Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gaffes Are Not Just For Vice Presidents

Joe Biden has provided us with considerable comic relief since he first became a Senator. As Vice President, he has improved his skills as a gaffemeister. Yet Crazy Joe is not alone in the heady environment of executive thought-mangling. His boss isn't too shabby when it comes to having occasional brain implosions. The recent visit to Moscow produced a few new additions to the Obama library of oopsisms.

When Mr. Obama slips, it's often a beauty because it so frequently relates to things which are really basic either to him personally, or to any sixth-grader. At least George W. Bush knew that Grecians live in Greece.

In Moscow the President met with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, or Dmitri Medivac, or Dmitri Medicare, or Dmitri MedTheRed, depending on how late in the afternoon Mr. Obama had to say the name. After botching Vladimir Putin's title (he referred to Putin as the President, though he is now the Prime Minister), Obama went on to tell a couple of family stories, a subject vitally important in matters of world diplomacy.

First he told a touching story about his younger daughter Sasha, probably because unlike Malia's name, Sasha's has a certain Russian ring to it. Unfortunately he got her age wrong. But come on, the President has to deal with a lot of people, so birthdays are hard to keep straight. And he does have two children, so confusion is understandable.

And then, as President Medalhead smiled through clenched teeth, Mr. Obama told the romantic tale of how he and Michelle met, dated, and fell in love while in law school at Harvard. That should warm that cold Russian's heart. On the other hand, it probably didn't warm Michelle's heart much (assuming she has one), since the pair didn't even know each other in law school. They met when they each got cushy jobs, without much to recommend them except ginned-up academic credentials, at a Chicago law firm named Sidley Austin. They both became "community organizers," much to the chagrin of the firm, and each left to pursue even more lucrative careers in politics (she working for Mayor Richard Daly, he for the People of Illinois in the legislature). But it is commonly known that they actually fell in love on their first date when they went to see the romantic Spike Lee movie "Do The Right Thing." Apparently, the President gets his information and memories from WikiAnswers (quick reference site for Wikipedia), which also has the answer wrong. We warned you, Mr. President--don't trust Wikipedia.

During the President's seven months in office, he has slipped a few other times. He told a joke about Nancy Reagan having seances in the White House during which she consulted with the dead. He had to apologize, not having realized that the story he was telling was actually about Hillary Clinton channeling Eleanor Roosevelt. Details, details.

One man's ceiling is another man's floor, and for Obama, one man's window is another man's door. Following a Rose Garden speech, the President made multiple attempts to re-enter the executive residence via White House windows. He finally figured out that the one with the handle was the door. On another occasion, the protocol-conscious President was boarding Marine One (the official White House helicopter), and in keeping with his glad-handing nature, he forced the Marine on duty to shake his hand. The Marine is not supposed to do that. He is to stand rigidly at attention while giving the proper salute to his commander-in-chief. The poor Marine was completely confused, and utterly humiliated. But undeterred, the President proceeded to the door of the copter, whereupon, following Presidential tradition established by Gerald Ford, he cracked his head on the entry door. Somewhat dazed, he finally got aboard.

In foreign matters, Obama has few peers. The President received a pen holder carved from the timbers of HMS Gannett, the commissioning certificate of HMS Resolute, and a seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In exchange, Obama gave Brown a collection of twenty-five pop culture DVDs which don't work on the players in England. His other gift to England was the return of the bust of Winston Churchill which had previously been proudly displayed in the White House.

As a President who wants to keep himself in front of the common man, Mr. Obama appeared on the Jay Leno show on NBC, and showed that he actually does have a fine sense of humor. First he displayed his very meager skills as a bowler. Then, going off-script, he gave America a real knee-slapper by saying that he should be on the Special Olympics team.

At a press conference at the 2009 G-20 meeting in Austria, the President tried to remember the "Austrian word" for "wheeling and dealing," not realizing that Austrians speak German, the most widely-spoken language in Europe (take that, you Grecians). At a meeting with the Mexican Ambassador on May 4, the monolingual Obama stumbled into a play on words for the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo (the Fifth of May). So he joked that the meeting was actually the Cinco de Cuatro, meaning to say the Fourth of May. What he actually said was "The Fifth of Four." It's probably funnier if you tell it in Austrian.

