Wednesday, June 23, 2004

With the release of the 9/11 Commission report and former President Clinton’s autobiography, My Life, the airwaves are thick with “lies”. If it is not the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission publicly announcing that their report does support the Administration’s foes accusation that it is lying about contacts between Saddam Hussein’s’ Iraq and Al Qaeda, it is the former POTUS admitting to dissembling before a grand jury because Ken Starr was so mean.

While it is axiomatic that politicians do not tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, we have not developed a way to measure whether one politician bends the truth more than another one. Where is the John Bogle (the founder of Vanguard Funds and a relentless advocate of passive indexing) of the political world?

This advocate can develop an index that measures the amount of lying done throughout the political “market”. From this, a daily “return” can be calculated. We can then compare the amount of lying a politician does against this passive “return” to determine whether a particular politician is more of a liar than the typical one (deserving of the moniker “liar”) or less of one (deserving of the descriptor “honest”).

Without such a standard, I know President Bush will be labeled a “liar” by the Democrats, and former President Clinton as one by the Republicans, but will I ever know who is the true “liar” amongst his peers?

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