Some political pundits warn that Obama’s “lie” will undo his second term. They say Americans won’t forgive a president who violates their trust. It’s a good sound-bite, but it’s bad history. A great leader must “be a great pretender and dissembler,” Machiavelli said in “The Prince.” And so should a president, some historians say.
You might say lying is the verbal lubricant that keeps the Oval Office engine running. Some of our most popular presidents told the biggest whoppers, say historians, including Benjamin Ginsberg, author of “The American Lie: Government by the People and other Political Fables.”
While preparing the country for World War II, Franklin Roosevelt told Americans in 1940 that “your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
President John F. Kennedy declared in 1961 that “I have previously stated, and I repeat now, that the United States plans no military intervention in Cuba.” All the while, he was planning an invasion of Cuba.