“The whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God”. Why have politicians abandoned the premise?
The whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This mantra has always been the hallmark of the American justice system as well as the filter through which the American people judge their friends, families, and especially strangers. By accepting this premise, the person speaking understands that it is their job to make sure their statement is clear and honest without purposely leaving anything out that might contradict their statement or mislead. The speaker is expected to tell the whole story so the listener can make an informed decision. Pretty basic stuff.
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman” was accurate only because Webster’s definition of “sexual relations” specifically deals with intercourse. However the statement was not “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” and the person confidently looking into the eyes of a nation when the comment was made absolutely knew that the word statement was misleading. His flaw had nothing to do with policy, national security or governance. He broke his promise with his wife.
This person was punished by his supporters and opponents. Articles for impeachment were drawn up and he went to trial in the Senate; not for his personal act of discretion with another adult, but for not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. America does not tolerate playing with the truth.
The reason we have laws and regulations related to advertising and labeling is because it is criminal and unethical to purposely mislead people just to sell a product to them; especially if knowledge of the whole truth and nothing but the truth may impact their willingness to purchase your product. Selling something dishonestly is one of the worst personal ethical violations possible. It is toxic to be purposely inaccurate and evasive. Once this kind of person has been “outed” as someone willing to say anything, to anyone just to sell themselves or their product … game over. That person will have forfeited their most valuable asset … trust.
A former candidate campaigned on the promise of “No new taxes”. This person was not lying or being dishonest because he believed he would have a majority House and Senate and could push an agenda that included spending, continued tax relief and security without increasing taxes. He made this statement to every person he spoke to from his donors, to his fellow party members, to members of the other party and to the public at large. He believed what he was saying was the whole truth and nothing but the truth. As history tells us, he was unable to keep this promise as well. Not because he did not try to keep it, but because in his case, the reality of politics would not allow him to do it.
Now some may have believed he lied, many others believed he should have never made the promise in the first place since he did coin the phrase VODOO ECONOMICS to define one of his opponents. Others believe he was principled in his desire to not raise taxes but Congress did not agree. He could have vetoed the tax increase but he did not because even though he would pay a price for breaking his promise, he did what he believed was right for the country. This president was punished as well and lost his job in the next election.
I do not believe this President person breached the premise of the whole truth and nothing but the truth because he consistently sold his “no new taxes pledge” plan to get elected and never told anyone that he had a alternate motive to change his mind once elected. He never appeared to be saying one thing to one group and another to a different group. He did not appear to change his mind during his sales pitch nor add verbiage just to look like someone he was not. He simply was unable to fulfill a promise he fully intended to stick to. He spent 18 month fighting for his plan for plan but lost in order to get a deal done. This is the legislative process and you do not always get what you promised but you work your ass off trying to stand by your principled promise.
This is not an excuse for breaking a promise, I am just pointing out what will become evident in 5 minutes.
Today, it appears one of the candidates is not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth and is becoming clear as daylight.
4 years ago, the current President ran on promises to close Guantanamo, pass a stimulus package, pass comprehensive Healthcare reform, and get Bin Laden even in Pakistan. He made the same promise to every group he spoke to and never changed his core premise. He took a lot of heat from some, lost votes from others and earned supporters as well. He never changed his language to win one group or reversed his position to win another group during the entire campaign.
In the end, he offered language to close Guantanamo and expended political capital to attempt to try the terrorists housed in Cuba in the US and make them serve their time on US soil (much like the blind Sheik is already doing). He was unsuccessful but he did tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth during his campaign about this promise. He lost in the end and broke his promise but he never wavered on his principled position.
In the cases of the Stimulus, Wall Street Reform, Cutting taxes for small business, Healthcare reform, the Wars in Iraq/Afghanistan, repealing DADT, and focusing on Bin Laden, he took a lot of heat from his opponents and his supporters alike for the promises, yet he told the whole truth and nothing but the truth to all groups. He never wavered during his campaign. Once elected, he worked with a majority in the House and Senate who had their own ideas for fulfilling his promises. In the end; he was successful fulfilling those promises and the bills he promised passed.
Governor Romney may not be telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth during this campaign cycle and it pains me to say it. There is evidence that supports my assertion and the evidence is mounting. He appears to be a terrific salesman if terrific selling means telling someone something with absolute confidence – that you know to be inaccurate – yet can get the person to believe and accept as fact. A great salesman is NOT the person that can sell ice to an Eskimo. Eskimo’s already have ice. That type of salesperson is a huckster and a sham. If great salespeople are defined as those capable of closing different groups with different facts even if they contradict themselves, then we may be looking at the greatest sales person of all time in this campaign. As an American, I am really uncomfortable with a person that knows they are not giving me the straight story yet while still smiling confidently, professes a set of inaccurate facts while staring me right in the face.
I could go on and on here but I think you get my point. It is one thing to offer a promise and then try like hell to make it come true. You will always be given credit for being consistent and passionate about your core belief and even in failure, everyone will knows you fought the good fight.
It is entirely another thing to say one thing to one group of people and contradict yourself in front of a other group – just to sell yourself or your product. It is base and it is unethical if this practice is purposeful. Snake oil salesmen did this year ago and they had to move from town-to-town because their reputations were so damaged by their false promises.
These terrible people were selling crap they knew did not do what the label said it would do. They did not simply skirt the ethical boundaries by accident, they did it on purpose. And they did it until they were caught. Their prize, gain a sale and make a buck. Just think what they would have done for a prize as large as President of the free-world!
I have identified just a few situations where the Governor is either lying or misleading. The fact is he is not doing it once or twice; he is doing it as a selling strategy. He is changing his story for one audience and adjusting his facts for another. mind you, these are not not slight or insignificant changes. Many of these changes are complete contradictions that f known by certain audiences might cause them to change their support of him. He literally tells one audience he is in favor of something and tells another audience he opposes that same thing – just to win their vote. This is so obvious yet it has become accepted as norms, politics.
I am not a Pollyanna nor do I believe Romney is the first politician to talk out of both sides of his mouth. I am just shocked at the frequency of the untruths … lies and the fact that so many voters are being fooled intentionally and on purpose by these well timed expeditions in fiction. He is trying to be the President of one-slice after another slice of Americans and literally does not care what he says to get their vote. After all, he only needs 50.01% of the vote so his strategy is a chameleon fantasy: “Be whatever he needs to be at all times to the right audience” .
These are more than flip-flops. Theses are intentional misleading statements that are part of a definitive sales and campaign strategy.
He is trying to win the highest office in the land by not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Americans hate people that are not completely honest with their friends and supporters and they really do not like people that lie to their opponents and to strangers.
America is not going to stand up for someone that would fail the simple test that we all take when we put out hands on the bible and promise “to tell the whole truth”; when we look into the eyes of our spouses and make that promise . …til’ death do us part”. America understands that when a person says. “… cross my heart hope to die” the next words that come out of that person’s mouths had better be the whole truth. Americans will judge a person especially harshly when they look into the eyes of the American people and say ; “This is Mitt Romney and I approve this message because it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”!
Especially if it turns out to be intentionally untrue.