Presidential Mendacity Index

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Today’s tidbit is Washington Monthly’s "Presidential Mendacity Index," which ranks some of the more notorious recent Oval Office lies. Considering the liberal slant of the nominating committee and the judges, you could – correctly – expect the results to be skewed against Republicans; Clinton is indeed rated as slightly more honest than Reagan and the Bushes. I have two observations regarding the PMI’s content:

First, Clinton’s alleged lie about “Black Church Burnings” was actually true. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette published a correction when they discovered that there had been a black church burned in Clinton’s hometown when he was seventeen.

Second, Bush’s “Trifecta” lie is actually worse than how it was reviewed. Not only did Bush never say it, Gore did! (Oops…)

Does anyone have a favorite presidential lie that didn’t make the list? (Nixon’s “I am not a crook” is far too obvious for consideration.)

Presidential prevarication didn’t begin with Clinton, and it certainly didn’t end with him. Writing books about the factually-challenged Bush administration has become one of today’s few growth industries; check out the books listed below for as many details as you can stomach. (I wish I could read them all, but – to paraphrase the old joke about prolific authors – Bush lies faster than I can read.)


Alterman, Eric. The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America

Bonifaz, John. Warrior King: The Case for Impeaching George Bush

Corn, David. The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception

Dean, John. Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush (April)

Frank, Justin. Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President (May)

Franken, Al. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

Humberman, Jack. The Bush-Hater's Handbook: A Guide to the Most Appalling Presidency of the Past 100 Years

Ivins, Molly. Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America

Phillips, Kevin. American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

Rampton, Sheldon. Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq

Scheer, Christopher. The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq

Suskind, Ron. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill

Unger, Craig. House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties (March)

Waldman, Paul. Fraud: The Strategy Behind the Bush Lies and Why the Media Didn't Tell You

Thanks for reading.


Quote of the Day:

"War is a class phenomenon. This has been an unbroken truth from the ancient times to our own, when the victims of the Vietnam War turned out to be working-class Americans and Asian peasants. Preparations for war maintains swollen military bureaucracies, gives profits to corporations (and enough jobs to ordinary citizens to bring them along). And they give politicians special power, because fear of “the enemy” becomes the basis for entrusting policy to a handful of leaders, who feel bound (as we have seen so often) by no constitutional limits, no constraints of decency or commitment to truth."

Howard Zinn (Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology, pp. 288-9)

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 26, 2004 10:31 PM.

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