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Let the punishment fit the lie

© Tom Toles

Bill Clinton was impeached not for having sex with an intern, but for lying about it. Likewise, people say they are upset at Anthony Weiner not because he tweeted a photo of himself in his underwear, but because he denied it. And yet — except about their private lives — people practically expect politicians to lie. How many times did politicians repeat the health insurance reform lie about “death panels” even after it was exposed as false? Were any of them forced to resign over it? Hah!

Here is PolitiFact’s list of all “Pants of Fire” lies, and pretty much every politician (especially Republican, but also Democrats) has been caught lying through their teeth at one point. So what is the big preoccupation we have with sex?



  1. David Freeman wrote:

    Actually, Bill Clinton was not impeached for lying. He was impeached for being a Democrat.

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 7:01 am | Permalink
  2. Jeff wrote:

    I think the sex scandals are harped on because they sell the best. They’re easy for the media to understand and run with, they make for entertaining television, and its cheap to cover. It’s also an easy thing to nail an opponent for (no pun intended). These kinds of things are played against public perceptions of our lawmakers as being super-human, belonging to an elite group of people who have never done a dishonest thing in their lives. It’s the Cherry-tree mentality, and it makes these scandals a lot more potent than if it was just your average citizen.

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink
  3. No u wrote:

    They all lie, every single one of them. It would be impossible to run a country with someone who 100% tells the truth because no on does it.

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Well, from my perspective their are the political musings that are either boldface lies or extreme stretches of the truth or wordsmith to reflect an agenda. Weiner was particularly good at dodging questions. Although I’ve never taken a political science course (no desire, seems like a waste of time and money) I’m guessing that political up n comers are taught how to avoid a direct answer and how to reword it to appear to be correct. I say this since universally they all seem to do it.
    Now to the transgressions concerning Clinton and Weiner. I remember the speech where he stared steely eyed into the camera and firmly said “I did NOT have sex with that women” end of quote. It’s sort of like the “read my lips” quote from Bush 1 (for which the Reps and Bush paid dearly in the 92 election). I think what gets people most is the directness of the denial in Weiner/Clinton and their refusal to man up until backed into a corner.
    For me personally, it’s a matter of honor, integrity and personal courage. No one can take your honor or integrity; you must give it away and IMO both those individuals did just that. If a Soldier or other person with a security clearance did that (lied to a superior, the public in this case), they would be in jeopardy of losing that clearance and as a result their job.
    I do not see how anyone who has deliberately lied to peace officers, courts, or employers can or should hold a security clearance or have access to sensitive or classified information because they technically cannot be trusted. (this would include infidelity, which is punishable in the military, for which Clinton was Commander in Chief) This presents a dilemma concerning at least 1/3 of congress, many candidates, and a whole host of state and local politicians. What would have happened if Clinton or Gingrich was denied access to classified information, would he have said “Uh Al, you got to handle this one it’s above my level? Who fires the President and Speaker? There are not 2 standards and should not be, but we never seem to hold our elected officials to any standard as long as their motives support our agenda. However, we do vigorously hold people like PFC Manning to the true standard. So how hypocritical is that?

    Sorry about the rant, it’ just a subject near to me that I constantly preach to my Soldier’s, children and self.

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink
  5. David Freeman wrote:

    I don’t disagree with you, Patriotsgt except on one point which is there’s no need to apologize for a well said rant.

    Although I don’t think Clinton was impeached for lying, I’m one of a few lefties who think he should have been impeached for lying. My standards for political service are probably similar to yours. I just don’t want those standards to be applied to Democrats differently from Republicans.

    If Weiner should resign, then Ensign, Sanford, Vitter and a host of others should have too. Hypocrisy exists on both sides of the aisle but the Republicans take it to a higher level in my opinion.

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    What David said — that was a well said rant, and there is no reason to apologize for it, PSGT.

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    I don’t have the link, but studies show that the busier you are and the more you are under pressure, the more interested you are in sex. These studies were brought out during Clinton’s transgressions.

    I love your rants about lying. Lying to me comes before stealing. Four of my grandchildren come once a week. 9 down to 2. They just don’t lie. It makes life so much easier.

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink
  8. Patricia wrote:

    I think that the fundamental problem with public figures who lie “for effect” is that they are probably very good at lieing to themselves as well, and therein lies (ha! ha!) the real danger!

    Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink