The Ivory Soap Campaign

When my brother and I were kids with smart mouths that sometimes said words kids (and adults!) have no business saying, our parents brought out the Ivory soap and gave us an appreciation of the value in telling the truth.

I’m here to tell you today that we need a big old bar of Ivory soap to wash out the filth pouring out of politicians’ mouths these days. (Fair warning to McCain supporters — this blog is not a partisan blog today. I’ve been doing some checking, and angry is too mild a word to describe the way I’m feeling at the moment about our entire political process with both mainstream political parties.)

In fact, I’m thinking of striking up a new party. Let’s call ourselves the Honestarians. We tell the truth. There are no lies or half lies. Strange notion, huh? Who ever heard of an honest politician? It’s actually a joke among us that our elected leaders are corrupted. After all, that’s part of the fun, right?

Consider the words of “Honest Abe,” who really did seek to earn the respect of the fellow men who he served:

Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition…I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.”

In fact, President Lincoln believed honesty to be such a virtue that he counseled those studying to be lawyers that if they realized they could not be honest lawyers, then they should not be lawyers at all.

Resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer.

I propose we slap Lincoln’s words across every newspaper and blog in the nation, only this time we substitute “politician” for “lawyer.” If in your own judgment you cannot be an honest politician, resolve to be honest without being a politician. Drop out of the race. Today.

McCain should fire every staff member who has written speeches for him and created ads for him that smack of anything dishonest…and there are plenty of them. Likewise, Obama has a lot of house cleaning to do if he wants to rise above politics as usual and, for once, speak plainly and truly to the American people.

Wake up! We are the ones wandering along like sheep, taking in whatever we hear on the news or read in the papers or on the internet as fact. We are letting both campaigns get away with downright lies. Those of us Christians who are McCain supporters need to demand accountability, just as Obama supporters need to demand accountability of their candidate. The media is falling down on the job — it is doing precious little to counteract the lies the campaigns tell. And when we fall for it hook, line and sinker, we fall down on our job.

But one person with pen and paper, or with a telephone, or with a computer and internet connection can bring about change for the greater good. After you read the lies I’m getting ready to expose, I highly suggest you get on the phone or the internet and contact the candidate you support. Demand that the campaign come clean and threaten to withhold your vote if they don’t.

The Lord detests lying lips. Period. I cannot in good conscience vote for a candidate who spins the truth and varnishes the warts to try to come off looking perfect. I want the facts — the true facts, not the ones that are taken out of context.

To be fair, I will begin with just a few of the lies, half-truths, and deceptions running amok in both campaigns. There are so many that I can’t possibly write them here. Nonpartisan and nonprofit group FactCheck.org has been following the whoppers of the campaigns and has already compiled so many that they have issued a special “Whoppers of 2008” edition — and the election is still one month and one day away. Granted, you can’t rely on everything you read online. I tried to use examples that had corroborating evidence and weren’t just statements of left-leaning opinion.

McCain’s Smoke and Mirrors

McCain says Obama will raise your taxes

McCain has said that Obama would raise taxes on people earning $32K a year and has run an ad claiming that Obama wants an energy tax. According to FactCheck.org, Obama has not proposed new taxes for gas or oil. The quote the McCain campaign used was from an interview Obama did with the San Antonio Express-News. He was asked how he would fund education, and the reporter suggested taxing alternative fuels. Obama said that he would rather tax “dirty” energy sources but then went on to say that education needs to be a priority at the local level. The reporter is the one who mentioned taxing energy, not Obama. Obama did vote for a budget resolution that would have raised taxes on a single person earning $41,500 a year and on couples earning $83,00 a year, but those are not in his current tax plan. McCain’s $32K figure is actually taxable income, which is different than total income. I can only assume McCain and his staffers latched on to the $32K figure because it painted Obama in a worse light…but it’s not completely true. Why couldn’t they have honestly used the real numbers? The Tax Policy Center says that under Obama’s plan, 81.3 percent of American families would see tax cuts (and not 90%, as Obama claims). McCain should focus his energies on discussing the other 19.7% of households who would see rises in their taxes. I would assume that these people vote, too.

McCain: Obama thinks Iran isn’t a problem

In this case, the McCain campaign took a statement Obama made and completely twisted it around. McCain has said that Obama said Iran was “tiny” and “didn’t pose a serious threat.” Actually, Obama said Iran was tiny compared with the Soviet Union and doesn’t pose as serious a threat as the Soviet Union’s thousands of nuclear weapons posed a threat.

