Lately the word "gaffe" has been tossed around quite a bit by pundits. Interesting how these types of words pop up in an attempt to explain odd comments or behavior by candidates for office or office holders.
A gaffe according to every definition I've seen, is an unintentional act or comment. The infamous "you didn't build that" and "you didn't do that" words uttered by President Obama have been described as "gaffes" by certain media pundits eager to place such comments "in context." Other proclaimed "gaffes" include chains, intentional rapes, Muslim violence, military veterans and others that some have attempted to place "in context." Candidates and office holders, faced with new media, find their every word recorded and dissected these days. Gotta love those iPhones!
I consider "gaffes" as being truly unintentional foot in mouth episodes by candidates and office holders. The only real question is if they intentionally spoke those words or unintentionally spoke them. If unintentional, they are gaffes, if intentional, they are not.
So aided by my able panel of experts, Me, Myself and I, we carefully reviewed a few of the more notorious comments of the past two weeks to see if they were truly "gaffes." We of course applied Common Sense standards of judgment throughout. We made no effort to explain them. They stand on their own.
We also did not use any partisan press release language from either political party. Those tend to make for entertaining reading and have their own little surreal language about them. They are usually accompanied by a frantic appeal for donations.
Here's our scorecard to date on a few of the more recent notorious ones:
I. "We all look like idiots." Rep. Daniel Biss, a Democrat from Evanston, said this after the Illinois General Assembly adjourned without enacting any pension reform during the Special Session called by Governor Quinn. The Special Session took place on Friday, August 17th. A few Democrats sent me comments following my last article explaining that Mr. Biss uttered a gaffe or was misunderstood. Mr. Biss, after being so quoted, hasn't made any effort to retract that statement. Our conclusion. Not a gaffe. Our special kudos to Mr. Biss for being so blunt and honest in his feelings. The kudos were unanimous from our panelists, all Republicans!
II. "A special place in hell." Toni Preckwinkle, former Chicago Alderman, a Democrat who is currently Cook County Board President, stated there is "a special place in hell" for President Reagan for ramping up the war on drugs. When the audience gasped, Preckwinkle jokingly asked: "What, you didn't like that?" She later explained that she spoke in front of a conference and it was not a media event. She later followed with a press release "expressing her regret" for making that comment. Gaffe? Our local media has unanimously decreed! They also complimented Ms. Preckwinkle for stating her regrets. We disagree. The "You didn't like that?" puts her in the intentional category. That was no gaffe.
III. "You didn't build that" and "You didn't do that." President Obama, with his "you didn't build that" and "you didn't do that" comments spoken well over a month ago, spoken from a prepared text. Most liberal media pundits either claimed such comments were misunderstood or taken out of context. The explanations run longer than his speech. If they were off the cuff comments, our panel of experts would have graded them differently. We disagree. Those were no gaffes.
IV. "They're going to put y'all back in chains!" Our Vice President Joe Biden made this claim while arguing against healthcare and medicare reforms proposed by Vice-Presidential Candidate Ryan. He was trying to emphasize his points with an off the cuff statement that strangely was said in a dialect once heard on an Amos and Andy radio show. The crowd of Democrats cheered him on anyway. Gaffe? Considering the source, Joe Biden, more than likely. He is usually good for a few each week. Our panel was somewhat divided on this one.
V. "Legitimate Rape." Missouri U.S. Republican Senate Candidate Todd Akin actually said: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Adding insult to injury, he is a Congressman from Missouri. Now he is running an ad trying to explain that comment and has been busy apologizing, the way a child apologizes when doing something wrong. We have no explanation for these comments. This is no gaffe. He clearly meant what he said. Congressman, your comments have been deemed by the panel to be intentionally and ignorantly disgusting. If you insist on staying in the race, you deserve to lose.
After such careful deliberations, the panel grew weary and stopped.
Any quotes you think may be gaffes? Send them on over and I'll forward them to the panel for their common sense review.