The promulgation of gaffes

Saturday, June 04, 2011

"He who warned, uh, the…the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells and um by makin’ sure that as he’s ridin’ his horse through town to send those warnin’ shots and bells that uh we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free…and we were gonna be armed."

The story making the internet rounds today is about Palin's rather incoherent answer to a question about Paul Revere (quoted above -- from Sully, hence all the dropped 'g's and what-not). To her credit she doesn't just repeat the mythology of the Wadsworth poem [ED: D'oh, speaking of gaffes, that should be the Longfellow poem], but she certainly makes a hash out of her answer. Whatever her train of thought was, she lost track of it and the answer became a muddle. Let's be honest, if those words had flown out of Obama's mouth we would be happily snarking away about them.

In fact, it reminded me of the time when, while tugging at the heart strings over Little Billy needing his asthma medicine during a stump speech, Obama lost his teleprompter (above video). He tried to string the story out while waiting for it to be fixed, but for some reason the word "inhaler" wasn't on the tip of his tongue and he drifted into incoherence. He actually mimed squirting an inhaler into his mouth as searched for the right word. I remember it because I had great fun mocking him when the video came out.

The difference is that you had to search YouTube for Obama's derailed train of thought, while Palin's will no doubt be played again and again on the networks and the late night comedians will have a field day with it. Further, we all know she is going to be asked, again and again, stupid and condescending questions about Paul Revere. That's just the way it is -- the media is their megaphone and they use it. 

My suggestion is not to try to untangle her muddled paragraph to counter that megaphone. They won't much listen, and to the extent that they do you'll just end up sounding muddled yourself. Instead, the counter should be asking the media, again and again, why they budget so much print space and air time to carrying the Democrats' water. Why is Palin's stumbling answer on the evening news while Obama's gaffe about Little Billy's breathalyzer shunted directly to YouTube?

Slowly but surely chipping away at the media's editorial judgement has worked, and it is reducing the volume of their megaphone in the process. Keep at it.

Finally, speaking of Paul Revere, remember these goofballs?