When They Lie, Call Them Liars

I just have to post this, because it is exactly what I’m feeling right now.  So many – so many – people are just so uninformed.  They vote the way their parents did, or the way their church tells them to, or how their spouse does, or for whomever their party has chucked on the ballot.   I fail to see how anyone can support candidates that are anti-science, anti-choice, anti-gay, indeed anti-freedom. But this – this is the way I wish things could play out.  

Dear Barack,

Next time someone asks what you think of Sarah Palin, please don’t just call her a “skilled politician” with a “compelling biography.” Call her a liar, too. Here’s how that would work:

Reporter: What do you think of Sarah Palin?

You: She’s a skilled politician with a compelling biography who lies a great deal.

Reporter: Wow! That’s a pretty serious charge.

You: Actually, [insert name of reporter], it’s not a charge. It’s what certain people in your profession call “a fact.”

Reporter (suspiciously): So you’re calling her “a liar”?

You: Right. As in someone who lies a lot.

Reporter (gravely): With all due respect, Senator, if you’re going to make that kind of accusation, you’d better be specific.

You: Sure. Remember when she said I’d never written a major piece of legislation? That was a lie. And when she said she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere? That was also a lie. And when she said I would raise taxes on American families? Again: a lie. And you know how she talks about opposing earmarks. Given that she hired a Jack Abramhoff-affiliated lobbyist to haul in $27 million in earmarks for her beloved small town, that’s a real whopper. So she lies a lot, about my record and her own record. Just as a reminder, though, I’m not running against Sarah Palin. I’m running against John McCain, who is also a liar.

Reporter (even more gravely): Wait a second, so now you’re saying —

You: Yes, John McCain is a liar. He routinely lies about my tax plan, which will cut taxes for 95 percent of families with children. He lies about his own tax plan, which will continue the tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires he once called “irresponsible.” He lies about his support of renewable energy. He lies about his judgment on the Iraq War, a war he himself declared over five years ago, on national TV. He lies about his vetting of Sarah Palin, which was clearly reckless and inadequate. Virtually every time he opens his mouth he lies.

Reporter (frankly aghast): These are harsh words, Senator.

You: Not really. I’m just tired of listening to the Republican nominees and their surrogates lie with impunity. And the only way these liars are going to stop telling lies is for reporters like you, [insert name of reporter], to report when they lie. I urge you to show the same concern for the truth with us Democrats. Politicians shouldn’t be rewarded for lying.

What would happen if you actually said this — even some toned down version?

1. You completely dominate the news.

2. You force the media to assess your “inflammatory” claims, which, as it turns out, are true.

3. You force McCain/Palin/surrogates to stop lying, or at least risk being held accountable.

4. You reassure those who are worried you’re not tough enough to protect the homeland.

5. You show us, your loyal supporters, that you don’t plan to pull a Kerry/Gore.

6. Maybe (just maybe) the race starts to become more about real issues, where the Republicans get slaughtered.

Oh, and next time Bill O’Reilly asks you to admit you were wrong about the surge, tell him John McCain needs to admit he was wrong about the entire war, and to stop lying about his failure to support veterans. Honestly, dude, quit making John Stewart do all the heavy lifting.

More concerned than ever,


Steve Almond: Dear Barack: When They Lie, Call Them Liars

9 Replies to “When They Lie, Call Them Liars”

  1. Politicians always lie. We don’t always know their agenda, and the cause, but that’s how they function. They have to convince the people that they do what the people want them to, and at the same time pursue their – and the lobbyists’ – agenda, which is not always easy. Especially before elections they have to be much more populist than ever, which in itself suggests a larger percentage of lies than usual. Lying is probably the rule and not the exception. It’s just some of them are better at it.

  2. If you weren’t blinded by Obama’s halo, you’d know the reason why he’d never be able to say anything like this. It’d be like throwing a sharpened boomerang.

  3. @evangs: I see. So if someone likes Obama, they simply must be “blinded by his halo.” Riiiiiiight.

    @lev1: To me, there’s lying and there’s lying. Saying “I will work on the environment and not doing it – and other campaign promises – that are never followed to fruition is markedly different than simply telling untruths. McCain and Palin are simply telling a story that is disproven with fact. They misrepresent Obama and his policies and they lie about their own history. They are liars. And as a result, they cannot be trusted to be honest running our country. They are the very thing we’ve come to hate in politics, a large part of why this country is hated in so many places we were loved just 8 years ago. So while I hear ya that politicians lie, I think of it as “say anything to get elected,” not “tell deliberate fiction.”

  4. Did you actually send this to Barack Obama? I think you should.
    You make a good point in your assessment of “what would happen if…”

  5. No harm in liking someone.

    Thinking that Obama doesn’t lie, now that’s being blinded by his halo. Hence my boomerang comment.

  6. Obama is man of his word about terrorists(hint, hint: Bill O’Reilly)

    Remember some time back during the Democrat primaries when Sen. Barrack Obama stated that he would use diplomacy and talk with terrorists without pre-conditions? Remember the flack he took for that?

    Well, it seems Mr. Obama is a man of his word. No, he has not had any reported secret chats with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or North Korean Leader Kim Jung II. However, he did appear on Fox network’s The Factor with Bill O’Reilly.

    I can hear you rondering, ” What’s that got to do with Obama’s word?” Well, contrary to popular American propaganda, all terrorists are not from the Middle East, they don’t practice Islam, they don’t all have dark skin, and they don’t all hate America. Actually, some terrorists claim to love America. Some terrorists are American. Oh, they won’t say they are, but their sexist, racist, bigoted, conservative, judgemental, divisive ideologies are characteristics of terrorism.

    You’re probably thinking Timothy McVeigh, the troubled young man who was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. Can somebody say, Bill O’Reilly and his elitist spiel fits the criteria?

    There is no bigger, bigoted, oft-leaning, divisive character with all the inalienable rights of every American citizen, save for maybe Sean Hannity, than Bill O’Reilly. Bill is not the upfront kind of terrorist. He won’t come out and say it like Osama bin Laden. He projects his evil in a subtle manner. Cloaked in patriotism, he brands individuals or groups who oppose his elitist, out of touch views as un-American and traitors. He hides behind the 9-11 tradegy.
    So, without question, by his mere dignified appearance on the O’Reilly Show, Obama has proved that he is a man of his word when it comes to talking with terrorists.


  7. Palin, January 30, 1997 sent signed letters to Emmon and Stambaugh that stated: “I don’t feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the city of Wasillia. Therefore I intend to terminate your employment.” Those conversations were of a rhetorical & realistic nature. Why Sarah Palin hasn’t returned any of the $454.4 million in the original earmark to the Federal government, which was given to build two bridges in 1995? Is Sarah Palin still supporting funding for the second bridge, Don Young’s Way? Why did Sarah Palin use $25 million on a road to nowhere but an empty beach when the building of the bridge was cancelled? Why would Sarah Palin support denying health benefits to same sex couples? If Alaska want a bridge they can build one themselves, why Sarah Palin cut Alaska construction budget by 1.6 billion dollars to have federal funding of construction programs in Alaska. ” This is truth to her lies”.

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