Hey, my first new thread!
It seems that certain people (both lefities and righties, Democrats and Republicans) are very quick to say that a politician “lied” when they say anything that either turns out not to be 100% true in all particulars or could be interpreted as being misleading or deceitful in even the smallest detail. For example, this current pit thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=484181
The debate: why is this? Why is it not enough to say that a politician is “making deceitful or misleading statements” or “is not accurately reflecting reality” or something like that? There are plenty of other ways to not be a good politician, and there are plenty of character traits that are not desirable in a person running for office other than a propensity to lie, but more often than not it’s “he lied, he’s a liar!”
One theory may be that calling someone a liar works not only as an attack against the current statement the person made, but sets up an aura around the person through which to later attack them. So, if I can paint X as a liar, then I can cast doubt on later statements X makes even if I can produce no legitimate argument against the later statement. This seems like an illegitimate debating tactic to me because each statement should be judged on its own merits.