Vail Daily column: Who’s lying now?
February 21, 2016
It will come as no surprise that all politicians lie. However, according to PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning media project operated by the Tampa Bay Times that fact checks the statements of politicians, pundits and interest groups, some politicians lie a lot more than others. The New York Times on Dec. 11 presented a compelling chart based on PolitiFact research comparing the accuracy of claims by most of the current crop of presidential candidates. Jeb Bush was rated as reliable. If you are a Donald Trump supporter then you should be embarrassed; that is, if the truth matters to you.
As the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan sagely observed: "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts." You may love Trump's personality, just do not attempt to defend his veracity. Along with Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump gets it wrong most of the time. This election cycle seems especially notable for the number of candidates telling blatant lies and refusing to retract them when exposed. Carly Fiorina never saw a video of a fully formed fetus kept alive on a table to be dismembered and sold off piecemeal as no such video exists. Trump never saw thousands of Muslims in America cheering after 9/11 because no such incident took place. And Cruz can provide no empirical evidence that the Affordable Healthcare Act put millions of Americans out of work. In fact, since 2010 when President Obama signed the Affordable Healthcare Act into law, the unemployment rate in America has been cut in half.
Which brings me to "Yuck." Don Rogers' summative argument against a Hillary Clinton candidacy for president (My View, Jan 29). Shortly after Rogers' damning dismissal of a Clinton candidacy, The New York Times editorial board endorsed Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Their assessment lacked Rogers' brevity. They cited Clinton's experience as first lady, election as senator from New York and selection by President Obama to be his first secretary of state. They recalled her lifetime of advocacy on behalf of women and children. They also acknowledged some of her warts such the use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
Notably the most honest candidate running for president is from Vermont, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist. Many Americans only hear the latter half of that description, socialist, and imagine repressive Soviet-era states and fear a Sanders presidency would consign the United States to a similarly bleak future. However, Sanders' inspiration for governance is found not in Eastern Europe, but in the Scandinavian nations that are among the cleanest, safest and possessing the highest standards of living in the world. Sanders' so-called crazy ideas include a single-payer healthcare system and a free college education. If you are looking for a truth-teller, then no candidate exceeds Sanders for truthfulness; the two that come closest are Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Like it or not, that is the truth. (Bush announced Saturday that he is suspending his campaign.)
Recently a Facebook post caught my attention that purported to remind readers of the misdeeds of Hillary Clinton during her husband's presidency. It was typical fact-free, right-wing conspiracy doggerel. It was attempting to recast the Clinton years as rife with corruption. An examination of the evidence does not support the contention that the Clinton White House was more corrupt or scandalous than prior or subsequent administrations, with the exception of one — the Reagan White House.
One member of the Executive Branch was convicted during the Obama presidency — Gen. David Petraeus. During the Bush years Lewis Libby was convicted of wrongdoing, and during the Clinton years only two, Wade Sanders and Darleen A. Druyun. However, during the Reagan Administration 138 members of the executive branch were investigated, indicted or convicted, the most of any president in U.S. history, before or since.
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I do not know what is worse: Rogers' one word dismissal of Clinton's candidacy, as though an interjection more suitable to a toddler's assessment of broccoli were worthy commentary on an individual who has devoted her life to public service, a women Gallup polling indicates is the most admired woman in America and has been for the past seven years; or Rogers' spurious claim that a vote for Sen. Sanders is more insane than a vote for reality television host Trump. Sanders has presented policy ideas and the plans to execute them. Trump has told America to trust him; he has a plan to make America great again. He has not told the truth so far; why would he start now?
Claire Noble is the author of "State-Sponsored Sex and Other Tales of International Misadventure." She can be found online at clairenoble.org or follow her on Twitter @byClaireNoble.
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