“Yeah, Romney lied, but ALL politicians lie!”
Well, not quite. More accurately put, all people lie.
So, if we’re going to discount Romney’s lies on the basis that all politicians lie, then by logical extension, we have to call our own assessment of politicians’ truthfulness into question because we are ourselves liars. That is, if it’s not so big a problem that Romney lied because politicians lie, then it must not be that big a problem that politicians lie because we all lie. At which point we might as well just give up on all of this “reality” stuff.
Considering everyone is dishonest to one degree or another, we have to gauge honesty in terms of quantification. We can’t say “Obama lies and Romney lies” as if once that categorization has been made, it equalizes them. “Liar” isn’t a categorization, it’s a scale. Romney lied a lot in the debate, with so many lies per minute that it probably qualified for the Guinness Book of World Records. (Somebody should really give them a call, because now I’m curious.)
That’s not to say Obama didn’t lie at all. He did. Just not nearly as much as Romney. There has to be some kind of threshold for truthfulness, where we recognize that telling 10 lies is worse than telling 2, and where we don’t dismiss both candidates in a debate equally just because they told 1 or more lies. That’s ludicrous.
If people are apparently unable to tell the difference between a speech with a few exaggerations and one that’s complete fiction, it’s time we rethink our entire approach to thinking, let alone politics.