This refers to the revelation in May of this year that Obama's former literary agency, Acton & Dystel, printed a promotional booklet in 1991 that touted Obama as having been "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii." Note that this was a polished volume created at great expense by a professional outfit, and there is only one source from which its agents could have gotten the notion that Obama was born in Kenya: Obama himself.

Thus, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the president has lied about his birthplace - either when claiming more recently that he was born in Hawaii or, far more likely, when claiming in 1991 that he wasn't. And it's easy to understand why he would've claimed the latter. By the '90s, having exotic origins could truly enhance your cachet and hence your marketability. And this little twist on truth was small potatoes for a guy willing to disgorge lies designed to foment racial unrest.

This brings us to the presidential debates. It's fine to fact-check, to reveal that Obama really did lie about the decline in oil production on federal lands, tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, middle-class tax cuts, Egyptians' newfound love for America, and a Status of Forces agreement. But at some point it's a bit like trying to itemize the libations of a guy who has crashed both your cars, squanders the family funds on booze, staggers home in the wee hours, and is a continual embarrassment around the neighbors. You no longer need to prove that certain individual drinks were imbibed; it's painfully clear that the individual is a drinker.

While hard-core partisans will remain in denial on our drunk-on-power president, good people, who generally have a desire to be polite, should realize that politeness becomes vice when it obscures truth. And if we don't wish to descend into dishonesty ourselves - the intellectual variety - we need to acknowledge that the truth about Barack Obama is that he simply cannot tell it.

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