In his post-Beatle days as a radical peacenik, John Lennon penned a song entitled "Gimme Some Truth," the premise being that the U.S. government was unable and unwilling to do so as the Vietnam War dragged on and truth-challenged presidents like Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon occupied the White House. However, now that Lennon's generation is in power, we have three presidential candidates who may be even more truth-challenged than either Nixon or Johnson.
From Obama's dissembling about his raving lunatic of a pastor to Hillary's whopper about dodging hostile fire in Bosnia to McCain's insistence that he's really a conservative, truth seems to be in shorter supply than ever in this presidential campaign. In fact, until the Rev. Wright flap, Obama may have been the leading Democrat because he at least sounded more honest than his opponents, whether in fact he was.
And that's the point. Voters are looking for some level of honesty and integrity in their candidates for the highest office in this land, even in the current age of jaded cynicism in which we live. The ubiquitous polls are useful every now and then if only to demonstrate this fact. And the fact is, Hillary's negatives went up-way up-once her Bosnia tall tale was exposed. Not incidental to this was the drive-by liberal media's willingness to, for once, report some negative truth about a Clinton. No matter that their motivation was to make their new hero, Obama, look good by comparison; in any circumstance, turning on their once-beloved Clintons was newsworthy in itself.
Unfortunately, candidates who regularly play games with the truth will also support positions that are based on lies or half-truths, such as "global warming." On this issue, we really have no choice-all three major candidates left standing are solidly with the environmentalist whackos who now call the tune to which the politicians dance. McCain's war-hero status has largely exempted him from criticism of his integrity and character. However, how can he credibly call himself a conservative when he caves to the environmentalists so readily? How can he claim to have the same intensity as George W. Bush in fighting the war against terrorism when he wants to close Gitmo and eliminate so-called "water-boarding" as an interrogation technique?
The weakness of all three candidates stems in part from their inability to present a clear, honest portrayal of where they stand on the major issues and where they would like to take the country. That is why, even at this late date, some pundits are expecting surprises come convention time, more so for the Democrats but even with the Republicans. Al Gore's name has been bandied about as a possible savior of a deadlocked Democrat convention; and, as a self-proclaimed savior of the environment, it's a role the former vice president may relish. His penchant for whoppers of the first order does nothing to solve the Democrats' problem of finding a more honest candidate, however.
On the Republican side, there is some wishful thinking that a more conservative candidate may arise from nowhere to trump McCain's all-but-certain coronation a few months from now. McCain's buy-in to the fallacy that attacking a Democrat's position on an issue-or his or her honesty-is akin to making a personal attack, all but assures that his campaign will be weak and ineffectual. If he somehow manages to win the election, it will be more about surviving and not losing to an even more inept Democrat opponent. And that is why, for many of us, an alternative still looks good.