Guest Commentary: Obama Wins Gaffe Battle in a Landslide

August 6, 2012

TANCREDO: In the world of liberal media scandalmongering, facts never get in the way of a good attack theme

According to the liberal news media, Mitt Romney committed a major “gaffe” by offending the Palestinian Authority in his speech in Jerusalem.

The PA condemned Romney’s remarks as “racist” after Romney said that Israeli culture accounts for its superior economic performance compared to the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.

If offending the PA is a “gaffe,” then Ronald Reagan was the Champion Gaffer when he told Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!” The Soviet Union was predictably offended, and many in the American news media chided Reagan for being “undiplomatic.” But the wall came down.

Pardon me, but I think the Obama campaign is foolish to start a “gaffe war” when Obama’s record number of bloopers and stupidities uttered at political events cannot be surpassed.

Do you remember these bloopers?

  • His 2008 claim to have visited “57 states – and one more to go”?
  • Or when he insulted the Special Olympics on the David Letterman Show in 2009?
  • Or when he had to be corrected on air by the host when he said, “No, John McCain has not criticized my Muslim faith”?
  • Then he got the name wrong when honoring a Medal of Honor recipient, using the name of dead soldier instead of the actual honoree.
  • Did the media give him a pass as a “former law professor” when he referred to a non-existent “Austrian” language while speaking in France?
  • Were Hawaiians as shocked as others when he called Hawaii a part of Asia?
  • Has any other president called a Navy Corpsman a Corpse-Man?
  • Did he rewrite American history in speaking of our nation as having built the “Intercontinental” railroad, and not the      Transcontinental railroad?
  • How fast did the White House backtrack after Obama said, “The Cambridge police acted stupidly”? To apologize, Obama had to      invite the police officer to the White House for a “beer summit.”

And the list goes on.

The only possible explanation for these attacks on Romney’s supposed gaffes is the desperation of the Obama campaign. Romney had a superb tour in Britain, Israel and Poland, so the Obama team and their surrogates in the liberal media had to try to undermine that success. Romney didn’t make any mistakes, so they had to invent some.

In London, Romney commented quite accurately that the security arrangements for the Olympic Games had encountered some setbacks. A private firm hired to provide thousands of security guards had failed to meet its goals, and so, British army troops would be used instead. That problem had been widely discussed in the British press prior to Romney’s visit. But the liberals in the London press jumped on the remarks as a “gaffe.” On a “gaffe scale” of one to 10, it was a zero.

But in the world of liberal media scandalmongering, facts never get in the way of a good attack theme.

If two or three of the major news networks and the New York Times decide to call something a “gaffe,” the vast echo chamber that is the news establishment will beat that drum incessantly. The theme becomes the conventional wisdom among pundits and local news anchors, and presto, the “gaffe” must be defended or retracted. But people have noticed that there is a double standard at work: Nine times out of 10, it is a conservative Republican who is targeted by the Gaffe Patrol, and the sitting Democratic president is oddly granted immunity from such scrutiny.

The power of the news media to certify gaffes and pounce on them was on display in all its glory in the case of Romney’s statements in both Britain and Israel. What he said in each instance was factually TRUE, yet the media worked overtime to twist it into a “blunder.” But somehow, when Obama makes outrageous and hopelessly embarrassing factual mistakes, they are passed over and minimized.

Thus, we see a new campaign weapon in full operating mode: the news media’s Gaffe Machine. It can be deployed to Obama’s benefit at any time. The only problem for Obama is, the public is onto that propaganda game and has already begun to tune it out.

Most Americans are not worried by the Palestinian Authority being offended by Romney’s remarks in Jerusalem, and they wonder what all the fuss is about. Romney has offended the PA? Good. Now go take on Hugo Chavez and the Taliban.

There is another fly in the media’s soup: Obama’s gaffes are coming so frequently that it has become impossible to ignore them or defect the backlash. His latest is his prime-time insult to small businessmen – “You didn’t build that” – and it cannot be “walked back.”

Ironically, while it certainly qualifies as a blunder in political terms, that insult to business entrepreneurs was not a mistake or a misstatement: It reflects Obama’s true values and his antipathy toward business. The whopping tax increases on small business coming in January are not a gaffe, they are Obama’s economic policy in full bloom.

The Obama campaign’s effort to paint Mitt Romney as a gaffe-afflicted amateur will fail. That effort is born of desperation and filled with transparent hypocrisy. When you live in a glass house, don’t give away stones on the street corner.

Tom Tancredo represented Colorado’s 6th Congressional District from 1999-2009 in the U.S. House of Representatives and finished second to John Hickenlooper in the 2010 Colorado gubernatorial race

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