Monday, April 2, 2012

Politifact: GOP Past Dishonesty Tipping Point

Non-partisan fact-check website has a new feature showing the fact-check records of the 2012 Presidential candidates. A comparison of the "True" and "Mostly True" statements of each candidate with their total of "Mostly False", "False" and "Pants on Fire" statements gives a rough estimate of their factual accuracy on the campaign trail.

President Obama does the best by this measure with 164 "True" and "Mostly True" statements compared to 101 "Mostly False", "False" and "Pants on Fire" rulings. All of the Rebublican candidates have more "Mostly False", "False" and "Pants on Fire" statements than "True" and "Mostly True" statements except Ron Paul (15-13). Mitt Romney (41-48), Rick Santorum (10-22) and Newt Gingrich (12-36) are all running fact-challenged campaigns.

Paul Krugman comments on this trend in today's New York Times column.

What’s going on here? The answer, presumably, is that this is what happens when extremists gain complete control of a party’s discourse: all the rules get thrown out the window.

UPDATE: Thankfully, this issue is getting some attention from the mainstream press as Dana Milbank devoted a column in The Washington Post this week to Mitt Romney's "truthiness."

No fewer than three Romney claims in that one speech merited PolitiFact’s “Pants on Fire” rating: that Obama led “a government takeover of health care,” has been “apologizing for America abroad” and is ending “Medicare as we know it.” Romney’s assertions that Obama “is the only president to ever cut $500 billion from Medicare” and that eliminating Obamacare saves “about $100 billion” were rated false. That Romney resorts to such gratuitous falsehoods discredits his leadership more than his opponent’s.

What Milbank doesn't say is that Romney is merely doing what is necessary to win the GOP nomination this year. With the exception of Ron Paul, the other GOP candidates are far worse on Politifact's "truth-o-meter." This is as big an indictment of the Republican Party as it is Romney.

--Ballard Burgher

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