues, and a clear stance from each candidate on their beliefs in the issues.

    Also, we should get rid of the electoral college. Sure… it made sense when we couldn’t communicate across the country in seconds, and sure, I can see an argument for the electoral college based on the fact that a lot of the population doesn’t bother doing any research into the candidates, but I think the eletoral college should be taken apart.

    Seemingly unrelated to the post about McCain lying like crazy, but right now, the electoral college could feasibly “save us” from making a mistake and vote a way we as a people do not. But think about this: If we are responsible for the president that gets put in office, then we can’t blame the electoral college. In addition, when we are responsible, we will also have to deal with the consequences. Hopefully, dire enough consequences will motivate people to do something about it.

    My favorite quote from the movie “Neverending Story”: “It has to hurt if it’s to heal.”

  153. Kevin @ 166 – my understanding of the underlying beliefs of the republican side are broken down as “smaller government, more personal freedom”.

    No, that’s the Libertarians. Republicans grew government more in the past 8 years. And curtailed personal freedoms more.

    My understanding of the “democratic” side leads me to think it supports “bigger government in the interest of safety”.

    More in the service of the community. And it also depends on what part of the government gets bigger.

    Gun control is a hot button topic with me and it should make for a good example.

    I’m not happy with Obama on the issue either. If McCain mirrored Obama outside of that issue, I’d vote for him instead.

  154. Kevin @ 166 – McCain gets a C- from the NRA. Obama and McCain are both in favor of closing the gun-show loophole, childproofing guns (devil’s in the details there) and “keeping guns from criminals.” The only substancial difference I could find was Obama liking the assault weapons ban. Since the ban was cosmetic (in multiple senses of the word) that’s a shame, but even that’s not “taking your guns.”

  155. “How do we know that Clinton would have won? (paraphrases of “it’s obvious! duh!” will not be accepted).”

    Hillary does everything Obama does… and she does it better. All those black votes that Obama brings to the table… were still going to vote democrat.

    The Girl Power Vote that helped elect Clinton the first time would’ve helped Hillary win this time… instead… its now going to McPalin.

    Hillary is also a far more calculating and controlled politician. She wouldn’t be sticking her foot in her mouth everytime she opened it right now. In short… she wouldn’t be slitting her own wrist.

    Hillary would know that she only needs a pair to win… so she wouldn’t dump three of a kind trying to score a Royal Flush.

    Hillary was positioned very well to exploit McCain’s big weakness… amnesty.

    Plus… she was Palin proof. Nominating Palin against a Hillary ticket wouldn’t have done as much to fire up the base… meaning McCain would still be cash strapped… instead of rolling in dough like he is now.

    Hillary could’ve won PA and Ohio… Minnesota never would’ve been in play… like it is now. She could’ve won Virginia… and maybe even florida… but I doubt it.

    Obama?

    He can’t win a single state that Kerry didn’t also win.

    He’s doomed.

    McCain will have this election locked up within 4 or 5 weeks. The howling and gnashing of teeth will be great indeed.

    By the way… The weather’s pretty nice down here in Jackassville. Thanks for asking.

  156. Xopher @ 131 – Apologies if I gave offense. I was following a Wizard of Oz caricature/meme due to her footwear more than any serious attempt to link her to Wiccans or any other type that might be self-described as witches. Plus, given her fundamentalist Christianity, calling her a witch is a bit of delicious irony.

    Maybe we can compromise and call her a Gaia-rapist? I find her environmental views even more dangerous than her attempts to force religion into the secular government. The constitutional protections against that are still stronger than the protections for the environment.

  157. Bozo 173: I was actually only teasing (and riffing on Lloyd Bentsen’s famous takedown of Quayle). It’s all good.

    Nate 174: I’ve always thought that green wench could use a high hard one shoved up her rearend anyway.

    As could you. Bend over and I’ll show you how it’s done.

  158. “It is very frustrating to Republicans (like me) because it seems so unecessary. McCain should be congratulating Obama for his tax plan because it includes lowering taxes on so many Americans – we have the Democratic nominee essentially pushing a Republican style tax plan.”

    He’s actually pushing a very Democratic style tax plan. Most Republicans (and Democrats too) get so blinded by partisanship that they miss it and forget that politics are cyclical. Republicans in particular get so caught up in the us vs. them that it seems to go over most of their heads when their leadership does a 180. Republicans haven’t been fiscally conservative (or remotely responsible) for nearly 30 years.

    Another example, look how McCain/Palin are suddenly about change. Look how the same people who laughed at Hillary and said she should get out of the kitchen if she couldn’t take the sexist heat are now crying us all a river over poor little Palin’s delicate sensibilities being trampled on by the big bad woman hating Democrats. Funny how all of a sudden the cons are all such “bleeding hearts.” That is the kind of disingenuous, dishonest crap that I think is at the heart of this type of debate.

    Republicans will do and say anything to win. Regardless of the facts, regardless of what is best for the country. Pushing forward even when you know you’re doing the wrong thing is not admirable or patriotic. It’s just dumb. But as the last few sentences in John’s blog implies, we may not get the representation we need, but we’ll most certainly get what we deserve. \

    Einstein’s definition of crazy is to do the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result. So if you’re planning to vote for McCain, look at the last 8 years, think about McCain’s plan to continue Bush policies and doctrine, then look in the mirror to see just how bat-shit looney-toons insane you are.