Prior to his Presidency, Obama made a string of campaign gaffes. He lamented "the bomb" that fell on Pearl Harbor (never mind the entire Japanese fleet and aircraft and the torpedoes, conventional bombs and machine gun fire that rained down on Hawaii on December 7, 1941). He falsely claimed that his father had served in US Forces during World War II and that he had gotten "the services he needed" from the V. A. after returning from the fighting. He took financial wisdom seriously because he was on the Senate Banking Committee, which he referred to as "my committee." He never served on the Banking Committee.

Continuing his proud warrior theme, Obama told the story of his great-uncle Charlie Payne participating in the liberation of the death camp at Auschwitz. Unless his great-uncle served in the Soviet Army (not unlikely, given his family politics), that was impossible. At first, Obama corrected his mistake by saying he had erred, and that it was actually Treblinka (also in Poland, and also liberated by the Red Army). He finally got it right by naming Buchenwald.

Other gaffes included calling Brownsville, Texas "Brownville," Sunrise, Florida "Sunshine," and Sioux City, South Dakota "Sioux Falls." He gave a lengthy lecture on DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) in which he said "The Defense Against Marriage Act was, was, a unnecessary imposition on what had been the traditional rules governing marriage and how states interact on the issues of marriage." He thus had the Act exactly bass ackwards.

And then there was, of course, his excited enumeration of the states in which he had already campaigned--all 57 of them. With five left to go at the time, our future President had increased the size of the Union to 62 (or 61 if he was including the District of Columbia in his count).

Are these world-shattering errors? No. Do they indicate that Obama, like many other Presidents before him, is gaffe-prone? Yes. Do they indicate that he is unfit to serve as President? Probably not, although the outright lies are problematic. So I'm guessing that by now you've figured out that his column isn't about gaffes or non self-activating mistakes. It's about fairness and this President's treatment by the mainstream media.

Many of the incidents mentioned above never appeared in the MSM. Others appeared in newspapers like the New York Times in paragraph nine of an article on page ten, or as filler on CNN and MSNBC at three o-clock in the morning as amusing anecdotes. Those which could simply not be hidden were finessed as errors made by a hardworking President who was tired at the end of the day, or simply a misfire, or an understandable human error. Occasionally they would air the gaffe on offense, in order to make Republicans look petty for catching them. What would the MSM have done had G. W. Bush, G. H. W. Bush or Ronald Reagan made the same egregious mistakes? Just read newspapers from the time, and you'll know. Don't consult Wikipedia.

The MSM have touted Obama as the most thrilling, intelligent, learned, brilliant, well-spoken, erudite, thoughtful, nuanced and articulate President of all time. Yet Franklin Roosevelt, who is alleged never to have made a grammatical, syntactical or factual error in any public appearance during his entire lengthy presidency, was still criticized by about forty percent of the press and radio for pretty much everything he did except the conduct of the war. Never before has the vast bulk of the MSM been so utterly and willfully blind to the apparent flaws of a sitting President.

23 comments:

StanH said...

That’s both funny and alarming Lawhawk. Barry is actually from the 57th state where bullcrap is revered as good public discourse. Little Barry met Joe Biden sitting on a fence with a floppy hat swinging his bare feet while chewing on a piece of straw. Barry learned at the feet of the village idiot, I mean Joe Biden to grow and become “prevaricator and chief.” As we all know, “It takes a Village,” and in this sad little state at the, Hillary house, now known as Bill’s Bordello you can find poor little Hillary in the attic chained to a bed, foaming at the mouth, incessantly pounding on a reset button ..saying, “it’s mine, it’s mine.”

Writer X said...

Forget where you met your wife? Then make up a lie about it? That's pretty low. And bad. Next thing you know he'll claim the onset of dementia and that is certainly hope and change that most of us can believe in, especially those of us who know damn well the wars in which our fathers served.

CrisD said...

I have to second you, WriterX! Forgetting where you met your wife? That is just telling a whopper.

It also begs the question: Does he think these starry-eyed coeds have come to college to pursue a degree and a mate? He does have a JFK syndrome--he's still in the 60's!

I don't believe any of his stories or books. I just deal with his agenda.

Tennessee Jed said...

In most cases, this post gives me a chuckle. Still, underlying it reminds me of a couple of things. First, I do not merely dislike his policies, I'm pretty sure I don't care for either Barrack or Michelle personally. Second, as much as I know that the main stream media plays this game, it still pisses me off. Thanks, Hawk

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: That would make a great cartoon series. "The Horribles and The Lady in the Attic."

