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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, OCT. 2, 2015
WHO NEEDS FACTS OR TRUTH?
BY BOB FRANKEN
Here’s a shocker for you: There is strong evidence that many of those running for president are dishonest. What’s even more startling is that nobody seems to be the slightest bit surprised, and in some cases, supporters don’t seem to care.
Let’s take Carly Fiorina, for instance: She’s been climbing in the GOP polls in spite of her blatant misrepresentation of videos and what they show about Planned Parenthood’s handling of aborted fetuses. In fact, her devotees seem to celebrate her dishonesty. With nearly every reputable fact-checker finding that her depiction of the videos is pure fiction, Fiorina continues to suggest that all of them are engaged in some apparent conspiracy to discredit her. Her fans either buy that concept or they make it clear that they don’t want to be confused by the facts or that they believe lying in the name of the anti-abortion cause is OK.
To be bipartisan about this, Hillary Clinton has suffered mightily during her planned march to the inevitable Democratic nomination, followed by a planned triumphant parade to the White House. But her long history of word-parsing and perceived dissembling has made that way more difficult than she ever imagined. She can’t shake off the perception that she’s playing fast and loose with her explanations about whether she used a private email server to hide illicit conduct while she was secretary of state. The polls show that her straight line to chief-executive glory has gotten badly entangled in distrust -- of her. The polite detractors say they don’t trust her, that she’s dishonest. In more blunt assessments, she’s called a “liar.”
Even her disdainful maneuvers to dispel that notion actually have reinforced it. Partly this is because everything she says looks scripted. Fiorina, meanwhile, is able to sell herself and capture the loyalty of conservatives looking for a champion. She’s such a smooth talker that she can take her record in business and claim that it was something besides a disaster. (It was a disaster.) She can be disingenuous about her personal background, getting away with the implication that she came up from nothing. The fact is, she was a silver spoon. But there I go again, dealing in facts. Silly me.
What is true about Carly Fiorina is that she markets herself very effectively. How’s that for understatement?
But, of course, when it comes to PR, no one can top “The Donald.” He’s had an entire adult life of successful self-promotion, and he’s demonstrated that on the biggest stage of all, the act which could turn the entire nation, even the world, into a Trump subsidiary. Never mind that his grandiose pronouncements are combined with petty nastiness; never mind that they are empty bluster. Even when he pretends to offer some substance, like he did with his so-called tax plan, his claim that the rich would pay more while everyone else paid less as the country thrived financially failed to get past even a cursory analysis of what specifics he did offer.
Without bogging down in detail, the part about the wealthy paying more is bogus. So is his contention that the economy would expand. It would go into the toilet. Even his usual declaration that this was something revolutionary didn’t stand up. A quick analysis reveals that this is just a reworked GOP tax plan, relying on trickle-down economics. But there was Donald Trump getting away with still another flimflam with a nationwide audience of those who are anxious to be conned are itching to cheer him on.
The one bright spot is that all Americans have gotten realistic about the honesty of their politicians. The truth is they aren’t truthful. We might be willing to elect them, but we probably won't respect them.
© 2015 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, In