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

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