WriterX: After I wrote the column, another thought occurred to me. If B-HO doesn't actually know where his father was during World War II, it means he not only didn't write "Dreams From My Father," he didn't read it either.

Writer X said...

LawHawk, if a man can lie about his own service or the service of his father or loved ones, there's no limit to what he can lie about. That's about as low as you can go on the food chain.

LawHawkSF said...

CrisD: I have a pretty good memory for most things, but I sure as heck remember where I met my wife, and where and when each of my three kids was born. I don't think I'm the least bit unusual in that. There simply isn't anything real about Barack Obama. He wasn't born, he was fabricated.

Tennessee: I've known more than a few couples like Barack and Michelle Obama. They had their facades of education, station, and familial devotion, but if things started to go wrong, they dissembled and went right back to being the primitives they really were. On the other hand, Barack might simply fall asleep.

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: Lincoln has come to us as "The Great Emancipator." Obama will be "The Great Prevaricator."

AndrewPrice said...

Wow. Let me second everyone's comments -- great comments folks.

At first, I thought many of these gaffes were just the fact that it's easy to be distracted when a dozen people are pulling you in one direction or another, peppering you with comments about a million issues. But the fact that he can't remember the personal details about his own life really make me wonder. Is he stupid or are they all lies told to give him an image?

In either event, it's not a good thing.

Mike Kriskey said...

I'd like to request that this post be kept updated as future gaffes are made. It would be an invaluable resource.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Until I started compiling the gaffes and lies, I was semi-sympathetic and buying into the "busy President" argument that the MSM loves to use. Like you, after I took a look at some of the worst, I realized that Obama's whole life is a script, and occasionally he flubs his lines.

Mike: That's a good idea, and I will try at reasonable intervals to keep everyone updated. As with this column, it will be equally important to take note of how the MSM has handled Obama's missteps.

CrispyRice said...

I'm speechless. I'd heard many of these things (since I head to those dangerous right-wing news sources and listen to extremist talk radio) but many of those were new to me, too, LawHawk. Particularly the personal things. Just wow.

The thing that makes me real upset is that when you talk to average people (not even libs, just average people who don't pay much attention) they have NO IDEA about this stuff. And alot of them voted for him. ARGH.

I remember seeing interviews at the polling places with people who had just voted for Obama and the interviewer asked, "Who said during the campaign that there were 57 states?" To a person they answered, "Sarah Palin." DOUBLE ARGH!!

I know it's the media, I just wish there were something more to be done about it. I'm going back to pulling my hair out...

StanH said...

You guys are doing a great job with your blog. It’s as if these people come from a parallel universe, a real dumb one at that. All sizzle no steak, there is no …there-there with this guy, just a neat little package and programmed talking points, a real disaster for our great country. They’ve had this horse squeeze prepackaged for forty plus years, that’s why they don’t have to read the bills before they pass’em, “criminal.”

Yeah Lawhawk, I can envision this small village in the 57th state where our moonbats reside, it could be really funny.

LawHawkSF said...

CrispyRice: I've often wondered why he is so successful with the MSM and the average guy. One thing I've come up with is that he is perfect for both niches. If he hadn't gone into politics, he could have been a network anchor. He's smooth, looks serious, doesn't display anger, and he is incapable of an original thought. Network news anchors are newsreaders who convey a depth they don't actually have (think Cronkite, Jennings, Rather). He is a politics-reader. The MSM love him because he's just like them, and the public misreads him as trustworthy. It's a deadly combination.

StanH: As I mentioned to CrispyRice, I'm starting to see a parallel between Obama and network news anchors. They all did lesser work first, but each had powerful sponsors to propel them quickly to the top. Each was chosen in large part for being the face of the network/political faction rather than being the actual thinkers. Each professed professional detachment, yet had their own agendas and powerful people to help them move that agenda forward. That's where the pre-packaging comes in.

quenee said...

