Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Benefit of the Doubt

Maybe I'm just too nice (although that's very debateable). But I have a hard time getting all worked up over the gaffes of public figures, whether they are the guys I support or oppose. The most recent was where Barack Obama said that his grandfather helped liberate Auschwitz in WWII. Pundits couldn't wait to point out that the Red Army liberated Auschwitz--so, therefore, Obama was... what? A liar? The grandson of a commie? What went through my head was, "Oh, he probably was at Buchenwald." Sure enough, a day later came the clarification--his grandfather was with Ike's troops that liberated Buchenwald. Same thing when he declared a few weeks ago that he had visited 57 states. I'm sure he just meant "47." (Although I did take the opportunity to rib a couple of friends who are Obamaniacs, but that was for fun, not spite.) This past week the biggest gaffe was Hillary Clinton talking about why she's not dropping out of the race for the nomination--she pointed out that her husband didn't win out until June, and that RFK was famously assassinated in June of '68. The media pounced: "OH, she did NOT!" But anybody with two brain cells could tell that the operative part of the statement was the date (June), not the fact that Obama could somehow be killed. Indeed, if she were to drop out and the unthinkable happened, she'd still be the heir-apparent. These games of "gotcha" are so unnecessary.

Of course, it works both ways. I've been sent a youtube of McCain saying Shi'ite when the proper word was Sunni. That means, of course, that he's unfit to be commander-in-chief. And of course, every time George W. Bush misspeaks, it's taken as a sign that he's dumber than a chimp. (Although I must admit, my favorite Bush-ism is when he said that litigiousness was the reason why many Ob-Gyns could no longer practice their love with women.) We forget, of course, that Bush went to Yale undergrad (where his grades were better than the "intellectual" John Kerry) and then Harvard for his MBA. Yeah, I know his Dad went there first, so that's the "only" reason he got in. But he somehow got OUT, and I doubt very much that the tenured faculty of Harvard and Yale threw all their standards out the window just because a Bush was there. Funny how nobody points to the 57 states comment and then speculates that Obama must have somehow gotten a bump on admission to the Ivies because of his unique racial heritage.

How about this--a cease-fire on the stupid stuff. Let's just stipulate that if you reach the level of these guys (and gals, Hil), you're no slouch. Sure, if you catch somebody in a real lie or if they prescribe bad policy, fire away. But otherwise, let's lay off.


bekster said...

Yes, it's all very stupid, and it just shows the populous to be even more stupid when they fall for such tactics.

Goode Design said...

yes. but they're all still politicians.

We need more Ben Franklins and George Washingtons in the world... maybe even a Peyton Randolph?