Ignorance is truly bliss. But for conservatives, ignorance is not enough. To exist in the blissful ignorance of conservatism, the GOP base must be served a regular dosage of lies that insulates them from the truth that their ideology is antithetical to reality. In other words, conservatism depends on lies to survive.
Politifact released the data on the truthfulness of the GOP candidates, and it would be shocking if it weren’t so obvious to those who pay the slightest bit of attention. Even the most honest Republican candidate has just barely told the truth more than 50% of the time.
John Kasich is the only Republican candidate who has been truthful more than half the time, and he is considered to be too liberal by most conservatives. Kasich revealed his frustration with this reality at a recent rally. Unfortunately for Kasich, reality and truthfulness appear to be inversely related with success in the Republican Party.
Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders crossed the threshold of more truthfulness than lies. Of all the candidates, Bernie Sanders is the most truthful and Ben Carson is the most dishonest. Democratic Underground produced this meme that shows just how dishonest the two frontrunners in the GOP have been.
Kasich is the only Republican candidate that has a higher truth rating than Hillary Clinton. However, that single soundbite does not tell the entire story.
Hillary Clinton has had 133 statements evaluate by Politifact while Kasich has only had 54 statements evaluated. This means that Clinton has nearly three times as many opportunities to misspeak, fabricate, deflect or outright lie and she is still nearly on par with the most truthful conservative.
Consider the level of intensity with which Republicans decry Hillary Clinton to be a liar. Recall the relentless hours of inquisition by Congressional committees on Benghazi. And despite the belief that Hillary is the liar-in-chief, only one Republican candidate is more truthful than Hillary–and he was the lowest ranking candidate on the main Republican debate stage.
Never before has the assertion of, “the truth has a liberal bias” been more evident. For conservatism to be elected, it must lie. And it is not only the number of lies, but it is also both the quality and intensity of lies.
Ben Carson’s statements that have been rated untrue are both fewer in number and reveal more about his character. So that you are not confused, the more statements a candidate makes, the more opportunity it is for them to misspeak, obfuscate, and just be dishonest. Ben Carson only had 16 statements evaluated and of the 16 none were rated “Mostly True” or “True.” Of his most dishonest statements, his bold claim that he had no involvement with the nutritional supplement company Mannatech reveals both his willingness to lie outright but also his willingness to be involved with shady, pseudo-science, multi-level marketing organizations.
This particular lie shows more about his character than even Bernie Sanders’ “False” rating regarding Americans working the longest hours in the world. So not only is there a quantitative difference but there is a qualitative difference. In other words, everytime Ben Carson opens his mouth there is a good chance that he is lying based on his statements thus far.
But not only Ben Carson: every single Republican candidate has made false statements which directly reflects their character and policy positions– for the few Republicans who have policy positions.
Marco Rubio made false statements to deflect from his financial woes and deflected from his poor attendance in the Senate. But in fact, Rubio has had significant financial troubles and had the worst attendance record in the Senate.
Ted Cruz has made his entire career on criticizing Obamacare, the Iranian Nuke Deal and President Obama in general. Conservatives love him because of this. But according to the most egregious statements evaluated by Politifact, Cruz has either flat out lied or told half-truths 85% of the time. The very thing conservatives love about Cruz has been untrue 85% of the time.
Chris Christie’s loudest applause line came when accused Bernie Sanders’ of wanting to raise the top marginal rate to 90%. This, of course, was completely untrue. Even the thunderous applause lines are blatantly false. What, if anything, do conservatives have?
Does It Even Matter?
At this point, the question must be asked if it even matters that conservatives are so blatantly untruthful and outright liars? One could argue that it does not matter because of the effectiveness of their lies. Nearly every statement that has been identified as untruthful by Politifact has been accepted as a statement of faith and the gospel truth by their base.
Because of this, GOP presidential candidates can get on stage in front of millions of viewers and get away with an unprecedented number of lies and half-truths.
But what about those conservatives that are at least reasonable enough to be offended when being lied to. They do exist. Will the truth matter to them? And at what point will they accept the reality that voting for any Republican candidate other than John Kasich is necessarily voting for a candidate that is more of a liar than they believe Hillary Clinton to be. Furthermore, voting for any Republican candidate is voting for one that far more untruthful than Bernie Sanders.
Does it even matter? For the sake of our country, we must hope that it does.
Unless otherwise indicated, all images in this article including the featured image were created by the author.