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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

July 20 (Bloomberg) — You know the U.S. presidential campaign has entered its silly season when both sides have settled into the longstanding summer tradition of accusing the other of lying.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that each side is serious — each isn’t just saying the other is lying; each earnestly believes that the other is lying. In a regulated world, the obvious question is this: Why let them get away with it?

It’s important to understand how serious an affront to discourse lying is. When we claim that a candidate has lied, we are not saying that he misspoke, or is poorly informed, or misunderstands. We are saying that he is intentionally trying to deceive the voters.

Intentional deceit is often a civil offense, sometimes even a crime. You can go to prison if you deceive potential investors about your company’s financial position. You might say that elections are different because, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed, in political campaigns we see the “fullest and most urgent application” of the First Amendment. On the other hand, the justices have also warned us that lying “is at odds with the premises of democratic government.”

Just last year, in Nevada Commission on Ethics v. Carrigan, the court ruled that there is no violation of the First Amendment when a state prohibits an elected official from voting on issues on which he has a conflict of interest. A legislator’s vote isn’t speech, the justices explained, and is cast only as a trustee for the public: “The legislative power thus committed is not personal to the legislator but belongs to the people; the legislator has no personal right to it.”

  • bcarreiro

    Congress wont pass anything cause they want Mitt to be in. This is where our country’s downfall really is. Question: How many actual people are in congress?: This is how many who put a halt into rebuilding America. lack of regard for humantiy, only for the dollar bill that in turn Romney and Republicans abroad are taking in from overseas. If Mitt had his way he would take away the little people rights starting with our voting rights, freedom of speech and the right to the pursuit of happiness. i believe Mitt is not clarifying his days because he lacks the brilliance of leadership, altogether. Congress is doing all they can to block voting, disclosures and transparency so that the people dont see their CORRUPTION. Is congress looking for a few good men. well where are democrats who should stand together and form the alliance against this instead of throwing in the towel. we look like a joke to other countries.

    • maynard4122

      You are somewhat correct, but the Senate is likewise hung up by Harry Reid. He can stop a vote on an issue if he does not think he can pass it on the Dem side. All issues should be voted on “up or down” not hung up by anyone on either side of the aisle. Right?

  • There is no reason to believe the GOP will suddenly see the light and abandon their deregulation crusade to end overt lying during presidential campaigns. Hyperbole and distortions of the truth have been an integral part of American politics since the earliest days of the Republic, it is up to us to discern the truth from the barrage of garbage we are fed throughout the campaign cycles. Let’s face it, if the ENRON, Bernie Madoff, AIG, JP Morgan and other investment bank debacles were not enough to dissuade those who believe our corporations and financial institutions are capable of policing themselves without external interferrence, does anyone really think Congress will pass legislation to prevent the champions of those institutions from lying to defend and/or advance their interests?

    • maynard4122

      I somewhat agree, but Dems are distorting the truth too. We do not have very many who are not looking out for their own interests. Hence……stalemate. No budget for 3 years is a no no also. I was raised Dem, but I vote with my heart and mind. Not partial to anyone, so became Independent to satisy my positions. Both side making many mistatkes.

  • I like the thought of campaigns actually belonging to the people that vote.

    If that becomes legal doctrine, *Citizens United* may be “justified”, but every Super PAC (hell, every PAC) will thereafter have the same funding limit as any other citizen.

    The ability to prosecute political liars on any and all fronts is just gravy.

    • maynard4122

      Amen brother. It would be refresing. Let the voters (citizens) rule.

  • Gerrymac34

    One way to ameliorate the problem or, probably, to make the lies more subtle, would be to require TV stations and other media outlets to treat political advertisements as equivalent to editorial comment. Anything known to be false would be refused while anything subsequently shown to be false would be withdrawn and replaced by a correction without recompense to the advertiser.

    • maynard4122

      I like what you are saying here. It would slow this kind of thing down, if we made outside parties (pacts) accountable for truth in ads. We have “truth in lending laws”, now we need truth in politics Wouldn’t that be interesting?

  • maynard4122

    1. Obamacare has some positive aspects, but overall it will favor some and hurt others. The penalty was a tax afterall. I sell health insurance, but my commissions will go by the way side some day. It will be determined that no one needs an insurance agent, although we are trained for dozens of houirs per year!
    2.I agree we need to see more tax returns on Romney, although it does not bother me that he is rich. He is generous on his contributions
    3.I am definitely for both side being accountable for telling the trutha and nothing but the truth. This lying to American public needs to stop on both sides.

  • highpckts

    One thing I did not know until this morning is the local radio stations MUST set aside a certain amount of air time for political ads! It doesn’t matter who is displaced or who paid for an ad. The politicians MUST get their airtime!

  • “I don’t remember what I said on that particular occasion. But whatever I said, I stand by it now.” — Mitt Romney.

    In truth, how can Romney be expected to remember anything he’s said in the past? As a serial liar, Romney makes up his stand on issues to suit his audience of the day. Since he holds no firm views on much of anything, he can easily shift gears as needed. Fortunately for Romney, his core constitutency is unconcerned about the truth so he’ll be just fine.

  • grammyjill

    I thought we passed truth in advertising laws. Well, aren’t they afterall trying to sell themselves? That’s advertising isn’t it?

  • Landsende

    Both republicans and democrats lie or twist the facts to suit their own agendas. Every since Karl Rove wrote the book on dirty tricks and lies political campaigns have become nastier and nastier. There should be fines and consequences for the kind of comments made by Michele Bachmann and Roehmert if they can’t back up there allegations and slander someone.

  • onedonewong

    The media is under no requirement to publish lies in any election time for them to do their civic duty