It's OK to lie ... if you have your facts straight

Fri, Aug 13
2:06
PM ET
Washington Redskins fanLarry French/Getty ImagesTake a look at this guy ... he clearly takes his Redskins seriously.

First things first: Maryland state delegate Michael Vaughn is a typical politician. In other words, a dissembling dope. But not because he reportedly lied about having played three seasons of NFL football.

No, Vaughn is a fool because he represents Maryland's 24th District -- which includes parts of Landover, home to FedEx Field and the Washington Redskins -- yet falsely claimed to have competed for the Dallas Cowboys.

What, suiting up for the Taliban didn't sound glamorous enough?

Michael, Michael, Michael: The Cowboys may be America's Team, a Jerry Jones JumboTron-sized mirror of reflective glory, a brilliant fake résumé-booster anywhere else. But Landover is 'Skins country. Touting your imaginary helmet star bonafides to bunch of burgundy and gold-loving constituents is like lecturing a Tea Party convention about the benefits of the Canadian health care system.

Bad idea.

Truth be told, I can live with the lying. You're a pol. Fibbing is par for the course. It pretty much makes your job possible in the first place, given that you're hired and fired on the basis of sweet talk. I understand. Still, what I don't get -- and can't condone -- is the inartfulness. The sloppiness. The sheer ignorance of your own sports geography.

I mean, really: You didn't know that your voters dislike Dallas? That Redskins fans literally set a Cowboys helmet on fire during the final regular season game played at RFK Stadium? That maybe, just maybe, your bogus little toe dip into the pool of athletic insta-credibility would have worked better had you chosen a club that local people have affection for, or at least don't viscerally loathe?

Did you need extensive, expensive polling to figure this out?

Boston mayor Thomas Menino mistakenly invoked "[Jason] Varitek splitting the uprights." The late Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy once introduced the home run duo of "Sammy Sooser" and "Mike McGwire" to an adoring crowd. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback told a group of Wisconsin Republicans -- read: Cheeseheads -- that Petyon Manning was the best quarterback in NFL history. The list of political sports flubs is long and undistinguished. And now? You've joined it. You could have gotten your fake facts straight. Alas, you botched it -- and in doing so, violated the first rule of political discourse.

If you're going to lie, at least tell people something they want to hear.

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