McCain and Palin: Alaska produces 20% of nation’s energy supply and 20% of nation’s oil and gas supply

Again, according to FactCheck.org, these are false statements. The truth? Alaska provides 3.5% of energy supply and 7.4% of our nation’s oil and gas supply. Alaska did produce 14% of the nation’s oil last year, but that is not the nation’s energy supply. Why not use the real figures and terminology instead of inflating them and distorting them? It’s difficult enough for Joe Six Pack to understand meaning of “domestic energy production” vs “percentage of oil from all US oil wells.” (there is a difference, but I couldn’t tell you what it is! If you’d said the truth in the first place, you wouldn’t end up with egg on your face).

Alaska’s Bridge to Nowhere

Governor Palin came out strong in her acceptance speech, telling America that Alaskans shunned pork barrel politics by saying “Thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. Actually, Palin supported the legislation that would have provided for that bridge when she was campaigning for Governor. The Bridge would have gone to a sparsely populated area, but it connected with an airport. Palin thought at the time that it would have been a good thing for Alaska. (Biden and Obama both voted for it.) Then the legislation was changed, and Alaska was given the funds but the requirement that the funds be tied to the bridge was stripped from the language. So as Governor, Palin had the money from the feds but chose not to use it for the bridge because it wasn’t enough to cover the cost. Alaska used the money for other infrastructure projects. That in itself was not dishonest. But to stand up and imply that she turned down the federal money because it was a pork barrel project? That’s just not true.

McCain on Obama’s education ‘accomplishment’

A McCain ad claims that Obama’s one education accomplishment was legislation to teach ‘comprehensive sex ed’ to kindergarteners. What McCain left out was that the bill also said the education was to be ‘age-appropriate.’ The outright lie is that this was Obama’s ONE education accomplishment. For one thing, the legislation died. For another, Obama did not sponsor or co-sponsor or write it. How can something that wasn’t done be labeled an accomplishment? As a US Senator, Obama sponsored 3 amendments to the America Competes legislation that have become law — one creates a mentoring program for women and minority groups as they study in Department of Energy programs, one supports summer learning programs, and the other requires women and minorities to be included in the President’s Science and Technology Summit. Rather than scare-mongering about sex ed, McCain could have gone after Obama for his co-sponsoring of Illinois legislation that would have allowed high school graduates be eligible for in-state tuition even if they weren’t US citizens.

Obama’s Smoke and Mirrors

Obama: McCain will take away and privatize social security benefits

According to FactCheck.org, this is one of the big ObamaWhoppers. McCain agreed with Bush’s social security plan…which would not have cut benefits for anyone who gets a check now or who is nearing retirement. Obama has been all over the economic crisis, claiming over and over that if McCain had his way to privatize social security, people’s benefits would have crashed in the recent plunge in the stock market. This is also untrue and is a scare tactic aimed at the little old lady who gets all her news and knowledge from the campaign advertisements. The Bush plan that McCain supported would not have allowed anyone born before 1950 to privatize any amount of their social security, so anyone currently receiving social security benefits would not have been touched by the market crash at all.

Obama plays with numbers

Obama says that McCain took 2 million dollars in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. At that time, he was wrong by 700K. (Even my fourth grader knows that when you are rounding numbers, 1.3 million is rounded down to 1 million…not rounded up to 2 million.) Like McCain, Obama’s campaign would be better served if they used actual figures rather than puffing them up to make them fit into the image. Obama also accuses McCain of planning to give $4 Billion in tax cuts to oil companies. This is also a half-truth — the corporate tax cuts are across the board, not specifically devoted to oil companies. Obama has also said that his own tax plan would cut taxes for 90% of Americans — yet the smarties who analyze economic plans have said his plan would cut taxes for 81.3% of Americans. Once again a problem with rounding up when it would have been better to just leave the figure alone.

Obama: McCain will stay in Iraq 100 years

According to FactCheck.org, McCain’s statement was taken out of context. McCain was referring to American troops having a peacetime presence in an area such as we now have in Korea…not in a war, as Obama ominously implies. And people in America who are tired of the war latch on to his misleading “100 years” comment end up thinking that McCain is a hawk who would have America still shooting from tanks 100 years from now.

