Are the Republican Candidates Honest?

Several candidates have participated in a circular firing squad, shooting accusations of dishonesty at each other.  Some accusations stick, some don’t.

Donald Trump has nick-named Ted Cruz as “Lying Ted”, because the Cruz campaign told voters that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race, when he wasn’t. He adds that Cruz accused him (Trump) of being for Obamacare when he has never been for Obamacare.

Donald also accused Ben Carson of being a liar.

In one of his books, Carson had said this:

I had always had a terrible temper, striking out at anyone who opposed me. One afternoon when I was fourteen, I argued with a friend named Bob. Pulling out a camping knife, I lunged at my friend. The steel blade struck his metal belt buckle and snapped

Trump cast doubt on this story. He told his audience:

Somebody hits you in the belt, the knife is going in because the belt moves this way,” Trump said. “It moves this way. It moves that way. He hit the belt buckle. You want to try it on me? Believe me it ain’t going to work. You’re going to be successful.

Ben Carson

Ben Carson

Interestingly, the politics website Daily Beast also casts doubt on Carson’s story quoting several different versions of the story that Carson told at different times.

A pro-Kasich PAC joined in with an ad saying Ted Cruz was “Lying Ted”, because a pro-Cruz PAC showed an ad with Kasich and billionaire George Soros, side by side. Soros is a big funder of extreme left wing causes. The ad gave the impression that Soros gave money to Kasich, which was untrue.

The pro-Cruz PAC then revised the ad to say “Hundreds of thousands of dollars from George Soros cronies” instead of the original “Hundreds of thousands of dollars from George Soros.” (The cronies were two donors – one of whom had managed assets for Soros, and the other who had been a chief investment officer for “Soros Fund Management”)



As for Rubio, leading conservative activist, Phyllis Schlafly says that “Once he got elected [to the Florida Senate], he betrayed us all” She added that she was startled at the magnitude of Rubio’s “betrayal” on amnesty.
“It was so public,” she said.

In office, Rubio advocated a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and a big increase in legal immigration.

Cruz has also been portrayed as a liar who wanted amnesty.

Then a Cruz campaign website came out with a doctored picture of Rubio shaking President Barack Obama’s hand next to the caption, “The Rubio-Obama Trade Pact.” Rubio advisor Todd Harris said that there was a “culture of dishonesty” in the Cruz campaign, and that “the latest example is a completely invented photo of Marco Rubio attacking us for a position that Ted Cruz himself held a few short months ago.”

Phillips, Cruz’s spokesman, soon tweeted out another photo, this one real, of Rubio shaking Obama’s hand at a State of the Union speech.

You can’t make this stuff up.

It gets stranger still. The communications director of the Cruz Campaign, Rick Tyler, put out a video that had Marco Rubio dismissing the Bible.
When that happened, Cruz fired Tyler.
“I have made clear in this campaign we will conduct this campaign with the very highest standards and integrity,” Cruz told reporters, adding that Tyler is a “good man.”
“This was a grave error of judgment. It turned out the news story he sent around was false but I’ll tell you, even if it was true, we are not a campaign that is going to question the faith of another candidate,” Cruz said.

So when the smoke clears, we are still left with one honest candidate who takes on the establishment, right? Donald Trump. Well, not exactly.

Before I go into accusations on Trump, I should say that when any accusation is made, the candidate’s explanation should be looked at.

For instance, to defend Cruz on the anti-Kasich ad, it should be pointed out that he didn’t put out that ad. A super Pac did, and under federal law, the Cruz super PAC is not allowed to coordinate with Cruz. PACs came into being because well-meaning reformers tried to take money out of politics, but one result of the reform was that the candidate loses control of the messages put out on his behalf.
Cruz also tried to defend himself on the Carson issue, saying that

Last night when our political team saw the CNN post saying that Dr. Carson was not carrying on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, our campaign updated grassroots leaders just as we would with any breaking news story. That’s fair game. What the team then should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out.

(A slight problem with this is that CNN had not characterized Carson’s actions in exactly that way, but the Cruz campaign seems to have been led by shmucks).

Cruz was accused of being deceptive in portraying himself as anti-illegal-immigration, but Senator Jeff Sessions explains that Cruz was principled.

The Gang of Eight (8 senators) had been meeting in secret for months, with President Obama. It was President Obama’s bill, in large part, along with Schumer and the Gang of Eight. They had the Chamber of Commerce, and they had La Raza, and they had the ACLU, and they had all these groups, but no law enforcement people were in it. No American citizens who were about to lose their jobs were invited in these secret meetings,” said Sessions, “[Cruz] opposed it.

In the case of Carson, his story of the stabbing episode has varied over the years, but memory can play tricks, since it is reconstructive in nature – we reconstruct patches of memory and glue them together in a way that makes sense, and then we believe our own story.

As for Rubio and his amnesty switch, he has tried to explain what happened. I lack room here, but he is accused in the Miami Herald of abandoning immigration reform to pursue a discourse pitched to non-Hispanic whites fearful of a demographically changing America.

Defending Trump is more difficult. These points have been raised about him:

1. Tim O’Brien, then a reporter for the New York Times, wrote in his book TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, that in one 24-hour period, Trump claimed two different net worths differing by $3.3 billion. He has never permitted an independent, third-party audit of his finances. The closest anyone has come is Deutsche Bank, which in 2005 estimated that Trump was worth . . . $788 million.

2. How was it that the star athlete at the New York Military Academy received a deferment for bone spurs in both heels? And how is it that those maladies seem to have disappeared, a miracle otherwise unknown in medical history?

3. Trump first challenged Megyn Kelly on Trump University during the most recent Republican presidential debate, at which she was a moderator. During a commercial break, Trump handed the moderators a faxed paper he said showed that Trump University, which is the subject of a fraud lawsuit in New York and a class-actions suits from some former students, currently has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Kelly noted Monday that the BBB denied sending the fax to the Trump campaign, and she added that the D-minus was never upgraded until after the name was changed to Trump Entrepreneurial Initiative and stopped accepting new students.

“Mr. Trump now accuses your humble debate moderator of dishonesty,” Kelly said. “We stand by our reporting, which has been verified by multiple news organizations as well as the Better Business Bureau. Trump University had a ‘D-minus’ rating before it went out of business in 2010. The claim about the ‘A’ is quite simply a head fake.”


The Democrats are worse. Hillary, for instance, told the families of the men who got killed by Islamic fanatics in Libya that they died due to an inflammatory video, and now she denies she said that, while the families stick by their story that she did.
Bernie Sanders says his model for Socialism is Scandinavia, but in reality, he was a big fan of the Marxist fanatics running Cuba and Nicaragua.


As the Billy Joel song says:

Honesty, is seldom ever heard
And mostly what I need from you.


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