So this isn’t a new problem, but it looks like democracy has a few little flaws…
One flaw is that voters do not have the time or resources to personally determine truth. They can’t find out if clearly objective facts like the size of a crowd at an event or an estimate of the prevalence of voter fraud is credible. Much less even basic math, such as the percentage of a tax cut going to what fraction of the population, or whether any credible theory of economics supports the ‘trickle down’ hypothesis.
Yet politicians seem to be allowed to tell whatever lies they want.
If a public official clearly tells a lie, about a factual matter that can’t be disputed and this is an official statement : shouldn’t they be sanctioned? Washington would be a lot less corrupt if politicians could be perp walked to jail for violating the public trust.
But how could you enforce this fairly?
One thought is you could subpoena evidence and demand a politician produce their records on how they derived a statement. Like how the SEC found Elon Musk had lied about a buyout. So if you find a politician never even checked sources, they can be censured for governance malpractice. If they did but failed to check source credibility, it would be a lesser offense. If they did use a credible source but the matter is disputed, that would be acceptable.
Before you can enact such a law, you’ll need to repeal the Free Speech clause of the 1st amendment You’ll also need to amend the constitution so that the “Speech or Debate Clause” is no longer in effect. So, before launching into that effort you should ask yourself if it’s worth it and what the unintended consequences would be.
You should also consider that your worst political enemy will be in power sometime, and will be in charge of the justice department. Ask yourself if you want that person to be running the Truth Police.
Free speech applies to political speech, which is what you are talking about. It has nothing to do with employment or job applications because those aren’t government actions regulating political speech. And no, you can’t override the constitution by “considering politicians to be under oath”. You can’t do it by “considering” and you can’t do it by passing a law. You override the constitution by changing the constitution.
You are not the boss of a Congressperson. Nor am I. None of us is-- either individually or collectively. Analogy fails at the simplest of levels.
Politicians can be censured, impeached, removed from office, etc, as defined in the constitution or in the rules of Congress. But those are not police actions. You’ll need a law to get the police involved, and your law can’t violate the constitution.
Protection of political speech is one of the highest bars that a law would have to pass in order to withstand a court challenge. Your arguments thus far are complete nonsense, totally without legal precedence, and I see no productive reason in continuing.
So what about things like Colorado Proposition 112 where the energy companies just flat out lie about the consequences of it passing to scare people into voting against it. Shouldn’t there be SOME sort of sanctions against outright lying? The truth that the Yes on 112 groups and CPR put out is drowned in the millions of dollars of noise that the gas and oil companies can afford.
No constitutional amendment is required to have standards of political discourse that make willful lying unacceptable, such that the social stigma and violation of norms would make such a person unelectable and regarded as unfit to govern. But for that you need voters who care about their government and who are informed enough to know when they’re being lied to and understand the damage it causes to the political process. Instead you have a bunch of dumbasses so clueless that half of them believe the lies, and the other half don’t but cheer them on anyway because the lies help their cause.
I don’t know how the hell you get a more engaged and more informed voter base, but you can’t do it by fiat, only by changes in the sociopolitical norms. But everything that’s been happening – from Citizens United to the rise of populism and bigotry and the unprecedented normalization of lying at the highest levels of government – are all things pushing hard in exactly the wrong direction, the direction of the infamous “alternative facts” and so little regard for truth that it’s now the norm for the president to just make things up as he goes along.
Some countries have higher standards of integrity for those in public office than others. The UK has fairly high standards. BUT that does not mean politicians are any more truthful. They find more subtle ways to hide the truth than barefaced lies.
It leads to political class that indulges in an awful lot of double talk and rhetorical flourishes. Political statements are laced with enough ambiguity to ensure that the politicians are seldom nailed down. Interviews with these slippery customers test even the most skilled political interviewers. They never really answer the questions put to them, instead they make carefully composed statements that bear little relation to the question. Tony Blair was known as ‘Teflon’ Tony. Cameron was also pretty good rhetorician. May is the mistress of ambiguity. They are all trained from an early age how to speak while giving nothing away by which they could be held to account.
I recall that Harry Reid lied about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, proudly confessed to the lie and said he did it to cost Romney the election and no one cared. Who should hold politicians accountable for lying if the voters don’t?
I can still wish for it, because what you described is political behavior more or less within normal parameters – i.e.- normal human behavior WRT playing up the good points and minimizing or evading the bad. I’m not sure that there’s an actual democracy anywhere that has normalized lying like Trump has done and, increasingly, Trump’s America. You tend to get a lot closer to the truth with political behavior within normal parameters than you do when the concept of “truth” doesn’t even exist in the political value system of some politicians. The only countries I can think of that have relied on institutionalized lying and made it acceptable are dictatorships and de facto dictatorships – North Korea and Putin’s Russia, for instance, or the Germany of Hitler and Goebbels.
I agree with you that lying is a serious problem in the US. The lies told about Kerry when he was a Presidential nominee were shameful and don’t even get me started on the smear job that was done on the Clinton’s or that Muslim Obama’s birth place. It is clear that you are right and nobody cares. Or maybe I should say nobody cares unless it is their ox being gored.
For instance, I see from your posting history that you still think Benghazi was a crime and that Hillary should be locked up for her email server (this despite numerous investigations). I also see that you are a big Trump supporter, a President who demonstrably lies more than any other politician in my lifetime. I haven’t seen you call anybody out over those lies. Or maybe you believe all of that because it fits your narrative?
Whatever. I, too, wish we could hold politicians accountable and I believe there was a time when we did. I would argue that the change came with Fox news and the rise of right wing talk radio (Limbaugh lied all the time to gin up outrage and drive ratings). Before Fox, the networks all told the same story about events. This all changed when Rupert Murdoch came on the scene. He realized that he could make money (and spread his ideology, but I believe this was secondary) by tailoring the news to conservative/traditionalist folks in the US. Pure genius. The effects of this right wing centered journalism was bolstered and strengthen with the no-holds-barred political style of Newt Gingrich in the 90s. Newt, arguably another genius, was always ready to spread conspiracy theories if he could gain power from it. He was a big supporter of the claims about Obama not being a citizen and was instrumental at spreading all that crap about Vince Foster and later Seth Rich. Both he and Fox were very effective at polarizing this country. The “liberal media”, a made up term to create outrage and drive viewers to Fox, couldn’t compete with this model unless they followed suit. Which they have. I would argue to a lesser extent in most cases (not all), but they too are trying to get ratings from spin and the generation of outrage.
So now we have alternative facts. Now we have arrived a time when anybody can lie with impunity in this country and will only be called out in a partisan fashion. Right? You’re not going to call out Trump on all this caravan / Soros garbage, are you? Watching the Trump administration lie with impunity while he riles up his base sure makes me want to call out Democrats that lie. Not.
By the way, I voted no on 112. The definition were too restrictive.
Half a mile from any house, stream, lake, river, etc… There would be no oil or gas drilling anywhere in the DJ basin (i.e. Northern front range - where you live). I support cities like Fort Collins/Longmont/Loveland, etc… having some say in where oil operations occur, but 112 goes too far if we want to develop our resources. Drill, baby, drill right? Didn’t you support Sarah Palin when she said this?
That Washington Post link is doing you a disservice. When I clicked the link, I got
The accusation is as yet unverified, so Trump could be telling the truth. As such, the claim is neither provably false nor provably dissembling. Yet. Thus that page and the collection of data behind it is worthless.