Anyone who wants to reform American politics has to seriously consider the pros and cons of lying. Telling people what they want to hear has rarely lost an election. Yet nobody wants to be on the Titanic, reassured that what they felt was just a tiny bump. To begin with, there’s an assumption that no candidate can win by telling the whole truth . The Dennis Kucinich school of bald-faced candor is usually fatal. The phrase “lying politician” rolls easily off the tongue, and yet a balancing act is required. We expect politicians to lie in some areas but not others. Pollsters have not found a simple formula for success, although being positive comes as close as any. Voters don’t elect whistle-blowers and Cassandras. In the present climate there are certain painful truths that cannot be safely uttered in public.
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