We're down to the wire, counting down the days to the general election now, and boy isn’t it nice that we're finally focusing on what is important?
I mean, clearly an off-handed remark about collecting resumes of highly qualified women in binders a decade ago is what we should be talking about right now. The Obama campaign has done a superb job of distracting from his poor job over the last few years by playing stupid distraction games like this, along with a normal political hack level of gleaning over his record and focusing on Romney's glaring faults. Both pile lie upon lie in their ad campaigns, stump speeches and debate blather, but no backlash follows.
Why don’t we see Obama's numbers plummet when he repeats the line about using money saved from ending the wars in Afghanistan to spend on projects here in the United States, after every fact checking organization has shown it to be complete garbage? Its not saving money to merely quit borrowing quite as much to pay for something.
And why dont Romney's numbers bottom out after he repeats his fairy tales about cutting taxes by 20 percent, all in a revenue neutral way, when the claim has been shown to be all hot air? There just aren’t enough tax loopholes to cut to lower taxes that much.
Both sides call the other liars, and they're both right. But apparently the American people have such low standards for people they're willing to put into the Oval Office that they'll stoop to voting for proven serial liars. I used to be one of them... I was fooled by Obama's rhetoric in 2008 myself.
What will it take for people to stop rewarding candidates for lying to us? It certainly is encouraging to see fact checking articles becoming more prevalent across the journalistic spectrum, but it doesnt seem to be making any difference in the polls, or the truth bending talking points from the campaigns.
The best excuse that people in both camps have is that they're not the other guy. The Obama camp is right, according to fact checkers who tally this stuff up, that Romney and company do seem to care even less about being honest than Obama and the Democrats do, but is being a proven liar and flip flopper somehow made okay when your opponent is an even worse liar and flip flopper? All this while the Romney camp is making promises almost nobody thinks it can keep, much like so many promises Obama made in 2008 that he hasn't kept.
Sure, journalistic organizations can do a more aggressive job of injecting fact checking context into their reporting, rather than merely regurgitating events and quoting what people say. If they want to be the gatekeepers for the American people, this is a job we need them to do much more.
But most of all it's up to the American people to punish those who lie to us. Until people start caring enough about lying politicians to punish them by refusing to vote and support them, we'll just keep getting more of the same, and fact-checking will continue to mainly be just another box of ammunition for campaigns to use against each other, and ignore when their side is the one caught red handed.