    Cheers

  159. Vox @ 161:

    Yeah, it’d be nice if Obama was pure as the driven snow. It’d be nice if Santa had brought me a pony last year too. (Being Jewish probably lowers the odds on that one.) But somehow I’m managing to get along without a pony, and with a decent candidate instead of an angelic one.

    The idea that Jim Johnson “successfully” ran Fannie is quite funny. He was just the lead pig at the trough for a while. By the way, I’m not a Republican. I will not vote for John McCain; I’ve never voted for a Republican for president.

    This is going to sound tendentious, but it’s actually a legit request for info. (Okay, with a helping of tendentious thrown in on the side.)

    Why is the idea that Johnson successfully ran Fannie funny? I don’t claim to be an expert here, most of my “knowledge” on the subject comes from a quick googling. But AFAIK, they were in decent shape when he left in ’98. Sure he’s a semi-slimy fatcat who helped himself to a big slice of the pie. But that’s between him and the shareholders. He left a smoothly running operation, right?

  160. It is too early to declare a winner for the candidate running the most trustworthy campaign. McCain, who trailed Obama in the polls all summer, had to push the envelope to catch up. Now Obama, under pressure in the polls, is showing no qualms about doing the same.

    Just in the last 48 hours:

    Obama claimed the he “outlined a plan to help revive our faltering economy which formed the basis for a bipartisan stimulus package that passed the Congress.” One small problem — the statement is false. ABC News fact checked the statement and said: “Is that true? Democrats on Capitol Hill who support Obama say no. Wanting Obama to win, however, none will say so on the record.” In fact, when it came time to vote on the stimulus package, Obama was absent.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/obama-inflates.html

    The Obama campaign also made news by running an add in Spanish that attempts to impugn John McCain as a racist. To make this point, the add uses partial quotes from Rush Limbaugh regarding the recent immigration dispute. Rush Limbaugh, however, savaged John McCain for his position on immigration – something that the add never bothers to worry about. ABC News fact checked the add and said: ” By linking McCain to Limbaugh’s quotes, twisting Limbaugh’s quotes, and tying McCain to more extremist anti-immigration voices, the Obama campaign has crossed a line into misleading the viewers of its new TV ad. In Spanish, the word is erróneo.”

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/from-the-fact-1.html

    Not bad for just a couple days work. In these last 45 days, I expect Obama and his supporters to say whatever it takes to win. (and I expect the same of McCain). If you watched what the Obama team did to the Clintons during the primaries, by hinting that they were racists, then you should know what is coming. This is no time to award trophies for good sportsmanship. Politics ain’t beanbag.

  161. “McCain to more extremist anti-immigration voices”

    Why not? McCain changed his position 180 degrees and voted against his own bill!

    He’s sold out to the GOP base so completely that it’s only rational to assume his administration would follow the base’s wishes, not his earlier moderate positions.

  162. Kevin Tipa wrote: “With all of that said, my understanding of the underlying beliefs of the republican side are broken down as “smaller government, more personal freedom”.”

    That’s what they want you to believe, but their actions say different: Bigger government, less freedom.

  163. “It is too early to declare a winner for the candidate running the most trustworthy campaign.”

    Yes it is. If, of course, you’re bat-shit insane.

  164. Maybe Obama has taken the article to heart?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/21/AR2008092101207.html

    The symmetry of sin is suddenly looking more equal. Last week, I flayed John McCain for dishonesty — flagrant and repeated dishonesty — about Barack Obama’s proposals. Obama was by no means blameless, I argued, but his lapses were nowhere near as egregious as his opponent’s. I stand by everything I wrote.

    But a series of new Obama attacks requires a rebalancing of the scales: Obama has descended to similarly scurrilous tactics on the stump and on the air.

  165. “Maybe Obama has taken the article to heart?”

    Yes, as John said, it’s sad it has come to this.

    On the other hand what’s good for the goose … I think it’s high time that dems took it to repuglicans the way they have taken it to the dems for far too long. At this point, it’s a chicken/egg argument. As much as I hate to devolve to the five year old technique of “they started it,” it is impossible not to note that in fact “THEY STARTED IT!” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

  166. Hillary does everything Obama does… and she does it better. All those black votes that Obama brings to the table… were still going to vote democrat.
    The Girl Power Vote that helped elect Clinton the first time would’ve helped Hillary win this time… instead… its now going to McPalin.

    The Palin nomination did a huge amout to mobilise the feminist vote, you’re right. Except that everyone who casres about women’s rights is doing everything they can to keep Palin out of the White House.

    Sure, there’s a few people who only supported Clinton because she had ovaries, and now support Palin for the same reason, but the “girl power” vote is going to the party that doesn’t want to take power away from girls.

    Obama?
    He can’t win a single state that Kerry didn’t also win.

    Other than Colorado, Virginia, Iowa and New Mexico, you mean?

    Well, we’ll see how it shakes out, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen a projection that doesn’t give Obama at least 280 electoral votes.

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