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Is It Ever Okay For The President To Lie?

Dave Schuler asks an interesting question:

I have a question. When is it okay for the president to lie to the American people and/or Congress?

The gut reaction of course is that it’s never okay for any elected official to lie to the American people. At the same time, though, it does kind of depend on what the definition of “lie” happens to be. Is it a lie to fail to disclose classified data that would embarrass the Administration, but which would also potentially place American intelligence agents and assets in danger?  What if it was a lie that, if not spoken,would endanger national security?

Ordinarily, this is a post I put into the “Quick Picks,” but I’m looking for some input here. When are you willing to accept that your leaders have lied to you, if ever?

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tillman says:

    Democracy, and republicanism by proxy, requires trust between the people and their elected representatives. Hell, all contracts require a basic degree of trust.

    Ultimately, the question really isn’t whether it’s okay to lie, since a politician is expected to dissemble routinely, but what motivations for lying would the public consider acceptable? Obviously lying to the public to get the nation into an ill-conceived war doesn’t pass muster, if recent history is anything to go off of.

    As a side note, looking forward to seeing who the diehard utilitarians at OTB are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  2. Davebo says:

    Obviously lying to the public to get the nation into an ill-conceived war doesn’t pass muster, if recent history is anything to go off of.

    Actually recent history shows you can get re-elected after such a lie. Hell, some folks are still deluded enough to believe Colin Powell is an honorable guy despite the plethora of evidence available.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    I think that trust includes not saying things that that would negatively impact national security. I don’r know if that’s the case here but I see it could be a possibility. As a former DIA analyst I know we were not telling the people everything in the 70s.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  4. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    I’m not sure the question even applies. My theory about statecraft is that it exists in the State of Nature more than in the state of interpersonal relationships. Just as it is not immoral for the lion to prey on the weakest of the herd, it is not immoral for a leader to do that which will serve the long-term interests of the nation.

    The question really is “does the action help or hinder the cohesion of the nation?” But answering that question requires a cohesive nation to begin with. Sooooo…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  5. Tillman says:

    @Davebo: And how well regarded is George W. Bush nowadays, eh? Besides, when he was re-elected, the lie hadn’t become stupendously obvious yet. The name Curveball hadn’t yet entered the discussion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Hal 10000 says:

    I think when it comes to national security issues, lying can be justified. We live in an open society where secrets are hard, if not impossible to keep. Disinformation is sometimes necessary for national security.

    That having been said, the bar has to be set high. Our Presidents have routinely invoked nebulous national security concerns when the real concerns were something embarrassing or damaging coming out. So I think the operative idea is that we give our leaders a certain amount of leeway, but come down on them like a hammer when they abuse it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  7. al-Ameda says:

    @Hal 10000:

    I think when it comes to national security issues, lying can be justified. We live in an open society where secrets are hard, if not impossible to keep. Disinformation is sometimes necessary for national security.

    That having been said, the bar has to be set high.

    I agree. You said it better than I could have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  8. Todd says:

    I think it really comes down to how you define “lie”. For instance in any political campaign, the candidates are all but forced to put forth plans and promises that they know absolutely without a doubt have no chance of ever being enacted.

    Also, when it comes to matters of international diplomacy, it may be prudent for a President and/or their surrogates to occasionally “massage” the details in their public statements. We Americans tend to get really caught up in this idea that we have some sort of a right to know absolutely everything … without taking into consideration that sometimes, if certain information becomes public knowledge it might not necessarily be in our (collective) best interest … no matter how curious we are, and how much we really, really want to know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  9. bill says:

    did you all just notice this? kinda late in the game but yes- he lies quite a bit but it’s ok, you folks like him!

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 20

  10. I expect politicians to lie, stonewall, and spin. But when it involves 4 dead Americans, including our Ambassador, hell no.

    The funny part is that if Team Obama had said it was terrorism all along and avoided the stupid film, the issue would probably have been left to rest.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 28

  11. michael reynolds says:

    It depends. If you’re looking for some hard and fast rule you won’t find it.

    When is it okay for a parent to lie to a child? Can an adult child lie to a sick elder? What’s the answer to the question, “Do these pants make me look fat?” “Was it good for you, too?”

    There are no hard and fast rules in quotidien life but we expect them in matters of statecraft? In espionage? In national security? In politics?

