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The 2012 presidential campaign has become a festival of gaffe-hopping. The candidates skitter along on the surface of politics, issuing vague pronouncements or taking predictable shots at each other. But these seem like increasingly brief interludes, mere campaign busywork as each side awaits and — abetted by an attention-deficit-disordered media — pounces on the opponents’ next gaffe.
Indeed, it was almost 30 years ago that columnist Michael Kinsley wrote that “the ‘gaffe’ is now the principal dynamic mechanism of American politics.”
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There are several interlocking explanations for this development:
●The 24/7 news cycle and the constant need for fresh nuggets of supposed news to toss out.
●The ubiquity and intrusiveness of technology — cell phones and cameras yielding multiple “Macaca” moments — combined with the hyper-connected capacity for instantaneous dissemination.
●Intellectual laziness (how much easier to critique a candidate’s gaffe than to dissect his tax plan) on the part of the press corps.
●Policy voids (wait, these candidates don’t actually have tax plans!) on the part of the campaigns
Way to nail it Ruth ....
So I’m not against gaffe coverage — I’m against covering only gaffes, which is where campaign reporting seems to be trending. I’m not against politicians’ seizing on opponents’ gaffes — I’m against politicians who believe, or act as if they believe, that this tactic can substitute for substantive campaign discussion.
------------------ “On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson..they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon.”