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Do Republicans Lie More Than Democrats? Here’s What’s Circulating…


Anyone who reads this site regularly knows that it is no shill for Obama or the Democrats. It is rigorously non-partisan, and regularly runs articles that  must infuriate the White House. But nonpartisan is one thing. Naive is another.

We can see certain patterns. And one is that Republicans seem to lie somewhat more than Democrats, at least if we measure honesty by what is circulated by their partisans.

The reason we say this is that we’re constantly on the receiving end of various jeremiads, aimed at politicians of all stripes. Being curious (and working hard to stay open-minded), we look these things up. Sometimes we just do the easy thing: go to  Snopes, a quality site that’s been around for years now, and explores and often debunks various claims circulating on the Internet. Sometimes we dig in a bit ourselves.

In most cases, when we receive an e-mail with seemingly alarming information, it is about a Democrat. And when we look into it… is hardly ever true. Just some angry sounding thing with a bunch of made- up stuff, being frantically forwarded by people who like the sentiment and don’t apply any kind of logic to see if it might be legitimate.

“Before It’s Debunked”

Here’s the  latest one I have received (nothing personal against the fellow who sent it to me—a nice enough guy).

It’s from almost a year ago, but my friend just discovered it.

From a website called “Before It’s News,” and headlined “Why Barack and Michelle Obama Both Surrendered Their Law Licenses”, it asserts that:

This has been circulating and it’s most interesting:

Let’s stop already. A website calling itself “Before It’s News” either means what they have is an early scoop, or they’re just passing around rumors. When a piece begins with “This has been circulating and it’s most interesting,” you know exactly what you’re getting.

Like a case of you-know-what, lots of things  circulate, and you might not want to touch them. Anyway, that’s the sum total of the website’s work, that one sentence.

Then it says,

This is from a former Chicago lawyer now practicing law in Tyler, TX.

Maybe so, but how about a name? None given.


This is legit. I checked it out myself at Stands for Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee. [SNIP] Even I, at the advanced age of almost 65, maintain (at the cost of approximately $600/year) my law license that I worked so hard and long to earn.

Typically, when an email says, “This is legit,” what they mean is, “We’re about to pick your pocket.”

Anyway, in this case, a website that passes around rumors is recommending something purportedly passed along by an unnamed lawyer in Illinois who is passing something along that was purportedly investigated by another unnamed lawyer (this one a Texas transplant). Here’s an excerpt that pretty well captures the core allegations:

1. President Barack Obama, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, is no longer a “lawyer”. He surrendered his license back in 2008 in order to escape charges that he lied on his bar application.


2 Michelle Obama “voluntarily surrendered” her law license in 1993.

3. So, we have the first black President and First Lady – who don’t actually have licenses to practice law. Facts. 

Taking Poetic License

Ok, what assertions do we have so far? Obama lied on his bar application, and surrendered his law license to escape charges on the matter. His wife “voluntarily surrendered” her license, too—suggesting something sinister afoot. And just in case you don’t get the subtext, they add “the first black President,” which seems to have exactly nothing to do with the “facts” of the matter, except to someone who thinks that “black” adds something. Don’t need to spell this out for you, I hope.

The Illinois lawyer, whoever that is, and whether or not it is a lawyer (though probably not—as lawyers don’t tend to send around anonymous, poorly-written missives to strangers) claims to have checked out these claims. And whoever is really behind this knows that many of us will just pass this along without actually checking it out ourselves, or even bothering to go to that link.

In fact, Snopes, which is credible and really did  check this out, concludes:

Such claims are based on misreadings of information about license status and erroneous interpretations and assumptions about such information….

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