When did it become acceptable for a candidate for office to flat-out lie?
I have been pondering this query ever since Jesse Kelly—the GOP choice for Congressional District 8—started claiming that the United States has more oil than Saudi Arabia, and therefore, it's unacceptable for Americans to be paying $4 a gallon for gasoline.
I realize that politics is a process in which spin, nuance and shades of gray are commonplace, accepted and even necessary. I get that. But this claim about the U.S. having more oil than Saudi Arabia, especially when that claim is tied to current-day gas prices, is a lie, pure and simple.
It is fact—provable, verifiable, absolute fact—that the U.S. circa 2012 does not have the oil that Jesse Kelly claims it does. This is not a matter of spin or nuance or shades of gray or anything that is debatable. Period. It's a fact. Even if you stretch and extend to cover oil shale, the United States today does not have the technology to get usable oil from it.
And what happens when Kelly goes around spouting this bullshit? He gets the GOP nomination, by a wide margin; meanwhile, very few Republicans bother to call him on it. (Props to Martha McSally for doing so.)
This is not a left-right, Democrat-Republican problem; I use the Jesse Kelly example just because it's one of the more-prominent and more-recent examples. No matter the party or the politics, when someone starts spreading blatant, verifiable falsehoods, other public servants and civic-minded folks have a duty to call bullshit. Period.