"He really tells it like it is."
Although that statement is ostensibly a compliment, especially when applied to politicians, I'm rarely clear on what "it" is being referred to. Are you?
"Her candor/honesty/forthrightness is so refreshing." Or... "She doesn't mince words."
Those compliments also baffle me a bit. What I hear when others say things like this is "That person's version of the truth matches mine." So why not just say that? I'm also left wondering if this refreshing honesty would be so welcome if a different version of the story we're being presented.
In other words, which "it" is really being told? Yours? Mine? Something in between?