Share This Page

State of the Union: Obama lied

The first casualty of political rhetoric always is the truth.

Witness President Barack Obama's contention in last week's State of the Union Address that the recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance -- allowing corporations and unions to underwrite political ads -- "reversed a century of law."

And that it "opened the floodgates ... (for) foreign companies to spend without limit in our elections."

But the ruling did no such thing. And, worse, the error was so blatant that it cannot be dismissed as some kind of "inadvertent mischaracterization" spoken off the cuff; it was part of the president's prepared text.

Given that Mr. Obama's top White House lawyer is a seasoned campaign-finance attorney, former Justice Department attorney Shannen Coffin, writing in National Review Online, finds it hard to believe that lie was anything but intentional.

No wonder Associate Justice Sam Alito shook his head and appeared to mouth the words, "That's not true."

Nineteenth-century French political economist Frederic Bastiat reminded that only a few words are needed to set forth a half-truth "whereas, in order to show that it is a half-truth, we have to resort to long and arid dissertations."

To borrow Obama's own words, "No wonder there's so much cynicism out there."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.