Obama: McCain muddling through

Obama claims that McCain said America would just “muddle through” the problems in Afghanistan. Again, he took McCain’s words out of context. In fact, in 2003 McCain said America “may” muddle through because there are areas in Afghanistan that are “dicey” and aren’t under the control of either the Afghan or Pakistan governments. He said he was “guardedly optimistic” but also as a realist he knew that the Afghan government had little power over the warlords operating on the border. (and we now know he was right as trouble has sprung up all along the border.) Both candidates have recently supported sending more troops to Afghanistan, but Obama said that only he supported more troops while McCain supported “muddling through” the problems. Again, that’s a lie.

Obama says McCain is a Bush Clone

Obama accuses McCain of voting along party lines (the anti-maverick) 90% of the time. Senator McCain has voted with Bush an average of 89% of the time, but it varied year-by-year. In 2005, he voted with him 77% of the time. But Barack fails to mention that he himself voted along the party lines an average of 97%. Hmmm. If we’re talking about real change coming to Washington, tell us where you would deviate from lines. Give us some examples of ways in which YOU would be a political maverick instead of criticizing McCain.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of lies, half-truths, and deceptions from both of these candidates. You can read about plenty more at FactCheck.org, if you have the stomach for it. If you are fed up, then let them know about it. If enough of us “Joe Six Packs” and Homeschoolers and Conservative Christians and Christian Liberals cry foul, maybe the candidates will rise above the filth they find themselves in.

We aren’t the only generation that must deal with leaders who lie to get what they want. From Psalms 12:

Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed,
preserving them forever from this lying generation,
even though the wicked strut about,
and evil is praised throughout the land.

Clearly lying is something that Jesus was concerned about because it speaks to the condition of a person’s heart.

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Matthew 15:10-11

I would much rather my candidate tell the truth and lose than lie in order to win the election. How can my faith justify the lies my candidate is putting out in the media? This conservative is fed up with the whoppers both candidates are making and getting away with right and left.

Earlier in my blog I encouraged you to contact the candidate you support. I will do the same — but to get some extra attention, I’m going to send my letter along with a picture of a bar of Ivory soap. (Remember the old ad campaign…it’s so pure, it floats!) If you do the same, maybe they’ll get the message. Reform for Washington starts right now, and it starts with telling the truth not just some of the time. Not just a conservative or liberal’s version of the truth, but the real truth, all of the time.

We’ll call it the Ivory Soap Campaign.

If you agree with me, send your candidate a picture of Ivory soap and a scathing letter demanding the truth. When you’ve done so, leave me a comment. Do you think five letters with images of soap will draw some attention? How about fifty? A hundred? Here is a link to the letter I wrote today to Senator McCain. Feel free to use it for yourself, but be sure to put your own information on it!

sample-letter

Here are links to the candidate’s addresses:

McCain

Obama

(Obama’s campaign says it will only accept envelopes size #10. All others will be returned. So if you’re sending him a letter with a picture of soap, make sure it fits in the standard envelope.)

Tell your candidate you want some honest, clean debate, and not the dishonest sound bites that have become politics-as-usual. It’s time for some real reform, today.

2 thoughts on “The Ivory Soap Campaign

  1. I agree 100% that both sides lie, that there may be little to no honesty in Washington anymore, and that we need to raise our standards. However, be careful putting too much stock in everything you read at factcheck.org. They’ve been leaning a bit lately, some say. I’ve been reading some things about them that make me wonder how much we can trust what even THEY say!

    (Google about their article on Obama and the NRA, for starters. Questionable at best.)

    Anyway, I don’t trust a single politician anymore. Politics has become ugly, disgusting, and downright sinful. Honestly, there are times I consider not voting at all!

  2. Thanks, Missy! I looked them up. Everyone has an agenda….even so-called nonpartisan groups like FactCheck. But I do think the McCain campaign should at least have a section on their website refuting or at least explaining why they say what they say and responding to the FactCheck statements (Huckabee’s site used to do that, and I really appreciated it.)

    I have a McCain sign in my yard, but I’m not real sure I’ll even vote. I hope he cleans up his act. It would make me respect him all the more.

    Why do we put up with it? They are ultimately accountable to us, the voters…and as long as we let them slide, they won’t clean up their acts.

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