Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pants on Fire! Trump outlies Cruz!

There's been a lot of nasty infighting in the Presidential campaign this year, with repeated accusations of lying. In particular Donald Trump, and to a lesser degree, Marco Rubio, have been going after Ted Cruz. Trump has even accused Cruz of being the biggest liar he's ever met (or words to that effect - I don't want to be accused of lying!).

I decided to do some checking, so I went to Politifact - a Pulitzer Prize winning site that measures the truthfulness of a number statements by groups/and public figures, and especially politicians. Yes, I know some people like to attack Politifact as "liberal,"and Politifact doesn't check every single statement candidates make. I also sometimes question some of their interpretations, but I've found they do their checking and are generally pretty reliable.

When measuring, they have a scale with six categories and say what percentage of the person's statements fit under each: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False, and my personal favorite, Pants on Fire. 

I view the last three as "lies." Of course, some folks may be saying lies but really believe them to be true, so calling someone a liar may be unfair in these cases. Trump has called Cruz a liar. Rubio has said Cruz is telling lies. There is a difference.

Here's Politifact's assessments of 86 statements by the often accused Cruz:

True 5%
Mostly True 15%
Half True 12%
Mostly False 29%
False 33%
Pants on Fire 7%

Not good. That makes 69% of his statements lies. But let's see how his two main accusers rate.

Trump (93 statements):

True  1%
Mostly True 5%
Half True 16%
Mostly False 18%
False 40%
Pants on Fire 19%

Trump clearly trumps Cruz, with a whopping 77% of his statements being deemed lies. And he gets a lot more "pants on fire" rulings.

And Rubio (134 statements):

True 13%
Mostly True 23%
Half True 21%
Mostly False 24%
False 16%
Pants on Fire 3%

Marco, Marco, Marco - 43% of your statements are lies. Shame on you. BUT - of the three involved in this veracity spat, Rubio lies the least! And he has the fewest "pants on fire" rulings.

Here's how the other candidates this year score.

Jeb Bush ( 75 statements):

True 18%
Mostly True 29%
Half True 22%
Mostly False 22%
False 6%
Pants on Fire 3%

Jeb! The fewest lies so far at 31%.

Ben Carson (only 27 statements):

True 0%
Mostly True 4
Half True 11
Mostly False 26
False 44
Pants on Fire 15

Yikes, at 85% of his statements being deemed lies the good doctor lies even more than Trump! But there are only a few statements assessed, so maybe the folks at Politifact don't take him very seriously. I know I don't consider him a viable candidate. And I suspect a lot of his lies are of the ignorance kind - he restates false information believing it to be true.

John Kasich (56 statements)

True 27%
Mostly True 25%
Half True 16%
Mostly False 14%
False 13%
Pants on Fire 5%

With 32% of his statements being ruled lies, the Governor gets edged by Bush for lying the least.

How about the Democrats?

Hillary Clinton (159 statements):

True 25%
Mostly True 25%
Half True 21%
Mostly False 14%
False 13%
Pants on Fire 1%

Hillary beats all the Republicans with only 28% of her statements being classified as lies.

And what of Bernie Sanders? (63 statements):

True 16%
Mostly True 32%
Half True 31%
Mostly False 16%
False 16%
Pants on Fire 0%

Bernie is not guilty of any "pants on fire" offenses, but at 32% he did tell more lies than Hillary.

At least as far at the assessed statements go, Bush and Kasich told the fewest lies on the Republican side, and of the Democrats Bernie basically ties them while Hillary edges all three.

As for the GOP infighting over lying, Cruz is bad, but his chief  accuser, Trump, is even worse.  And Rubio lies the least of the three.

On the positive side - True and Mostly True - the winner is .... Kasich (52%), followed by Clinton (50%), Sanders (48%), Bush (47%), Rubio (36%), Cruz (20%), Trump (6%), and Carson (4%).

So you could say Kasich is the most truthful of all the candidates left in the race. And Rubio is the most truthful of the trio tossing around accusations of lying.

There are other factors to consider in the race, of course. Hillary is truthful when she states her extremist support for abortion, for example - and that's just one of the reasons why I would never vote for her.

Stay tuned. I'm sure there are more statements - and lies - to come.

Pax et bonum

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