Thursday, January 12, 2012

From the Mouth of Babes

From the Mouth of Babes

Don’t ask how a dinner conversation with my 11 and 10 year old turned toward impeachment of a President...I’m not even sure how it happened.  One asked if a President had ever been impeached, the other said Andrew Johnson, I mentioned Nixon, the 10 year old reminded me that he resigned before he could be impeached, the 11 year old mentioned Clinton and so it went. In reality both Johnson and Clinton were impeached by the House of Representatives, but were acquitted by the Senate.
I then explained that Clinton had made a very bad personal decision, but that I felt that decision didn’t affect his work as President, didn’t constitute "high crimes and misdemeanors" as stipulated in the Constitution and therefore, while very disappointing, wasn’t grounds for impeachment. We then talked about how the opposition party had been very determined to undermine his Presidency by any means and how that was similar to President Obama’s current situation; now that I think of it that’s exactly where this conversation began. 
In Clinton’s case, since they couldn’t impeach based on anything he actually may have done, they made a case for impeachment based on the fact that he lied about what he had done (also not a “high crime or misdemeanor” as the Constitution requires).  So here’s where the insight of the young comes in handy.  My 11 year old then observed:

“So, if you’re the President and you lie you can be impeached, but it’s okay to lie if you’re running to be President and may even help you get elected!” 
I guess all the fact checking we’ve been doing after each GOP debate has paid off. For example, during the most recent debate Gingrich claimed that:
Under Obama, 2011 was the highest price of gasoline in history”.  In reality “the weekly record high was set during the week ending July 7, 2008, while Bush was president, at $4.114 per gallon. In fact, prior to last year, the record for the average annual cost of gasoline was set in 2008, when it reached $3.246. It dropped to $2.353 in 2009, before ticking up to $2.782 in 2010 and setting a new high mark of $3.521 last year.”                               ...Source: 
So, if Gingrich were actually President when he said that should that comment be grounds for impeachment or will false statements like that bring him further up in the polls and closer to the Presidency?
During the same debate Gingrich revisited his highly inflated fraud claim concerning Medicare and Medicaid saying 
“that by cutting ‘theft alone we could save $100 billion’ in Medicare and Medicaid, and that the only people punished would be “crooks.”It’s true that Medicare and Medicaid paid about $64.8 billion in “improper payments” in 2011 — not $100 billion — but not all of those payments were fraudulent. Furthermore, Congress has already passed a law implementing the very kinds of solutions that Gingrich touted in the past to recoup money lost to fraud.”                                                           ...Source:
We’ve had numerous dinner table conversations about various political lies, many of which are repeated by both students and teachers at my children’s elementary and middle schools...everything from death panels and 'birther' claims to Obama being Muslim. During a class discussion of the Boston Tea Party my son’s teacher said that it was about “taxation without representation, just like Obama now...but we MAY not have to have another revolution”.  She was just restating a lie that has been repeated over and over again, both by politicians on the right and Fox news, while ignoring the fact that her taxes, and the taxes of millions of middle class Americans, have been lowered by the Obama administration. In addition, this statement (and the various "take back our government" complaints) completely ignores the fact that we do indeed have a representative government and a President elected by the largest majority in history (365 to 173 electoral votes and 69.5 million popular votes).  

Politicians lying makes a difference.  People listen and many believe. Sometimes these lies make it into the classrooms of our children.  What example does that set? And what does it mean when an 11 year old observes that lying may get you impeached, but worse, it may also get you elected?  

One thing is for sure “lying isn’t nice”!
     ...Source: My ten year old daughter
At least that’s the view from my valley.


  1. gee, I don't see any comments about msnbc, or the "major news networks", being on the LEFT, I guess they ALL TELL THE TRUTH. Thats the comment from the desert!

    1. Thanks for the input. Besides the fact that I don't tune in to MSNBC I certainly would have sited them had it been germane to this particular discussion.

  2. Here's an editorial that that I saw today that covers similar ground;

  3. Excellent blog! Look forward to reading daily! Love the FACTS!