Not Telling the Truth About Not Lying

Another day means another bicker-thon between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. First, there was the Cat Fight Debate on Monday night. Then yesterday Clinton aired a nasty, barely not-false ad that questioned Obama’s Reagan’s comments ( again ). That ad mysteriously disappeared today, supposedly after running its full rotation (all of 24 hours). In response, Obama put up his own ad on South Carolina radio that says Clinton will “say anything and change nothing.” In a rare act of civility, Obama’s campaign took the ad down once they found out Clinton took hers down.  

But wait, there’s more! I just received an e-mail from Clinton’s press office slugged, “WHO’S DISTORTING THE FACTS?” that lists Obama’s “kneecapping and distortion” over the past few months. The fibs-in-question range from Obama’s innocent mistakes to more nuanced policy disagreements.  

That missive is ostensibly in response to Obama’s comments earlier today, when he all but called the Clintons liars at an event in South Carolina.

When you run an ad making assertions that everybody who looks at it says it is wrong, you know it is wrong and you still make it, it means you are not concerned about accuracy or the truth.

Let’s take a moment to note that despite all this Obama and Clinton refuse to call each other liars or even say that the other person is lying. It’s like they’re afraid to confirm the cardinal Washington stereotype—that politicians are all a bunch of damn, dirty liars. Remember, they’ve been casually tracking each other’s “errors” for months on their respective ” Fact Hub ” and ” Fact Check ” sites. But now we’re getting closer and closer to a slip of the l-word. In the mean time, they continue to restrain themselves from launching full accusations of deception, falsehoods, and fabrications.

There’s only way to settle this: Fox’s new show The Moment of Truth . It debuted last night, and it’s handcrafted for politicians. The premise : Contestants take a polygraph test offstage, answer 21 questions, and then answer the same questions on camera with their spouses and friends watching on. If they answer all 21 questions truthfully— whatever that means —they win money but piss off their spouses. If they lie, they lose the money and still piss off their spouses. This is made for the Clintons!  

Unlikely, sure. But it’s the only solution. It takes a lie detector test to get the candidates to speak honestly about lying. And that’s a sad truth.