Silly season in full bloom

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John O'Connor, editorial director, McKnight's Long-Term Care News
John O'Connor, editorial director, McKnight's Long-Term Care News
The Democrats and Republicans have wrapped up their conventions. Labor Day has passed. Cable TV is on a 24/7 news cycle. And unprecedented funding is flowing into this year's campaigns.

Put these ingredients together and what are you likely to get? One of the more bizarre election run-ups in recent history.

Already, we've been treated to a cornucopia of bizarre statements and whoppers. Consider:

Mitt Romney has promised to kill a healthcare law similar to the one he created in an earlier incantation as governor of Massachusetts. He also wants us to forget that he was actually a governor, apparently.

For his part, Barack Obama has suddenly embraced “Obamacare” as a term to describe the nation's healthcare reform law. This, after spending years distancing himself from the term. After taking office, Obama said to judge him on whether the economy improves during his watch. But nearly four years later, he's still trying to blame his predecessor.

Vice President Joe Biden has morphed from statesman to caricature. A few months ago, he told blacks that Mitt Romney would “put y'all back in chains.” Prior to that, he said he favored gay marriage before the White House had a chance to weigh in.

Then there's GOP presidential running mate Paul Ryan, who seems intent on winning the Fibber McGee award. In recent weeks, he has been caught making an, ahem, misstatement, about his fastest marathon time (saying it was under three hours when in fact it was more than four).

Ryan also blamed Obama for closing a plant before the president took office. When it emerged that Ryan had sought federal funds from the healthcare reform bill that he has vowed to repeal, he said the funding was not really from the Affordable Care Act.

Of course, taking indecent liberties with the truth is hardly new to politics. The game has always been about doing whatever it takes to win.

In such an environment, it's hardly unusual that candidates on either side of the fence refuse to let little things like facts get in the way of a good story.