While Justin is keeping us abreast of the lies, misstatements and fudges coming from Republicans, I thought I’d take a moment for a little site balancing and remind everyone that obfuscation is congenital not to any particular party but to the entire species known as politicians. Unsurprisingly, a scan of PoliFact reveals some recent dodges, weaves and misdirections from not just McCain/Palin but from Barack Obama as well.

Following are quotes directly snipped from the Obama fact-checking pages of the non-partisan PoliFact. You can read full entries here.

Claim: “Joe Biden brought Republicans and Democrats together to pass the 1994 crime bill, putting 100,000 cops on the streets and starting an eight-year drop in crime across the country.”

Truth: Several independent analyses concluded the program resulted in far fewer than 100,000 new officers on the street; and that while crime did drop, there were other more significant reasons. The effect of the COPS program was modest.

Claim: “The fact is that although we have had a president who is opposed to abortion over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down.”

Truth: Obama’s statement is directly contradicted by statistics that show legal abortions have fallen since the start of the 21st century.

Claim: “I argued for years that we need to move from a ‘Musharraf policy’ to a ‘Pakistan policy.’”

Truth: If Obama had said he has been advocating this position for months, he’d be on solid footing. … But when he says it’s a position he has argued “for years” he is giving himself more credit than even his campaign can confirm.

So, while this post in no way is meant to excuse any shenanigans coming out of the McCain/Palin campaign, if we’re going to get worked up over Palin’s fudging on when exactly she opposed the “Bridge to Nowhere” and McCain’s misstatement on exactly how Palin sold the Alaska governor’s plane, it’s only fair to point out that Obama/Biden are not paragons of accuracy either. Through purposeful exaggeration or plain ignorance of the facts, both campaigns are often less than 100% factual in the way the describe their records and the records of their opponents.

It’s really easy to get upset by the “other side’s” obfuscations. Problem is, all sides distort records and facts to their own advantage. Except in the cases of dangerous lies or when a politician is hiding criminal behavior, I tend to let these things roll off my back. Otherwise, I’d be so cynical I’d be unable to vote for anyone.

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