The news hit earlier today that Christine O’Donnell, queen of the small and shrinking anti-masturbation movement and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Delaware, lied about her academic career—yet again!
A few months back, officials at Oxford University said that O’Donnell did not attend their university, as she had claimed. Now Claremont Graduate University is disputing her claim to have attended there.
O’Donnell is far from the first politician to be caught in a bold-faced lie about past accomplishments. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has referred to his past service in Viet Nam so many times that he may actually think he served under fire in Viet Nam during our illegal war there. But in fact, he did not. He’s either a liar or delusional—and which is worse?
What’s wrong with the thinking process of those candidates who lie about their past educational, military or other accomplishments? When you lie about what you’re going to do in office or what you believe in, it’s likely that you won’t get caught, at least until years after the election. And it’s understandable why candidates lie about their sexual peccadilloes or predilections (but it’s too bad that includes being gay and shame on those closeted politicians like Larry Craig who bash gays or vote against gay rights).
But in our era of computerized records and long institutional memories, why would any politician lie about a resume fact? It shows a lack of judgment. The best lying politicians have the good judgment to know when they can’t lie. I believe that as soon as a lie emerges on a resume that the political party should disassociate itself from the candidate and select someone else to run. Period, no questions asked.
Judgment is also the issue in the Paladino email scandal. It’s now well documented that Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for Governor, has sent a large number of offensive sexist and racist emails to friends and acquaintances.
As Bob Herbert pointedly put in his article about Paladino’s disgusting emails, Paladino himself admits it showed “poor judgment.” Here are some examples Herbert lists of Paladino’s “poor judgment”:
“Example: A photo showing a group of black men trying to get out of the way of an airplane that is apparently moving across a field. The caption reads: “Run niggers, run.”
Example: A doctored photo of President and Mrs. Obama showing the president in a stereotypical pimp’s costume holding the hand of the first lady, who is dressed as a prostitute in a grotesquely revealing outfit.
Example: A video clip of a nude couple engaged in intercourse with the title: “Miss France [expletive].” Mr. Paladino characterized it as “a keeper.”
Example: An image showing a woman performing a sexual act on a horse.”
No one in the Republican Party has taken the obvious next step and realized that these repeated emails call into question if Paladino’s judgment is good enough to put so much responsibility into his hands. I hope voters in New York ignore the differences between Paladino and his opponent Andrew Cuomo. After all, the New York state legislature will put reigns on both Paladino’s ultra right-wing proposals such as putting poor people into prison work camps and on Andrew Cuomo’s progressive instincts. Instead, New Yorkers, ask yourself if you want as Governor someone who would send these racist and degrading images.
And Maryland voters should ask themselves if they really want someone who is stupid enough to lie on her resume voting for them on nuclear treaties, war resolutions, economic recovery programs and other issues of national importance.