Have you ever wondered why politicians are willing to blatantly lie?

U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) looks at his notes before a news conference about the goal of permanently extending Bush-era tax rates at the U.S. Capitol in Washington December 2, 2010. Pence told reporters on Thursday his view on stripping the Fed

“Nah, they’ll never call me out on this one …”

Have you ever wondered why politicians are so willing to lie? The answer is easy: Because they can. Look no further than Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s Sunday appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, where he repeatedly refused to say if his state’s “religious freedom” bill was a license to discriminate against gays, and repeatedly claimed that the bill was the same as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) signed into law nearly 20 years ago. At this point one might think, wow, the media will chew Pence up and spit him out for that pathetic performance. Cue Politico:

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Sunday sternly defended his state’s new religious freedom law from what he called “reckless” and “shameless” media coverage, claiming Indiana has been hit with “an avalanche of intolerance.”

And by “sternly,” we can only assume that Politico meant Pence managed to keep a straight face while peddling his lies and avoiding answering yes or no questions. But what about the six or seven times Pence refused to answer the simple question, does Indiana’s new law allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians? Surely Politico got around to mentioning that? Nope. Instead they went with rewriting history (well, the transcript anyway):

He also insisted the new law wouldn’t allow bakers or florists to refuse to serve gay couples, something supporters of the legislation have claimed it would allow.

No, he did not. When asked that question directly, over and over again, Pence responded with (in order):

  • “Well, let—let me explain to you, the purpose of this bill is to empower …” and
  • “George, this is—this is where this debate has gone, with—with misinformation,” and
  • “Well—well, this—there’s been shameless rhetoric about my state,” and
  • “George, look, the issue here is, you know, is tolerance a two way street or not,” and
  • “George, the—the question here is if the—if there is a government action or a law that an individual believes impinges on their religious liberty,” and
  • “Come on. Hoosiers don’t believe in discrimination.”

So, can you name even one time Pence “insisted the new law wouldn’t allow bakers or florists to refuse to serve gay couples”? Nope. But that was Politico’s take on it.

Why do politicians lie? Because they can. And they get a lot of help from their friends.

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