    People will decide on a case by case basis. Sometimes it’ll be okay, and other times it won’t.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  12. Davebo says:

    The funny part is that if Team Obama had said it was terrorism all along and avoided the stupid film, the issue would probably have been left to rest.

    You’re joking right? Are we to assume that if this manufactured outrage had been avoided the right would have stuck to complaining about the First Lady suggesting school kids should eat vegetables?

    Because honestly, you’d have to be a vegetable to fall for that one.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @William Teach:

    Obviously you didn’t watch the second debate.

    Or read a newspaper.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  14. Davebo says:

    Michael,

    Playing the quotidien card!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. Console says:

    @William Teach:

    The fact that the “issue” is how soon some label was applied to the attack and not whether or not the attack was preventable is WAAAAY more of a problem. A problem that you seem to be more than willing to be part of.

    Thank you for participating in the dumbing down of america.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  16. Latino_in_Boston says:

    In my opinion, Presidents should, in fact, have some leeway in lying to the public in specific cases regarding national security or the common good. The problem is that this an extremely murky area and what I might think is ok, the rest of the country might not and vice-versa.

    My bottom line is that if the lie saves lives or prevents people from getting in danger, than it passes muster. If it is used, however, to kill people except for perhaps killing a dictator or clearly recognized terrorist leader; to “sustain the national interest” other than saving lives; or to further the national interest, it shouldn’t be invoked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  17. Boyd says:

    At the risk of not following the apparent norm of a significant percentage of OTB commenters by not protecting MY SIDE at all costs, I think if the President lies to protect national security, especially in the case of protecting the lives of patriots in harm’s way serving their country, sure, we’ll forgive him that lie. If it’s to protect himself politically, or one of his friends, not so much.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  18. Dazedandconfused says:

    I don’t have a problem with a little spreading of dis-information when in hot pursuit of murderers. It’s sometimes called for in hostage situations as well. Not continuing it past the time where the complete frankness hinders effective action is key.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  19. Herb says:

    @Boyd:

    “I think if the President lies to protect national security, especially in the case of protecting the lives of patriots in harm’s way serving their country, sure, we’ll forgive him that lie. If it’s to protect himself politically, or one of his friends, not so much.”

    Yes, that’s it.

    I also think there is a distinction between “keeping a secret” and “lying.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  20. An Interested Party says:

    did you all just notice this? kinda late in the game but yes- he lies quite a bit but it’s ok, you folks like him!

    Indeed…like lying about a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda…oh wait, that was Dick Cheney…like lying about Iraq restarting its nuclear weapons program…oh wait, that was George W. Bush…like lying about Iraq having hundreds of tons of useable chemical weapons…oh wait, that was Colin Powell…perhaps you liked those folks, well, before their administration was shown to be a disaster and then completely forgotten by its previous cheerleaders…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  21. bwp says:

    Nixon left before impeachment and the dems decided against impeaching Reagan over lying to Congress about Iran-Contra (“for the good of the nation” read the official report), yet the GOP spent tens of millions to dig up dirt on Clinton, searching desperately for any reason to impeach.

    And then there’s W.

    I don’t think partisan republicans can answer your question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  22. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    While I’m pretty Utilitarian, the difference between this and more “moral” positions might be smaller than you think. I usually support lying if it furthers a higher goal.

    The problem here is that a unsuccessful lie damages the national interest significantly since it burns political capital. As such I am willing to forgive as long as there is nothing to forgive (lie unknown to the public) but will probably opt to punish those who damage the nation by lying unsuccessfully :-).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  23. bill says:

    who cares if the cia lies about something so they can obtain info, they’re a “spy agency” after all?! that the administration jumped in and just flat out spread rumors about it are troublesome, they should have just said “we don’t know/have info bout it yet”.
    that our embassy had no security and 4 of ours died is really just idiotic, they made glenn beck look prophetic and that’s never good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    It Depends of course on the circumstances. Trying to rigidly apply personal standards of morality in all situations (and even there we all tell minor lies from time to time) to the practice of statecraft is laughably unrealistic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  25. Tsar Nicholas says:

    What would be a lot scarier is if we ever got a Prez who didn’t lie about items for which lies were necessary. That would evidence a dangerous level of naivete.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  26. Of course, this does all get into the issue of lies of omission and commission, not to mention simplifying information when giving it to the public versus that may shade (or even obscure) the real truth.

    Like it or not, but we are rarely giving the nitty gritty details about national security operations and we certainly aren’t made privy to every bit of intel that the president has been given, Anyone who reads history knows this to to be the case (or, really, anyone who pays attention to politics over a lengthy amount of time).

