Liar, Liar

     Ever have someone give you a big smile and then lie right to your face?
     Sure, you have.
     You knew he was lying, and he knew he was lying, but it made no difference to him.
     Maybe it was your kid, or your spouse, or a student, or a client.
     Did you feel it was an insult to your intelligence?
     Did you feel like smacking him?
     Sure, you did.
     If a businessman raises $100 million by lying about his business, he could be thrown in jail for it. Fined, anyway, if the SEC ever gets around to it.
     Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is facing criminal charges involving only $1.7 million, and he didn’t take the money from anyone – he gave it to him.
     Plenty of people, even congressmen, judges and senators, have been thrown in jail for lying about sums way smaller than $100 million.
     So why can a guy lie about taking $100 million from people and corporations, just because he’s running for president of the United States?
     No one in the world – not even Jeb Bush – believes that Jeb Bush hasn’t decided whether he’s running for president, though he’s well on the way to collecting his first $100 million to do it.
     But that’s what he said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “I haven’t made the decision.”
     We all know why Bush is doing it: to evade the $2,700 shakedown limit per person, to avoid the ban on “coordinating” the bonanza with his Super PACs, to avoid telling us who’s giving him the money.
     Well, if Bush “hasn’t made that decision,” what is he taking the money for?
     Why do his donors think he’s taking it?
     Why else are they giving him the money?
     Campaign spending laws are toothless and virtually venereal. Everyone knows that. But the issue here isn’t campaign law.
     It’s character.
     Bush is asking 235 million eligible voters in the United States to trust him enough to elect him president, and he’s started his campaign by lying to our faces. For months.
     We know he’s lying, and he knows he’s lying, but it makes no difference to him.
     Well, if a guy starts his campaign by lying to us, with a big smile on his face, why should we trust anything he says? About anything?
     Campaign spending laws – which are not laws at all, not even recommendations – could be fixed easily, if politicians wanted to do it. But why should they?
     To ask politicians to fix campaign spending laws is like asking the madam of a whorehouse to fix the laws on prostitution.
     I’m old enough to remember some great presidential liars. I was of draft age under President Nixon. Harry Truman described Nixon very well when he called him “a son of a bitch who talked out of two sides of his mouth and lied out of both of them.”
     I remember Bill Clinton and I suffered through eight years of George W. Bush.
     Liars, all of them.
     But none of them lied so transparently, so blithely, that the moment the lie left his lips it was clear to the entire world that he was lying.
     None of them lied with a big smile on his face, so smug about it that he didn’t care whether we knew he was lying or not.
     It makes me want to smack him.

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