Now that the campaigning for the election is over, I’d like to reflect on my observations on President Obama and Mitt Romney as candidates.
In the first debate that was so disastrous for President Obama, there were two little boys coming before their momma: candidate Obama was there trying to explain to momma why he didn’t get the chores done that he said he would do, and candidate Romney was there telling a whopper to momma so he could get his cookie. Of course, momma was unhappy that the chores were not done, and the honest confession did little to make momma happy. On the other hand, feeling disappointed, momma listened to the whopper with hope that the story was really true and gladly handed the cookie to candidate Romney he so wanted.
Having lied, and being lied to in life, I came to realize the difference in lying. It is easy to lie when you want something because you don’t lose anything that you already have. On the other hand, it is difficult to lie when you stand to lose something you already have. Lying to get something you don’t have isn’t stressful, but lying to protect yourself is stressful and hard to hide.
You could always tell when candidate Romney was lying: he would tell his whopper, cock his head and wait for a response to see if he succeeded, and relished the cheers from the crowd. Candidate Obama quickly found that explaining why he didn’t do what he said he would do in his first term wasn’t being accepted by the public, and had to basically tell the American people that it will take more hard work and time to get the job done.
The debate about the fiscal issue facing this country has the same dynamic of lying: the Republicans who stand to gain financial supporters by opposing a wealthy tax rate hike will not lose their support if they fail, and so they keep telling the lie that raising taxes on the wealthy will cause the loss of jobs. President Obama has the adult position in the fiscal issue: do what both parties and the American public do agree on – preserving the tax rates for the middle class earning less than $250,000. What is stressful for the Democrats is failing to raise the tax rates for the wealthy and doing a balanced budget process will erode their support among the public who want a resolution to the problem.
The rule about lying is simple: if you want something more than what you have and don’t stand a chance on losing what you already have, it is easy to hide your lying, but if you stand to lose what you already have, lying is stressful and hard to hide. In the latter case, it is always best to tell the truth.