    I think that a lot of thinks are kept secret that shouldn’t be, but the notion that in the immediate aftermath of an attack that we are going to get full disclosure strikes me as odd.

    The real question is whether the offering up of the video as part of the explanation for the attacks was actually a lie (i.e., a deliberate falsehood perpetrated to mislead) or was still considered, at least in the mind of the president, as potentially true. It gets that specific in this case.

    In the generally nebulous world of “truth” in DC (heck, in everyday human existence), I am having a hard time seeing that this one scores all that high on the outrage meter. Beyond that, it was obvious from the beginning that terrorism of some kind was involved (the act itself fit the definition–the only issue was the level of organization). As such, I guess it was easy for me to not worry too much about the video talk. Video-based protest or not, the event happened, and the protest element. Of course, it still strikes me as possible that the attackers were, in fact, motivated in part by outrage over the video in question (it isn’t like these groups always have the most solid of reasons for their actions).

    Indeed, that is what a NYT piece reported even a month after the attack:

    To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck the United States Mission without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as members of a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.

    “It was the Ansar al-Shariah people,” said Mohamed Bishari, 20, a neighbor of the compound who watched the assault and described the brigade he saw leading the attack. “There was no protest or anything of that sort.”

    If that is accurate we have a) no protest, and b) an attack by an armed terrorist group, but we also have c) outrage over the video as part of the motivation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  27. john personna says:

    Easy answer. We have an obligation to support the best path, and sometimes, rarely, that is simply the least bad path.

    So sure, if you can lie to me to avoid a nuke going off in my town, do it … or some other easily delineated hypothetical.

    Closer decisions will be controversial of course.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  28. Brummagem Joe says:

    This is a total non scandal. An opportunist attack takes place on an obscure US consulate about the size of your local post office located in a town 400 miles from the capital of Libya. There were five US security personnel there and within an hour some more had shown up from some secret CIA location in the town. What do you want a brigade defending every US consulate in the third world? Inevitably the info coming out was sketchy for quite a while and in any case the intelligence agencies were unwilling to share some of it. Amazing we get excited when four Americans get killed in some far off place where risk is part of the job but these same people making all the noise ignore nine people killed in a cinema in America itself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  29. Dave Schuler says:

    The cynical answer, I guess, is that, if the electorate re-elects a president, the lie has been affirmed as acceptable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  30. @Dave Schuler: Well, sure, if re-elections can be considered mono-variate equations ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. Woody says:

    Are we focused on lying, or the Harry Frankfurt “bullsh*t”? 21st century Organization Man has been rather well compensated for the latter, don’t you think?

    Anyone who has ever worked for an organization has experienced this situation: a higher-up makes a statement that everyone knows full is malarky, but everyone still goes with it. I don’t expect the White House is any different.

    Remember, too, that reliably unbiased information isn’t evenly distributed in any human organization. A President relies on his staff to provide him with accurate information. Should there be an understood protocol to massage information (say, to avoid unpleasant news), a President may make statements that are demonstrably untrue, but were made with doctored info.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  32. Just Me says:

    Well with the current lie-everyone who likes Obama says “sure it is okay to fabricate a lie” and everyone who doesn’t says it isn’t.

    That’s politics. Everything is fine if its their guy doing it.

    As for the real answer-I think lying by omission-as in leaving some details out to the general public is fine. I don’t always think when it comes to national security that the general public needs all the details. I don’t appreciate my president fabricating a lie and telling it as if it is truth.

    I don’t think a president should lie by omission or outright to congress-especially those committees with specific oversight. If the president makes a habit of hiding things from other portions of government then there is a problem. The branches of government need to be able to trust each other.

    I also see campaign oriented lies-those that make all sorts of promises-are different from a president lying about details to the American people. Candidates make all sorts of promises-some of them often competing-and the reality is that the president still for 90% of what he promises has to get a cooperative congress to help him keep them. I think everyone views campaign promises with a grain of salt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  33. rudderpedals says:

    No intentional misrepresentation, no lie. It’s straightforward. We never reach the question at the headline with Benghazi.

    Is there a particular intentional misrepresentation to cite as an example Doug? Steven Taylor and commenters in Steven’s Nixon thread had some but I don’t think anyone here was OK with his lies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Is It Ever Okay For The President To Lie?

