Smith: Is lying a substitute for leadership?

Smith: Is lying a substitute for leadership?

May 20th, 2013 in Opinion Columns

Robin Smith, former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and congressional candidate.

The average person is lied to 10 to 200 times daily, according to research conducted by Pamela Meyer, CEO of Calibrate, a fraud-detection firm in Washington, D.C.

These scores of falsehoods dished out range "from the white lies that allow society to function smoothly to the devastating duplicities that bring down corporations and break up families." And cause monumental distrust at all levels of society.

While Meyer, a Harvard MBA who's also a certified fraud examiner, offers her sad writings on the "pandemic of deception" encountered in our culture, no greater examples have been provided than the recent scandals involving the administration of Barack Obama.

The rejected reality of the terrorist attacks during the 2012 election cycle resulted in rewritten talking points by those leading America's national security regarding the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the deaths of four Americans. The truth was displaced with a lie laying blame to a YouTube video mocking Mohammed.

Back in 2010, the Obama administration's IRS began to screen tax documents and applications through the political lens of anti-Obama versus pro-Obama.

Almost 500 organizations have proof of targeting through excessive, inappropriate questioning at the hands of the IRS.

Yet, for the last three years, testimony has been offered by the IRS that no such targeting or censorship was occurring.

The best example of this chilling lie is of Drew Ryun's group, Media Trackers, that applied for tax-exempt status but self-reported their conservative leanings in July 2011. After an inquiry during the delay, Ryun, a former Republican National Committee staffer, was told in April 2012 that his application was still being processed and to check back in two months.

In September 2012, after still no approval, he submitted an application for another group for tax-exempt status that was granted in three weeks. The group? Greenhouse Solutions.

Other scandals are bubbling up within the Obama administration -- the gunrunning Fast and Furious, The Associated Press monitoring of 100 writers' business and personal phone records, the secretary of health extorting money from health care companies, just to name a few.

In using Meyer's description of honest-brokers, Americans can clearly discern the dishonesty involved.

Attitude is the first indicator. The behavior and attitude of cooperation and willingness to get to the truth will be demonstrated and often will be accompanied by the provision of details and enthusiastic assistance. The wrongly accused will have the expression of anger, not just on an episodic basis, but throughout the process with a commitment to quick resolution.

Interestingly, when an "honest man is asked" about the penalty for a breach of trust by lying, the punishment is most frequently strict, while those who are casual with the truth are noncommittal to answer or suggests more lenient terms.

Lying is no substitute for leadership and only camouflages the bankruptcy of ideas and principles of those whose character doesn't embrace the truth.

Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009. She is a partner in the Smith, Waterhouse Strategies business development and strategic planning firm.