14 February 2007

But It Played So Well In the Room . . .

Whether it was Sen. Kerry's 'botched joke', or Sen. Lott's 'botched joke', or Sen. Allen's 'botched joke', Gov. Dean's 'scream' or Sen. Obama 'misspeaking', I see one common thread between all these incidents.

They played well in the room they were in, and only became controversial after others heard what was originally said.

An old habit of politicians has been to speak one thing to one group of supporters, and say nearly the opposite to another group.

The YouTube/Blogosphere age makes that not only impossible, but foolhardy.

That these men were capable of formulating the ideas that were present in their heads to cause these 'mistakes' suggests that none of the above examples were perfectly innocent and honest mistakes.

Rather, they were calculated political moves meant to strengthen support within the approving group of supporters, compatriots or fellow travellers.

A rule of thumb all politicians should follow from now on, always assume (and I mean always, even when speaking in small groups and presumptively not mic'd like Sen. Biden's 'articulate' comment), that you are being recorded, and that the audience you are in front of is made up of your best friends and your worst enemies at every moment of every day.

Just food for thought (also, that kind of scrutiny is not something any sane person without a touch a large dose of megalomania would ever subject themselves to).

As far as Sen. Obama goes, I seriously doubt 'wasted' was a misstatement, he meant what he said and said what he meant at the time he said it before an adoring crowd at Iowa State University. Having cultivated the aura of a careful wordsmith up to this point (and having the head of Harvard Law Review credentials to prove it), it's hard for anyone but avid supporters to swallow this nonsense. On top of that, the 'wasted' line fits in perfectly with the rest of what he was saying, and is logically consistent with the tact his attack on the President was taking.

I'd still be disgusted with his words, but he'd earn more respect if he stood by them (and I could say the same with Sen. Kerry, Sen. Lott, Sen. Biden, but Sen. Allen not so much, that was just stupid, and as far as Gov. Dean, he's nuts and it was easy to portray him as such, if it hadn't have been the 'scream' it would have been something else).

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