Politicians lie. All of them, regardless of whether they play for Team Red, Team Blue, or something in-between. Lying is part of the job description – or at least it is for politicians who want to get elected, re-elected, and re-elected some more.
And this applies to the occupants of the White House. Always has, always will. And that includes Mr. Biden, of course, who just can’t help but spin yarns that have only a limited relationship to fact. As Matt Welch writes:
It’s not OK for a pandemic-era political leader to say, as Biden did…that if you’re vaccinated, you “do not spread the disease to anybody else.”
It is not acceptable for a president to claim, as he did…in a single tweet, that Build Back Better is “fully paid for” (it’s not), that it “will not increase the deficit” (it would), and that it “won’t raise the taxes by one penny for anyone making less than $400,000 a year” (counters the Tax Policy Center: “roughly 20 percent to 30 percent of middle-income households would pay more in taxes in 2022”). Such hyperbolic balderdash is worthy of a 24-year-old social media intern at a hack think tank; not the Commander in Chief of allegedly the greatest nation on Earth.
Democratic self-governance requires a certain modicum of citizen self-respect. If elected executives can lie with impunity, they will lie with impunity, and the chances of those lies turning out somehow to be “noble” are roughly slim, none, and fat. There’s a pandemic still on, a world wracked with its usual uncertainties, and oncoming calamities we cannot currently see. Dishonest federal leadership will only make all those things worse.
It’s not acceptable. But it’s reality. And democratic self-governance must include a public understanding that elected officials lie about things big and small. The increasingly difficult task is successfully navigating the dense webs of fibs, half-truths, and whoppers to discern just what’s going on. It’s even more difficult when cheerleading media give officials cover and encouragement to treat voters like children. Or potted plants.