John McCain, liar extraordinaire

Yes, John McCain is more of a liar than the average politician. He tells more lies, he tells more blatant lies, and he keeps right on telling them after they’re exposed as lies. The difference matters.

No one with an open mind can doubt by now that John McCain’s campaign involves telling a whole stack of lies. His hope is that voters will shrug, say “Yeah, all politicians lie; why should McCain be different?” and vote for him anyway.

Michael Cohen and Farhad Manjoo marshall the evidence that John McCain is no ordinary liar, that the variety and blatancy of his lies, and especially his willingness to keep repeating them after their falsehood has been exposed, put him in a class by himself.

Cohen thinks that McCain’s lying is a desperation throw, likely to fail; Majoo thinks that media frangmentation means that lying is more feasible now than it has been before, and hopes that Obama will adopt the McCain technique (for example, by spinning McCain’s opposition to earmarks and the fact that aid to Israel is an earmark into the claim that McCain wants to cut aid to Israel).

I’m with Cohen. If we’re as relentless in repeating the truth as McCain and his wingnut crew are in repeating the lies, I think we can win.

Fight with your own weapons. Watch with both eyes.

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: