Is “Liar” the New “Racist”?

During the Bush era, it used to drive me nuts when I’d hear an obnoxious Democratic politician or pundit on television emphatically insisting that George W. Bush had “lied” about Weapons of Mass Destruction to take us to war in Iraq. It didn’t seem to matter how many fellow Democrats in congress had drawn the same conclusion as Bush did from the national intelligence reports. It didn’t seem to matter how many other countries’ intelligence agencies drew the same conclusion as ours did. It didn’t seem to matter that the Clinton administration had made the same claim. The notion that Bush “lied” was mainstreamed through the media and became conventional wisdom among many on the left. For whatever reason, it wasn’t good enough for them to accept that the administration was wrong. Their battle-cry was that Bush lied, despite no proof to substantiate that conclusion.

Whether it was a calculated political tactic or an emotionally-driven narrative fueled by hate, the Republican brand was certainly damaged by those who alleged that Bush was an inherently heartless liar who threw away American lives for U.S. oil interests.

Conservatives certainly didn’t forgive and forget the over-the-top rhetoric.

Right-leaning pundits have recently been employing a similar tactic against President Obama, insisting that he “lied” when he projected that our national unemployment rate would be around 5.5% right now as a result of his economic stimulus program. As we know, the U.S. unemployment rate has yet to fall below 8% since Obama took office, and 8% was the number he told us we’d never rise above in the first place. A failure? Yes. But I wince when I hear fellow conservatives play the liar card. They might believe they’re warranted in doing so, based on the amount of flack that Bush took, but they’re wrong.

A “lie” is a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive. It’s important for society that people understand and accept that.

I’m as harsh of a critic as anyone when it comes to the Obama administration’s ridiculous economic policies, but I don’t doubt for a second that President Obama’s economic forecast in 2009 was the result of him and his administration being dangerously naive… Not inherently dishonest. Why should I dispute that he believed his bold act of throwing a trillion dollars into the economy, regardless of how irresponsible and reckless the delegation of funds were, would magically fix everything? It’s the kind of belief that most fiscal-liberals share, because they have no understanding of macroeconomics and how the free market works. No politician in their right mind would knowingly concoct such a politically damaging, false prediction when the actuality would surface before their re-election campaign.

Now, I’m not suggesting at all that politicians don’t lie. Of course they do. They do it all the time. For many of them, it’s like second nature. And when they’re caught spreading a lie, they should absolutely be taken to the woodshed, publicly shamed, and held accountable. However, they don’t typically suffer any significant backlash for knowingly spreading untruths. It’s the reason why Nancy Pelosi can publicly insist that she was unaware of terrorists being water-boarded by our government. It’s the reason why the Obama re-election campaign can continue putting out ads accusing Mitt Romney of things he never did.

Barefaced lies are often met with public indifference, and I think part of the reason why is that accusing someone of lying has become nearly as mundane as accusing someone of being a racist.

Labeling someone as a “racist” used to be a serious charge reserved only for those who have displayed unequivocally racist behavior. Yet, the accusation has largely become a simple tool to silence opposing viewpoints, and is thrown around so routinely and recklessly in our public discourse that many people don’t take the claims seriously anymore. It’s a real shame because racism absolutely exists, but legitimate claims have been marginalized because “wolf” has been cried far too many times.

Calling someone a liar is nearly as damaging of a charge, because like racism it goes right to an individual’s character. Personal character is important in our country – perhaps now more than ever in a political environment where true integrity is rarely witnessed.

For whatever reason, people don’t yet seem quite as comfortable calling someone a liar as they do a racist (which is odd considering that being a racist has more serious connotations), but as a deficit of shame in our society persists, I’m sure that will change.

I want accusations of racism and dishonesty to actually mean something again. That will only happen when we demand legitimacy behind such claims. Unfortunately, we’re not engaged enough as a society to make that happen.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • http://www.facebook.com/john.phillips0 John Phillips

    John,
    There seem to be levels of lies, It is not really a lie if you have done a resalable job of substantiating the facts and you put your best information forward as the truth.
    On the other hand if you tell the Harry Reid lie, pass on information as the truth or originate information that you know to be wrong, there should be serious consequences before the election.

     The problem with creating a  mechanized way of fast punishment seems  to come from who would control the system.  A Harry Reid kind of guy would use the system to say the other guy lied and punish him for it even if it was unfounded. Do we have the Supreme court tag untrue adds and award 10 times as much air time to the victim as the ad ran to be paid for by the perpetrator? Not allow attack ads to run the last 10 days so there is time to correct any untruths.

    As long as the penalty is less than the benefit Harry Reid types will still lie. Morel candidates will not. To bad we have so may Harry Reid types running thing       

  • kayakbob

    John – my sense is the “liar” charge over justification of the $875 billion dollar “stimulus” is a form of sarcasm.  Here is a conversation I have had on numerous occasions with liberals:

    By your logic, “Bush lied” because they didn’t find the WMD’s – the basis of the Iraq invasion. So using your own logic, Obama must have lied because the official unemployment rate – the basis for the stimulus – is considerably higher than where Obama said it would be [if we just pass out all this money].  No? So you admit that your own [dare I say one-dimensional?] logic suddenly doesn’t work for you?  Interesting. 

    The response to the use of their own so-called “logic” is usually an animated change of subject.  

