It's strange to be thinking this way because I really believe that most Americans see through the lies. So if the lies are transparent, why do you need to make them in the first place? On the other hand, I don't see more honest candidates doing very well. Ron Paul is probably the most honest candidate I've seen, and lots of Republicans can't stand him because of it. (Note that even Honest Ron doesn't mind using obscure election rules to grab higher numbers of delegates than his share of the vote.)
So if too much honesty is a liability, how much is 'just right?'
What the hell is going on here? That question about honesty is disgusting, and so antithetical to what ethical people.usually have to consider. Have I finally converted from believing in honesty to putting my lot in with realpolitik? God I hope not.
But maybe I have. I expect candidates to lie and pander most of the time. My pride is in being able to see the lies, read between the lies, and find out what they are hiding. I think I'm good at lie detection, and all those lies keep me busy and proud of my handiwork. I've thought politicians were hacks for not lying well and revealing what they actually thought.
Maybe I'm part of the problem. However, I can't pretend what isn't true, and the truth is that there are no honest politicians. I can't change that fact, so I have to deal with it. And if honesty isn't going to be the yardstick, what is?
Maybe these: Good judgment, the ability to get important things done, effectiveness, avoiding the big mistakes.
This is what I want most in elected officials. And looking at this list, I think it's the same list I've used for years. I've been making pragmatic choices, picking who's going to do the best out of the available options.
It's not that I've changed and gotten too jaded. It's just that I'm more aware of how politics works, and particularly the unavoidable underbelly of lies. Well, that's a relief. Or is it?
If lies aren't so bad, what place does honesty have in politics? Here are some of my initial ideas: Be honest with yourself. Don't settle for a convenient story just because it supports the party you prefer. Be honest in your discussions. When you're not a politician who has to get elected, you don't have the excuse to lie that they do, so stay away from the talking points and take a hard look at reality.
And everyone, especially politicians, should remember that lies get found out and the truth usually emerges eventually. If the truth is going to come out, why bother with the lie? Take your lumps early, admit the mistake, learn the lesson, and move on.
This would have saved a lot of the trouble with the lingering Benghazi issue. It's not too late to find a way to acknowledge that the Benghazi story wasn't the truth and to reveal all the truth that isn't a security problem. Are you listening, Hillary?
Yeah, sure, I believe that.