When I was growing up in the fifties, such accusations (He’s a liar, a con man and a cheat) would only apply to a mob boss, Mafia Don or a huckster (that my step-father didn’t approve of) probably from some Eastern European country. My step-father, to his credit, taught Honesty (with a capital H) to all of us little people who were nourished by and benefitted from his hard work and strong principals. Not in so many words, he explained, to me and my siblings, that our personal integrity and reputations (and therefore our future) depended upon how we dealt daily with the issue of honesty.
I’m not incredibly intelligent, I’ll never measure up to the ideal of material wealth by American standards but, I did take to heart the teachings of my surrogate father and I continue to operate under the idiom that ‘Honesty is the best policy’.
Of course, in his world, politicians and community leaders were not beyond reproach...in fact, they were roundly admonished and criticized for their progressive ideas (ie. Eisenhauer, Martin Luther King, Kennedy and Johnson). None of these were tagged by their personal lawyers (for a decade) as “A liar, a con man and a cheat.”