The decline of presidential integrity

Jul 18 2012 - 10:24am

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United State Capitol
United State Capitol

 

 

 

 

Having spent a large part of my career as an executive officer in a listed corporation, I became very familiar with a wide variety of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. Having worked on projects that required our attorneys to prepare various SEC filings, I was immediately aware that the Barack Obama campaign's recent claim that Romney either lied to the public about outsourcing jobs at Bain Capital or filed a false document with the SEC stating he was president and CEO of Bain, was an untrue smear intended to besmirch Romney's character to the American voters.

 

The Washington Post article entitled "Do Bain SEC documents suggest Mitt Romney is a criminal?" by Glenn Kessler, dated July 13, offers conclusive proof that the Obama campaign's claims against Romney in this matter are groundless.

Obama's closest and most trusted adviser, attorney Valerie Jarrett, was a member of the board of Chicago Stock Exchange (2000-2007, chairman, 2004-2007). She also serves on the board of directors of USG Corporation, a Chicago-based corporation which is regulated by the SEC. Jarrett's training as an attorney, plus her high-level involvement with these two entities would have made her very familiar with the validity of what Romney filed at the SEC. Jarrett, a very savvy business attorney, would have known the Obama campaign's assertions against Romney were blatantly false. Obama himself, the recipient of a Harvard law degree, wouldn't need 10 minutes of instruction to understand the purpose of Romney's SEC filing and thus has to know his campaign is lying about Romney.

So why does Obama continue to allow lies about Romney with respect to this matter? Why does he continue to support lies when the Washington Post so easily exposed this falsehood about Romney's SEC filings (they gave it three Pinocchios)? The answer is because the vast majority of Americans know little about SEC filings and therefore Obama believes the public won't get that it's a lie. Moreover, what you and I call lies are for U.S. presidents thinly drawn lines of complex logical nuance designed to gain and hold the greatest power our world can bestow on an individual.

Take Richard Nixon, for example. He resigned from office for lying about his involvement in covering-up the break in of the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel rather than face impeachment. His defense was that he didn't explicitly authorize the break in and nuanced that concealing the cover-up wasn't a crime. Thus his famous and oft mocked statement; "I am not a crook."

President Clinton admitted to lying while under oath about the Monica Lewinsky affair, but since the lie did not affect matters of national policy it was ultimately excused and Clinton remained in office despite impeachment. Clinton uttered perhaps the most finely nuanced statement of all time; "it depends what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

So here is a sample of some of President Obama's highly nuanced positions:

 

Omissions and half-truths

Obama was never straightforward about his relationship with Chicago-based terrorist William Ayers, ("just a guy who lived in the neighborhood") or his relationship with Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright, in whose pews Obama sat for 20 years listening to anti-American sermons of "Black Liberation Theology." We still haven't heard the whole truth from Obama.

Acceptance of others' lies for his benefit

Obama's surrogates lied about his membership in the Chicago branch of the now defunct "New Party." The New Party believed in a new world order of socialism which called for the elimination of U.S. influence worldwide as evidenced in its principle as follows: "Such moral irrelevancies as race, gender, age, and country of origin[emphasis added] ... undermines the very idea of a democratic society." Obama never corrected his surrogates whose statements were later proved to be false by membership applications and minutes of meetings.

Embellishments

Even though it's very clear that Obama was born in Hawaii; he lied about it in a biography published in 1991 by Barack Obama's then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel. The biography stated that Obama was"born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii." Undoubtedly Obama believed he needed to embellish his resume' with international gravitas to improve potential sales of his then-planned book "Journeys in Black and White."

This column would be much too long to recount all of Obama's half-lies and embellishments.

While some of them may be inconsequential, it used to be that with most people it only takes two or three minor lies to get to the point where people begin to distrust even the noteworthy truths they do tell; but it's not so with Obama.

I recall reading articles by the fanatical anti-Clinton groups -- at the time of the Monica Lewinsky affair -- claiming that any lie, no matter how inconsequential, lowered the standards of acceptable behavior in the presidency. In times past, many Americans considered the U.S. presidency a high and holy office that demanded the highest possible standards of integrity. Unfortunately, transgressions of past office holders (including Nixon, Clinton, and others) have numbed the electorate to presidential dishonesty and diluted the acceptable level of integrity needed to hold the office of president of the United States. It is not Clinton, Nixon, and Obama, but how "We the People" vote, that have allowed these offenses of good conscience to no longer offend.

Dickson is a retired executive in the energy and natural resources sector who lives in Pleasant View.

 

 

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