Saturday, September 1, 2012

To What Standard?

Most of you know that I lean to the left in my politics, but not religiously so. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal was a very popular term when I was growing up and I always felt it described me well. Looking back at what he said and did as Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney was the kind of Republican that I probably could have supported. Then came his big turn to the right, his change of point of view on important social issues and I turned away. His choice of running mate sealed the deal for me, because I find it very hard to support a man like Paul Ryan. I could never put my finger on why I didn't like him until just this week, and I'd like to thank him for making me sure.

Maybe I'm being harsh, but this story from Runner's World magazine really made me angry. The gist of the story is that Rep. Ryan, during a radio interview, stated that he ran a marathon in less than 3 hours, "in the high 2's," he claimed. That's an extraordinary time, one that most of us who run would have hanging on our walls and lit up in glorious light. Runner's World did some digging and found out that Rep. Ryan never ran that time, in fact he never ran close to that time, having finished one marathon in just over 4 hours. The campaign seemed to laugh off the inconsistency with a joke about Ryan's brother giving him a hard time at dinner over the claims.

So here's where I get to the question that is the title of this post. I'm sure we've all made little false statements in life to make ourselves look better, to give a good impression. And yet I am really troubled with a man who would blatantly lie about something seemingly so trivial in the grand scheme of what he is trying to accomplish. Saying he ran 3:59 when he really ran 4:01 is one thing, but to shave over an hour off of your time is hard to laugh off as a simple gaffe. 2:58 would put his finishing time in the 96th percentile of men 19-30 according to 4:01 is the 60th. I wonder what the reaction would be if he'd altered another performance standard. If we were looking at SAT scores, he would have said he scored 1490 and really scored 1090, according to this chart from Wikipedia. Would people brush that off as well?

At the end of the day, we each have to decide our candidates and our votes for ourselves. Maybe I'm becoming a "birther" or rather a "marathoner," but to me if someone can feel that its fine to embellish something like that, I worry about what else he may be stretching the truth about.

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