    Does it matter? They all have, and they all will.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  35. john personna says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Voters reneged on Nixon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. Unsympathetic says:

    @bill:

    Fact: Republicans have cut the funding for embassy security by 200 million dollars.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/house/250237-gop-embassy-security-cuts-draw-democrats-scrutiny

    Fact: Seven attacks on US embassies took place during GWB’s presidency

    2002: U.S. Consulate In Karachi, Pakistan, Attacked; 10 Killed, 51 Injured
    2004: U.S. Embassy Bombed In Uzbekistan
    2004: Gunmen Stormed U.S. Consulate In Saudi Arabia
    2006: Armed Men Attacked U.S. Embassy In Syria
    2007: Grenade Launched Into U.S. Embassy In Athens
    2008: Rioters Set Fire To U.S. Embassy In Serbia
    2008: Ten People Killed In Bombings At U.S. Embassy In Yemen

    Attacks on US embassies under Reagan:

    1983: Bomb Blast At U.S. Embassy In Beirut Killed More Than 60, Including 17 Americans [6 months later, 241 marines were killed]
    1983: Car Bomb Damaged U.S. Embassy In Kuwait
    1987: Car Bomb Exploded Outside U.S. Embassy In Italy

    GHWB:

    1990: Palestinian Guerrillas Attempted To Attack U.S. Embassy In Tel Aviv

    Time to get over it. I know your preconceived notion of Obama is that he just has to have a scandal — but this dog won’t hunt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  37. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    No. Critics of Obama on Benghazi just refuse to scale their concern to the size of the problem.

    Dude. Something close to 100 people will die today in traffic accidents, and have done every day since the Benghazi raid.

    It is a classic emotional dysfunction to focus on Benghazi because it is “different, visible (pictures), and scary,” rather than the routine deaths to which we are inured. On top of that, focusing on Benghazi lets you focus on Obama as a nexus for what’s wrong in the world.

    … take a pill. Get a prescription.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  38. john personna says:

    Here’s a good one:

    About 5.3 million of the 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008 could be attributed to inactivity, the new report estimates, largely due to four major diseases: heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.

    But we should definitely blame Michelle Obama for trying to get us to eat right and exercise, and obsess about those 4 deaths rather than those 5.3 million.

    Gotcha.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  39. michael reynolds says:

    I have maintained from the start that not only is this Benghazi business nothing, the entire country of Libya is next door to nothing.

    Egypt is important as hell, and no one’s paying attention to it because it doesn’t involve a way to attack Obama. That’s all this consulate obsession has ever been about: political fanatics using dead foreign service personnel for a narrow political agenda.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That’s all this consulate obsession has ever been about: political fanatics using dead foreign service personnel for a narrow political agenda.

    Amen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  41. Mikey says:

    Not much to say that hasn’t already been said, but still…there’s a big difference between lies of omission and lies of commission, and in my view the former are entirely acceptable in the context of national security. The latter may be, sometimes, but can actually present a greater risk because they are easier to discover and they open up very uncomfortable, and dangerous to national security, lines of questioning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  42. mannning says:

    If the truth hurts, it seems that presidents try to avoid a candid answer, dodging the question until backed into a corner, at which time they fabricate something to ward off the truth hounds for as long as possible. In today’s fast news cycles challenges to made up stories come screaming to TV and newspapers post haste. The truth will out, as is said, but sometimes it can take decades.

    I greatly deplore lying and liars of both types–omission and comission– but there isn’t much to be done about it, so I apply a version of the old rule: wait a few days or a week and then see what has popped out. A more immediate version is the artilleryman’s tactic: don’t displace(batteries) on the first order, you can bet there will be another countermanding order in the pipeline real soon now. ( I have always wondered just how long a battery commander would wait for that second order!)

    Mapping this into dubious first situation reporting and withholding judgement until a second or third report from better sources is issued seems to sort out the initial nonsense relatively well. Time, and a lot of speculation has been wasted, but it doesn’t matter to the citizenry in most instances. Clearly, in the Benghazi case either the president fostered a lie for five days or Petraeus lied in his repeated reporting. I choose Petraeus for more truthful and accurate reporting, and for far less need for political cover. Further, Obama surely had Petraeus’ reporting virtually instantly, but chose to embark on a weak, largely false cover story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  43. ...the rest of the story.... says:

    It’s OK to lie if you’re Obama,…..not if your name is Bush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  44. ...the rest of the story.... says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    That’s all this consulate and “I killed Bin Laden and Al Qaeda is on the run” obsession has ever been about: The President and his minions using whatever means to hide its failures and promote its political agenda and imagined successes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  45. Rob in CT says:

    I’m uncomfortable with it, but of course it happens and sometimes it’s probably even justifiable.

