the fallacy of campaign promises

We all fall into the trap of believing politicians when they make promises they either have no intention of keeping or are outside the realm of their ability to keep them.  It’s because we believe what we want to believe, without questioning the promise.  A little like the “til death do us part” promise in the marriage ceremony.  We don’t ask our partner, do you really mean that?  There is  absolutely no behavior on my part which would cause you to leave me?  Well, that’s pretty silly.  Of course there is behavior which would make me leave.  So the promise is a qualified promise.  The giver of the  promise may not have thought through the possibilities or may be lying – or saying what must be said in order to accomplish a goal of marriage.  The receiver of the promise should have examined the promise more carefully if it was really important to them that it be kept.  But we don’t.  We believe because we want to believe.

Reuters examines one example of the problem with believing campaign promises

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Friday urged a U.S. court to dismiss a lawsuit by gay married couples from Massachusetts who say they were unlawfully denied federal marriage benefits.

Well, that sounds like a broken promise to me.  And to members of the gay community.  But the reality is he had no choice.

But the gay community has been angered by the Obama administration’s defense of the law in court proceedings. Justice Department officials say they are obligated to defend federal statutes when they are challenged.

“In making this filing, the department is bound by the only precedent that exists, which is that no court has found such a right to federal benefits based upon marital status to be constitutionally required,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler.

The Government is required to defend Federal Statutes.  Was President Obama lying when he made the promise?  We don’t have any way to know that.  We do know one thing though.  President Obama should have known his administration would have to defend Federal Statutes.  He is, after all, a constitutional expert.

Most politicians promise whatever they think they need to in order to get elected.  The lesson to be learned here is that the politician not promising what you demand might be the most honest politician.   And maybe voting on a single-issue basis isn’t the best idea.  A better idea might be to elect honest, learned, wise representatives who faithfully represent the best interests of their constituency even if they don’t seem to agree with you on your favorite issue.  At least then you have some hope of persuading someone like that to consider your point of view instead of believing the promises of someone who will say anything to get elected.


I take full responsibility for my own opinions, comments and slurs against asshats.  I'm just another guy with just another opinion. Although, I may be turning into my father who my mother always said was 'the world's foremost authority."



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