This is why so many politicians feel no qualms about lying about both themselves and their opponents. In their eyes lying is morally justified if it results in electoral success.
President Obama has amassed a rather impressive record in this regard, churning out half-truths and untruths on an almost daily basis.
Karl Rove summarizes some recent examples of Mr. Obama's faltering commitment to honesty in a piece at the Wall Street Journal:
To get a sense of how comprehensive the president's assault on the truth has been, consider some of his false claims in recent speeches and ads.Rove goes on to accuse the president of having trouble being forthright about his own record as well:
One Obama spot says, "To pay for huge, new tax breaks for millionaires like him, Romney would have to raise taxes on the middle class: $2,000 for a family with children."
That claim has been thoroughly discredited, including by PolitiFact Virginia and editorials in this newspaper. Mr. Romney, unlike the president, is committed to cutting taxes for everyone, including the middle class.
Another ad says, "As a corporate raider, [Mr. Romney] shipped jobs to China and Mexico." In response, the Washington Post editorialized, "On just about every level, this ad is misleading, unfair and untrue."
As recently as Sept. 17, Mr. Obama claimed in Ohio that Mr. Romney's "experience has been owning companies that were called 'pioneers' in the business of outsourcing jobs to countries like China." But that claim, too, is a fabrication.
There is more. An Obama ad aimed at northern Virginia women intones, "Mitt Romney opposes requiring coverage for contraception." In fact, Mr. Romney opposes the president's unprecedented assault on religious liberties—in this case, the federal government forcing religious institutions (like church-sponsored hospitals, schools and charities) to provide insurance coverage for contraception in violation of their fundamental moral values and, incidentally, the First Amendment.
Mr. Obama said at a Univision Town Hall on Sept. 20 that his biggest failure "is we haven't gotten comprehensive immigration reform done." The president then did what is second nature to him: He pinned the blame on Republicans. The problem with this excuse is that the Democrats controlled Congress by huge margins in the first two years of his presidency — and Mr. Obama never introduced an immigration bill or even provided the framework for one.Unfortunately, many voters only pay lip service to their alleged disdain for dishonesty among politicians. When given the chance to show the door to someone who has blatantly tried to deceive the electorate both about his opponent and about himself, they'll vote for him anyway as long as he's more charming than the other guy. They did it with President Clinton and, sadly, many of them will do it again with Mr. Obama.
In the same interview, Mr. Obama claimed that his Justice Department's botched "Fast and Furious" gunrunning program was "begun under the previous administration." This time it was ABC's Jake Tapper correcting the record, pointing out, "it was started in October 2009, nine months into the Obama presidency."
The most troubling recent example of Mr. Obama's serial dishonesty is his administration's effort to deny that the attack on our consulate in Benghazi was a premeditated terrorist assault, as if the truth would somehow tarnish Mr. Obama's foreign-policy credentials.
It makes one wonder who is more dishonest, the politicians or the people who vote for them even as they profess their contempt for the lack of integrity among the political class. Maybe voters only despise dishonesty when it's the other party's guy who's engaging in it.