So with the understanding that most people are dishonest, there is the question of what conditions make people lie: needing to further social status? Convenience? Being backed against a wall? And what's an effective litmus test for determining when the dishonesty of a public figure goes too far and damages irreparably his or her credibility?
A good point, very succinct, that explains my perspective:
"Now, Lattin says, liberals will defend liberal politicians and conservatives will defend conservative politicians caught in lies. “There’s always going to be somebody who says, ‘You lied, but it’s not a big deal,’ ” Lattin says. If there are enough of them, you stay in office."
The continuum upon which popular sentiment falls about dishonesty is a necessarily complicated and fascinating one. The piece leads to a relevant thought experiment for those of us who wonder why our opinions align the way they do about Adams, and about the privacy issues, morals, and honesty of all public officials.