Though I'm a proud progressive, I readily admit that Democrats, and liberals in general, shade the truth at times.
But Republicans, and conservatives in general -- they often engage in total eclipsing of the truth, blanking out virtually every semblance of factual reality.
The New York Times editorial board tells it like it is in "Crazy Talk at the Republican Debate."
Eleven presidential candidates had three prime-time hours on the national stage on Wednesday to tell the American people why they should lead the country.
Nobody forced them to be there. They were there freely, armed with the best arguments they and their policy advisers had come up with, to make their cases as seasoned politicians, business leaders and medical professionals — the Republican Party’s “A-Team,” as one of them, Mike Huckabee, said at the outset.
And that, America, is frightening. Peel back the boasting and insults, the lies and exaggerations common to any presidential campaign. What remains is a collection of assertions so untrue, so bizarre, that they form a vision as surreal as the Ronald Reagan jet looming behind the candidates’ lecterns.
These guys and gal seeking to be the Republican presidential nominee aren't stupid. They wouldn't have been standing on the stage if they were.
So it can't be lack of intelligence that leads them to tell lies. It must either be a lack of moral character or a reckless disregard for truth-telling -- assuming there is a distinction between these personal qualities.
Case in point: Carly Florina claiming that...
One of the Planned Parenthood videos shows "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.' "
The respected fact-checking organization PolitiFact gave this claim a Mostly False. That's generous. Actually, there isn't a speck of truth in what Fiorina said. Journalists who have watched every second of the Planned Parenthood videos have reported that what Fiorina says she saw, doesn't exist.
A Los Angeles Times post, "It's time for Carly Fiorina to apologize to Planned Parenthood," says:
Fiorina's history shows that one of her character flaws is an inability to admit when she's wrong and accept blame; in her telling, the responsibility for her abject failure as head of Hewlett-Packard belongs to everyone except herself. (For a dissection of her missteps at HP, written at the time, see this brilliant 2005 piece by Fortune's nonpareil Carol J. Loomis.)
The irony is that as the only woman in the Republican field, Fiorina has a golden opportunity to stand up for the reproductive and healthcare rights that her rivals are trampling over at every turn. Instead, she's setting a new standard for exploiting innuendo and lies to take those rights away. She now faces a test of character: Will she set the record straight?
Absolutely. This is indeed a test of character.
Why should anyone vote for a presidential candidate, or any other person running for elected office, who refuses to admit that they were wrong about something they said?
Truth-telling is vitally important for public officials. Sure, politics frequently involves "spin-doctoring." However, there is a big difference between putting a certain spin on facts, and ignoring facts altogether.
That's what Florina did in her Mostly False (or Totally False) attack on Planned Parenthood -- ignore facts altogether.
Even if Fiorina wrongly believed that what she said at the debate was true, now that her error has been pointed out to her, an apology is indeed in order. If Fiorina persists in holding onto her lie, this will tell us a lot about her character and fitness to be president.
Or, lack thereof.