A half-truth from the Obama campaign

Obama’s spokesman says that John McCain’s latest ad is a dishomorable act by an honorable man.
Only half of that statement is true.

Some readers have suggested that the RBC is unduly attached to the Obama cause and therefore unwilling to criticize the candidate or the campaign staff when they err. This is, of course, mere confusion; any apparent bias toward Obama is merely a reflection of what Steven Colbert called the liberal bias of the facts.

For example, Obama is generally a truth-teller, and his staff by and large reflects that fact. We will comment fearlessly on any departures from this norm.

Yesterday, for example, in response to John McCain’s latest exercise in scurrility, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said:

John McCain is an honorable man who is running an increasingly dishonorable campaign.

Let us not mince words. Only half of that statement is true. The rest is a lie.

In addition to its (ahem) partial accuracy, the statement was lame in the extreme. It doesn’t point out that the McCain ad is based on a falsehood. For that you have to go to Tallking Points Memo, which makes it clear that Obama cancelled his planned visit with wounded soldiers not because cameras wouldn’t be present but because the Defense Department told him after the trip started that he couldn’t make the visit with campaign staff, and Obama’s Senate staff wasn’t with him on the trip.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com