    • James King

      This is called Objectivism, and for that I salute you, especially if you maintain it throughout your own perspective regardless of what may occur emotionally.

  • Count_E_Limerick

    Daly attacks name-calling, and those that spew it,
    But sadly for him, I’m able to intuit,
    Despite sincere exterior,
    He considers inferior,
    All members of the Uighurs and Inuit!

    Just kidding! Good read!

    (Note: The Bush Liar Narrative was that since he told Colin Powell to use inconclusive evidence in his UN presentation as conclusive, he was “lying” through a duped surrogate. To me, it was no different than what honest salespeople do by virtually every sales presentation: Put the best information forward in the best way they can, though some of it is often sketchy.
    (Realistically, Obama knew that unemployment was going above 8% at the time he pushed his stimulus. I don’t study trends for a living, but I could tell that we were going to go way beyond 8% just from graph trajectories, so I assume his advisors & economists knew too. He simply didn’t want to cause a deepening of the recession by predicting a deepening of the recession.
    (The liar charge also only sticks to conservatives: “You believe in absolutes, so you can lie. We believe all is relative, so in a sense it’s true.” Hence, Obama can have composite conversations with composite girlfriends, he can claim not to have paid attention in church for 20 years, say he’s post-racial, claim he tried everything possible to fix the economy, say he never met Bill Ayers except as a parent of kids in his children’s school, etc. It’s all true, in a sense…)

  • James King

    John, I think your article is thoughtful and accurate. But your last line is even more so. Americans have shown in a variety of ways that not only are they not engaged on the issue of racism, but they have also been disengaged in what their elected leaders are doing. And they are doing them in American’s own name. This is the reason many of them openly lie because they know they will not be taken to the woodshed.

    Good article! I liked it very much.

    • SendTheClunkerBackToChicago

      The HEADLINE on Drudge today was all about a lying Usurper in Chief.  POLITICO also covered the second Sheriff Joe Arpaio Press Conference.  The Blaze of all places covered the scandal of the century,  Glenn Beck slandered Sheriff Joe Arpaio after his first Press Conference on March 1st, 2012.  PRAVADA and The Canada Free Press has been all over this scandal.  Lord Charles Monckton has written a 20 page report to his fellow BRITS alerting them to the ramifications of this scandal.  

      This investigative team that the Sheriff put together has been amazing.  They have pretty good evidence that Obama fraudulently registered with the Selective Service.  I believe they will eventually prove that Obama has been using a fraudulent SS#, the damn thing was flagged several times by E-Verify as a warning not to hire the guy.  The SS Admin eliminated the possibility of reporting the number anymore.  The SS Admin also stated that they never issued the SS# in question to Barack Hussein Obama.  How is that possible since the number appears on his Income Tax Returns and on the Real Estate papers in his land deal with Tony and Rita Rezko.  

      I think these are the LIES that we should all be concerned about.  This President has become our top National Security risk.  Congress needs to quickly investigate this crap before he is nominated in Charlotte. 

  • cmacrider

    John:  I also noticed this propensity for right wing pundits to say that Obama “lied” when he predicted the stimulus would dramatically reduce unemployment.  Obama simply doesn’t know enough about either micro or macro economics to have lied.  There is absolutely no evidence to indicate that Obama understands either the theoretical assumptions or the weaknesses of Keynesian economics being applied in a global economy.  In short the man is neither knowledgeable enough on any dimension of economics to have “lied” as you have, quite correctly defined that word.  In legalese he doesn’t have the competence to formulate the requisite mens rea.

    • SendTheClunkerBackToChicago

      Obama seems to have cornered the market on LYING in that he has been flaunting fraudulent documents around as if he would never get caught.   It took four years to bust this guy but he has been caught and the news is beginning to catch up with what has been going on for a very long time.  So far the Drudge Report, POLITICO, Worldnetdaily, The American Thinker have all reported on the LYING and deceptions and the fraudulent activity.  Shame on Fox and Enemies for not reporting on this scadal.  There will be more to follow.  

      Frank Gaffney and Diana West are on board.  Lord Charles Monckton has filed a 20 page report with the BRITS.

  • GlenFS

    “Racist” may be losing some of its punch, but “liar” will never go out of style.  In Texas we have two Republican senatorial candidates duking it out, and it’s even nastier than the presidential campaign attacks.  Well, nobody is a “felon” just yet, but they’re not done yet either.  Liar is a staple attack, as potatoes are for dinner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.calkins.5 Don Calkins

    I agree, but your argument is actually that “racist” is the new “liar”, not the other way around.  
    You say, “President Obama’s economic forecast in 2009 was the result of dangerous nativity”.  I suggest you look up the definition of “nativity”. 
    I see your column as one more example of what I see as the real problem affecting the world – the collapse of society and culture, a situation affecting the entire world.
    I see the world descending into a new dark age.  The details in any given area will depend to some extent on whether the “right” or the “left” dominate, but I don’t believe either is any more qualified than the other to avert a catastrophic future.

    • John Daly

      Actually, that was at type-o. Thanks for catching it for me. I was trying to call him naive… not a native. ;)

      I understand what you’re saying, but I actually think that the label “racist” has been diminished more than “liar”, has… although “liar” is catching up. At this point, for whatever reason, society is more cavalier about playing the race card than they are saying that someone is a liar. At least, that’s been my observation.

  • HoughmagandyCar