View Full Version : Why I don't trust Politicians, vindicated.

09-11-2006, 08:07 AM
Study finds whole lot of half-truths in Congress

By Richard Morin
Special to The Washington Post
Published September 11, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress tell the whole truth only about a quarter of the time when debating major legislation on the floors of the House and Senate.

Instead, legislators mostly rely on half-truths, misleading exaggerations or outright inaccuracies when debating the nation's business, according to two political scientists who have studied the quality of debate in Congress.

Gary Mucciaroni of Temple University and Paul Quirk of the University of British Columbia sought to see how truthful America's lawmakers were in debating three major bills: welfare overhaul in 1995-96, the fate of the estate tax in 1999-2000 and telecommunications deregulation in 1996.

The two meticulously sifted through the Congressional Record to identify key claims made by each side to support its case and to rebut the assertions of opponents. They also compared the claims with available data to see whether they were true, false or somewhere in between. In all, they examined the accuracy of 18 claims in 43 separate House and Senate debates.

Researchers judged the claims made in only 11 of the 43 debates to have been largely substantiated by the facts. An additional 16 were deemed to be "unsubstantiated" -- a polite way of saying they were misleading, mostly false or flatly wrong--while 16 were an artful mix of fact and fiction, they report in their new book, "Deliberative Choices: Debating Public Policy in Congress."

Does one party tell whoppers more often than the other? It's hard to tell, Mucciaroni said.

"The Republicans performed worse than the Democrats in the welfare and estate tax debates, but not as much in telecommunications," Mucciaroni said. "We feel that this is probably due to the Republicans controlling Congress, especially the House.

"We might expect Democrats to do as poorly if they were in control . . . because majority status emboldens the majority to make more extravagant claims, and they feel pressure to deliver `results."'

They stopped short of asserting that members of the House and Senate lied to advance their positions.

"We don't pretend to know whether they are lying, are ignorant, or misperceive the facts and informed opinion on an issue," Mucciaroni said.

09-11-2006, 01:43 PM
This is new?? :usa2:


09-11-2006, 02:29 PM
If you want a fun exercise in half truths, dig into the embryonic stem cell debates… :violent1:

09-11-2006, 03:58 PM
11 out of 43 right isn't so bad. I'm sure that's passing on those high school exit exams.

Now, I wonder what the analysis of debates over recent military activity would show...

09-11-2006, 05:12 PM
<<"We don't pretend to know whether they are lying, are ignorant.." >>

Reminds me of the joke...

One person asked another; "Are you ignorant, or just plain apathetic?"

The simple reply: "I don't know, and I don't care!"

09-14-2006, 02:59 PM
Why I don't trust Politicians, vindicated.

Having said that, I just found out that my Uncle, Ulysses S. Grant, has just won the republican primary in Delaware for a seat in the House of Representatives, I'm thinking it's State Level and not for a seat in the US Congress, but I'll have to check up on that. In either case he's a great guy, for a Republican anyway. Hope he makes it in November.


09-14-2006, 05:12 PM

That name is priceless! :toothy12:

Well, let's hope one of the good guys gets elected. That will certainly be a switch!



09-15-2006, 12:53 AM
That name is priceless! :toothy12:
Well, let's hope one of the good guys gets elected. That will certainly be a switch!

Ulysses S. Grant, yep that's his real name, and if that's not a patriotic enough... he was born on the 4th of July.

09-18-2006, 09:41 AM
my aunt Christine Jennings just won the something or others somewhere in florida lol..... shes running for governer so maybe she won the primaries for her district?

politicians are more concerned with getting elected and staying in office than they are in doing what the people want or what they think is best for the people and our country.

Its like when a guy is drunk at a party (or completely sober in any other situation) and hitting on a girl, he tells her what she wants to hear so she will believe what she wants to believe.