If their lips are moving …

Why bother to lie about crowd sizes?
The McCain campaign seems to avoid the truth, just on general principles.

The McCain campaign, which admires celebrity now that it acquired one, has been claiming large crowds (though not Obama-size), and attributing those claims to local fire marshalls and the Secret Service.

But, as Colombo would have said, there’s just one little thing: the fire marshalls and the Secret Service say they don’t make such estimates, and a WaPo reporter who attended one rally where the McCainiacs claimed 23,000 attendees estimated 8,000.

“Who cares?” I hear you object. “McCain’s crowd sizes have nothing to do with his capacity to be President or the policies he would pursue, and no reasonable voter would regard large crowds as a reason to vote for him.”


Lying about stuff that matters is (discreditable) strategy. Lying just for practice about stuff that doesn’t matter is psychopathology.

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