Those of us who grew up attending parochial schools were often reminded by the nuns of this axiom: There is no such thing as just one lie. It's a lesson GOP Senate candidate Matt Bevin would do well to learn.
For the uninitiated, the long version of the school proverb is that once a lie is told, more and more lies must be told to defend it. And that has become the case with Bevin as he refuses to acknowledge and repent of an obvious lie in his LinkedIn profile in which he claimed to have been educated at MIT.
Incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell, who leads Bevin in recent polls by anywhere from 26 to 40 percent, made Bevin's false claim of an MIT education a key issue in the campaign after the claim and MIT's refuting of it was reported in the Washington political newsletter The Hill.
Courier-Journal political writer Joe Gerth took Bevin to task in a blog earlier this week for continuing to deny he ever made such a claim and accusing McConnell of making it up. Gerth reports that when asked on a Kentucky Educational Television political program Monday night if he had ever made a claim of being MIT-educated, Bevin replied, "It's an absolute lie made up by Mitch McConnell as a smokescreen and it's typical â ¦ ."
KET program host Bill Goodman then asked Bevin, "You didn't have that (MIT) on your LinkedIn account?" to which Bevin replied, "No. I've never, look, if you go to my LinkedIn account, you see that I attended an executive education program that happens to have MIT in the title because I attended it back from 06 to 08. It's still on there. It's always been on there, but at no point has it ever claimed nor have I ever claimed to anybody to be a graduate of this school."
That explanation sounds good as far as it goes, but from there Gerth posts two screenshots of Bevin's LinkedIn profile. The first, from several months ago, includes the entry "Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology." The second, from last Monday, shows the entry changed to read "Education: School of Life."
As reported by Gerth, The Hill and others, Bevin did attend something called an "Entrepreneurial Masters Program" at the MIT Endicott House, but that program is not affiliated with or recognized by MIT, something Bevin also has not acknowledged in even his most recent LinkedIn entry.
This level of dishonesty is on a par with President Barack Obama's repeated claim to Americans that if you like your health insurance you can keep it under Obamacare. It's not just a lie. It's a calculated lie. It is politically disqualifying. Polls show the effect it has had on Obama, and polls show Bevin suffering every bit as badly, apparently.
It is difficult to understand why politicians like Bevin cannot, when confronted with such irrefutable proof, simply say, "I exaggerated, it was wrong and I am sorry." But people like Bevin (and Obama) appear to have to learn the nuns' lesson the hard way, by telling lie after lie until there is no way out.
Some Kentucky pundits even as recently as this month suggested that while Bevin is heading for a thumping in the GOP primary, he still is a promising future candidate for the party. Given his performance on KET this week, we think that's farcical. His credibility is blown, and in politics, that's fatal.