    I think it should have a very short duration, though. The record should be corrected quickly. If the lie was justifiable, then the correction w/explanation should be acceptable to the people. If you are worried the people won’t accept the explanation… well, maybe the lie isn’t a good idea.

    Specifically wrt Bengahzi, the justification for initially connecting it to the video (ala the Egyptian protests) was apparently some hope that if the militant groups thought we were that dumb, we might had a better shot at them. This did not last long. I find the justification acceptable, and I find the claims about it being political pretty silly: those criticizing the administration would be criticizing in either case. There is no political advantage in this.

    Imagine you are sitting there the day after the attack, and you know it was a terrorist hit. Further, let’s even imagine that you actually believe that “oh it was a riot triggered by reaction to that dumb movie” plays better, politically, than “it was a strike by militants.” [I think this is silly, but go with it]. Since you know that isn’t true, you would have to be so stupid as to believe your spin would trump reality for… what, two months (time until election)? You’d have to be an utter imbecile.

    So no, I don’t by that argument at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. elizajane says:

    Lying? Not so good. But there is a big grey area of half-truths, evasive wording, and sinlets of omission here.

    The White House is not Wikileaks. It is not supposed to spill out classified information to the general public the minute a problematic event occurs. It is OK at that point if key information remains unmentioned, if only half the story is publicly disclosed.

    Eventually, of course, the whole story should be made public; and by “eventually” I mean as soon as this is no longer a national security issue, not at the convenience of an election campaign on either side.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  47. mannning says:

    It occurred to me that this post in general accepts the fact that all political wonks lie, and that specifically includes Obama! Thanks for agreeing with what I had posted several times prior to the election. So, we can look forward to more and more lies for the next four years. How comforting to know that much of what is said by our President must be subjected to the time delay of truth-outing. The question is, how long must we wait for the truth to out?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  48. ...the rest of the story.... says:

    Lying to get reelected….AMERICA APPROVES.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. mannning says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Imagine you are sitting there the day after the attack, and you know it was a terrorist hit. Further, let’s even imagine that you actually believe that “oh it was a riot triggered by reaction to that dumb movie” plays better, politically, than “it was a strike by militants.” [I think this is silly, but go with it]. Since you know that isn’t true, you would have to be so stupid as to believe your spin would trump reality for… what, two months (time until election)? You’d have to be an utter imbecile.

    Then you must explain why Obama used this cover story both from himself and Rice for five days. Is Obama the imbecile here? Or did Obama actually believe that story of the movie and riot? The least that can be said is his staff blew it bigtime in playing with the talking points. Which makes Obama look even worse for not going far enough in vetting the points, or in trusting his staff too much, but then, it was indeed safely after November 6 when some truth-out occurred…
    .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  50. pylon says:
  51. mannning says:

    Now we have a liar’s gathering. Who’s going to take the fall? Who jiggered the talking points? The WH Staff, The CIA, the NSC, DOS, or a few other agencies that have idiots running them, are all candidates, but the facts are clear: a false story was put forward and repeated, well after the truth was known. You can be sure that Obama will not allow himself to take the blame, it isn’t his style. I believe this faliure should be run to the ground and the appropriate people punished, as an object lesson to those whose hubris leads them to think they are bulletproof in this administration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  52. dexter60 says:

    “When is it okay for the president to lie to the American people and/or Congress?” well, when and how does it enhance/maintain Liberty?
    Those that can think any act is justifiable usually fail to point out by what authority.
    For many Ethics is a vague abstraction. Looking about for consensus is absurd.
    Our Constitution provides governance by our consent, not merely from the choices of a preponderance of the bought-and-paid-for.
    By constant deception in so may things we no longer have even the options for law-abiding would-be rulers.
    So, for me, it is NOT ok for the president to lie. Period. Silence is his only option over fabrication.
    He must try to lead, but by example. Sophistry sucks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  53. mannning says:

    Now there is conformation that Obama knew about the terrorist attackers inside of 72 hours for certain, which makes his use of the cover story simply a bald lie for consumption by the American people. Enjoy the rest of the next four years!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1