Saturday, August 13, 2011

Political Panders

Non-partisan Pulitzer Prize-winning website,, rates politicians' statements "True", "Mostly True", "Half True", "Mostly False", "False", or "Pants-on-Fire." They provide sources and a rationale for each rating. This website is a valuable resource for separating political fact from political pander.

Using ratings on 07/22/2011 I constructed a truth-ranking of 13 politicians and 2 parties based on the ratio (2T+MT) / (MF+2F+3PoF), aka Truth Quotient or simply TQ. From most truthful to least: Democratic National Committee, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Tim Pawlenty, Harry Reid, Sarah Palin, Republican National Committee, Nancy Pelosi, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum. Only the top 5 are mostly truthful. Leaders of both parties in Congress are truth-impaired. Cain, Bachmann, and Santorum define a class of their own. Of 43 statements by these candidates just one was unequivocally true, while 28 were rated False or Pants-on-Fire. Only Michele Bachmann garnered more Pants-on-Fire ratings than Sarah Palin. #1 DNC is far more truthful than #11 RNC.

These politicians' panders represent carelessness, ignorance, and deceit. None are qualities I desire in elected officials. They make these false statements to appeal to the biases of their target constituency. The question is, do you prefer the truth or false confirmation of your opinions? Sadly, history suggests most people prefer the latter. Nevertheless, checking the facts and basing our opinions upon them is the best defense against political panders.

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