Millions of Americans are sick of politics. Maybe it's partly because so many politicians distort facts to make their party look good and the opposing party look bad.
During the GOP convention, fact-checkers unanimously said a rouser speech by vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was a classic of distortion. Some examples:
• Ryan denounced President Obama for cutting $716 billion from Medicare -- but he didn't mention that the Obama cuts won't affect seniors, or that Ryan's own budget plan would make the same reductions.
• Ryan berated Obama for not implementing a debt-reduction strategy devised by the Bowles-Simpson task force -- but he didn't mention that Ryan, as a task force member, voted against the strategy.
• Ryan scolded Obama for appearing at an endangered General Motors plant in Wisconsin during the 2008 campaign and vowing to keep it open for "another 100 years" -- but Ryan didn't mention that the plant already was scheduled for closure, and GM later shut it down during the Bush term, or that Obama's bailout plan saved other GM plants.
Slanted, one-sided half-truths are so common in politics that it would be a jolt if any candidate ever was upfront about his or her side's flaws.
For example, Mitt Romney's campaign website says his work at Bain Capital was "fixing struggling businesses and giving new businesses a shot at success." The pitch carefully omits firms that were bled for profits by Bain, then went bankrupt or moved their jobs to China.
For example, Romney's site says Obama's "failed policies have left us with record high unemployment" -- but that's untrue. America's jobless rate was higher in 1982, 1975 and of course during the Great Depression. And the site doesn't mention that the latest crash and job wipeout occurred under Republican President George W. Bush (who strangely was absent from the GOP convention, as if his appearance would be an embarrassment).
Analysts predict that about 90 million registered American adults won't bother to vote in the Nov. 6 national election. That's depressing. Perhaps they're disgusted by all the distortions and smears.Meanwhile, the rest of U.S. adults who care enough about their country to vote can take comfort in knowing that only two months of half-truths remain.