We deserve a fair campaign
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 12:10
A word that was once reserved for schoolyard taunting has made it onto the national stage.
Welcome to the rhetoric of the 2012 presidential campaign, where one can use the word “liar” to accuse an opponent at every opportunity. A venue that once held a scrap of dignity has been degraded to the playgrounds of Washington, D.C., where politicians run around calling each other names until the teacher – or moderator – calls for a timeout.
Let’s look at who said what. The Obama campaign has made the word “liar” a choice word for describing Mitt Romney.
Brad Woodhouse of the Democratic National Committee was quoted in The Week as saying, “Plenty of people have pointed out what a liar Mitt Romney is.”
If Woodhouse was trying to sound like an uncouth urchin, he succeeded. Calling someone a liar is petty and accusatory, but also quite serious.
In the days of etiquette, a gentleman did not call his enemies liars, especially not on the national stage. He might do so in the privacy of his own home – not to a horde of reporters.
The word “liar” is severe in that it questions the intentions, honor and credibility of an opponent.
It’s not just saying that the other person is wrong; it implies that the person knows he/she is incorrect and tries to mislead you anyway.
At a press conference aboard Air Force One, David Plouffe, a top adviser to President Obama, said that Romney “lie[d] to 50 million Americans” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Clearly this is a snide, petty remark, but what is less obvious is why Plouffe thought the comment was worthy of being voiced to the press. Politics is inherently a mudslinging contest, but “liar” didn’t used to be part of the territory.
While the Obama campaign has been swinging the word liar around like a golf club, Romney and his campaign have refrained from using the word directly, but Romney’s record is far from clean.
At a campaign rally in Ohio, Romney accused Obama of keeping the truth from the American people. Quoted in Yahoo News, Romney asked how Obama could “go out there and just tell people things that aren’t true?”
It appears that the strategy is to repeat accusatory phrases until voters believe that they are true.
It makes the candidates look like finger-pointing slobs who do not possess ideas worth voicing other than finding ways to creatively blame everyone around them.
Obama is guilty of this too. After the first debate, he condemned Romney for being intentionally vague about his beliefs, and said that he “owes American people the truth,” according to The Globe and Mail.
Americans deserve the truth. But you know what we are also owed? A fair and honorable campaign.
So far, we have witnessed low blows, superficial debates and poor sportsmanship from both sides. The repetitive use of the word liar from the Obama campaign is disgraceful and shameful from the current president.
Respect, honor and dignity – these are the qualities that should shine in an election year. Enough with the name-calling — let’s discuss the issues.