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La Opinión on the RNC: Lying as a Political Strategy

Posted: Sep 04, 2012

Exaggerations and half-truths have unfortunately always been part of politics, but lately the level of the debate in Washington has increasingly deteriorated. The situation intensified during the presidential campaign to the point that plain and simple lies today seem to have become an acceptable option.

A case in point was the recent Republican National Convention, where efforts to criticize the president's administration led to claims that contradict the truth.

For example, there is the statement that the White House could have implemented immigration reform and a few other laws during Obama's first two years in office, because he had a veto-proof Congress. Democrats never held a two-thirds majority in the Senate, and even had problems reaching the total of 60 senators-they achieved it for fewer than 50 days, divided into two periods-needed to avoid a filibuster by the opposition.

On this issue, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan seems to be the one most at odds with the truth, and not just because it was recently discovered that he lied about his achievements as a marathon runner. During his convention speech, Ryan repeated known falsehoods, such as Obama's intention to remove the work requirement from welfare.

Some political groups unaffiliated with the campaigns are taking advantage of their status to lie in their ads against their rival. What makes this different is that the ones repeating the lies are the candidates, as happened during the Convention in Tampa.

Hypocrisy was also the order of the day, like when Ryan criticized the president for not implementing the recommendations of the debt commission, which the congressman himself opposed.

It is not surprising that a member of the House majority such as Ryan is the one leading this strategy. However, he never mentioned that he belonged to the Congress that obstructed the president's proposals that today Ryan denounces as ineffective.

When this lack of truth was questioned, the response was that the GOP campaign won't allow its strategy to be dictated by fact-checkers, who verify the truth in what the candidates say. In other words, they won't allow the truth of the facts to distract them from what they want to communicate.

We are concerned that lies repeated conscientiously are, for all practical purposes, the same as the truth. That is terrible and dangerous in politics, just like in any other activity.

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