Americans say they want honesty,
but they also admire a ruthless leader.
After I wrote a post about a woman who lied about sexual violence against women, with me asking whether lies hurt or help, I found an article about presidents who lie.
John Blake from CNN said that, in many situations, we want leaders who lie.
"I cannot tell a lie."
That’s the signature line from a classic American story. When the nation’s first president was asked as a boy if he had chopped down his father’s cherry tree, he didn’t say "I can neither confirm nor deny those reports," or "it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is."
George Washington told the truth even if it got him in trouble. The moral of the story — Washington was a great leader because he would not lie, and all presidents should be as honest as our founding father.
Well, guess what? That story about Washington and the cherry tree is a lie. Never happened. And the notion that a good president doesn’t lie to the American people — that’s an illusion as well. Historians say many of our greatest presidents were the biggest liars — and duplicity was part of their greatness.
"Every president has not only lied at some time, but needs to lie to be effective," says Ed Uravic, a former Washington lobbyist, congressional chief of staff and author of "Lying Cheating Scum."
It’s a good read, and will also explain why we don’t consider honest Jimmy Carter a great president: Of course presidents lie, CNN>>