From the moment I became aware of a man named Barack Hussein Obama, I experienced an odd sensation. As I watched him that sensation turned into a gut tightening, semi queasy but rather horrifying "uh-oh something is seriously missing here" feeling that grew and grew. Thank you for your article. I've been trying, with difficulty, to give Barack Hussein Obama the benefit of my doubt. Idealistically, I thought it would be a 'good thing to do' however your article has knocked me out of that stupor, reminded me to trust my gut, and reaffirmed that BHO is truly 100% all about BHO. A man that will lie about his wife, life, children, etc. is a man that couldn't care less what he says to little old common folk, he really is just words...just words...just words!

BevfromNYC said...

I have always been suspicious of good speechifiers. Obama is a master speechifier. He says lots of words in beautiful order, but says nothing. However, he cannot go off-script. That's why the teleprompters, the fake "townhalls", the fake "press conferences" - all scripted. He does not answer questions that are "off topic" because he can't. He is incapable of answering questions spontaneously because he does not how to respond unless he is told. And to use the excuse that he makes gaffes because "he is just so busy" or "he has so much on his mind", well, he's the President - he does not get that luxury of gaffes for the next 4 years. People can die when Presidents make gaffes like he and Biden make. These two can't even get their official policies straight.

The veil is being lifted and MSM are beginning to see the "man behind the curtain", hence the Gibbs/Reid/Thomas affair last week. And it may be what saves the MSM from financial and ethical bankruptcy.

LawHawkSF said...

Queenie: Welcome to Commentarama, and I hope you'll continue to provide us with input. As a veteran of the civil rights movement with the scars to prove it, I felt a strong twinge of pride when a Black man was finally nominated for the Presidency by a major political party. Sadly, as soon as the primaries were over, the real Barack Obama appeared (if there is such a thing as the "real" Barack Obama). Your assessment of the man is so correct. He is Black when it's convenient. He is half-White when it's convenient. He is Christian when it's convenient. And for a man who claimed to be "post-racial" he has been a sore disappointment. But on the positive side, he did one thing that America finally needed to do--eliminate another barrier.

I cut my teeth in politics with as a teenage precinct worker for John F. Kennedy, and had to deal with the serious issue of his religion. Today, nobody cares if the candidate is Catholic, and in the future, nobody will care if the candidate is Black.

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: I never thought I would be living in an America where freedom of speech was truly in danger of disappearing. I can only think of one thing I expected less, and that is that I would find myself rooting for Helen Thomas. She will never be a fighter for truth, or individual rights, or conservative principles, but at least she wants her First Amendment free press right to decide for herself what she will say and whom she will support. Helen is a very surprised volunteer in the war to save the Constitution.

AndrewPrice said...

I'm with Bev and Queenie on this. I actually liked him when I first saw him, but something made me a little uneasy. As time progressed, that feeling has grown. And then to see something like this list -- with the incredible info that he doesn't even remember the most important details of his life? It honestly makes me wonder just who this guy is?

P.S. StanH, Thanks. I will assume you meant more than just Lawhawk when you said "you guys." And if you didn't, don't tell me -- ignorance is bliss! ;-)

StanH said...

Oh, absolutely everyone on Commentarama, I don’t know how you find the time a lot of research goes into these posts, good fun for all.

StanH said...

Lawhawk: I think it may have been OldTom over at BH that posed the question, “can’t you see Axelrod after a speech putting Barry in a box?” that fits your anchorman analogy so well.
Andrew: The one cool part of the Obamanation is the fact that he’s black, like I’ve said before, “why couldn’t have been Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Herman Cain, etc. Hell, if had of been Sowell I’d turn the rear of my cars into permanent bumper stickers for the man, …but no! We get Barry : (

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: You've pretty much nailed why so many of us who followed Martin Luther King into the lion's den are so disgusted with Obama. He has perverted the message of equality and turned it into a message of victimhood and special privilege. He has tosssed out MLK's individual worth in favor of group rights. And he has enabled the left wing of the Democratic Party to claim the wrong "first:" the election of a highly-qualified, honest, patriotic American who is only incidentally Black. Instead, they chose a highly-malleable, chameleon-like Chicago South Side machine politician who would continue the Democrat policies of less freedom and more dependency on government. Instead of rejoicing in the fact that America is now the first and only major western democracy to elect a Black man to its highest office, he has spent much of his Presidency apologizing for everything America has ever done or stood for.

Nevertheless, the single accomplishment of electing a Black President will come to mean that even Barack Obama cannot destroy an idea whose time has come.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Stan, glad you noticed!

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