They’re Not Gaffes

Fred Thompson and the rest of Gov. Sarah Palin’s defenders are hoping you don’t know the definition of the word “gaffe,” so I’m going to take a moment to clear this up.  From the Wiktionary:

gaffe (plural gaffes)

1.  A foolish error, especially one made in public.

So, when Thompson and others defend Gov. Palin’s recent misadventures in journalism by comparing her performance with Senator Joe Biden’s propensity to stick his foot in his mouth, it’s a clever bit of political misdirection.  Biden calling Obama clean and articulate was a gaffe; a foolish statement he shouldn’t have made.  So was talking about Roosevelt being on television.  In fact, I’ll even grant that one thing we’re hitting Palin for is a gaffe: her statement that we should cross the border of Pakistan to attack terrorists.  It conflicted with McCain’s position, and thus was an error to say that aloud.

Rambling for something like a minute without answering a question about whether you support the bailout without actually discussing the bailout is not a gaffe.  She didn’t give an embarrassing answer.  She didn’t answer at all.  She didn’t even complete a single coherent thought.  She started by saying that the bailout helped people who were concerned about health care reform and ended by saying it was all about job creation.  It was certainly foolish, and was definitely in public, but it was not a mistake or an error.  She just didn’t have any idea what she was talking about.

The gaffe Thompson might want to consider was the very public, very foolish one that Senator John McCain made just before the Republican National Convention: Choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate in the first place.  Oops!

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