Snarky Behavior

Faux Pas Your Way to the White House

May 18, 2007 · 2 Comments

It’s great to be here in San Francisco!
–Bob Dole, upon arriving in San Diego for the 1996 GOP Convention

Before puberty dealt me a cruel fate of acne, bitch tits and a bear-suit, I was kind of a big deal. As a much-revered fourth-grader, I served as Vice-President of Kate Sessions Elementary School.

I just reeked of rich mahogany.

In grade 5, I decided to throw my hat in the ring for the position of President. Ostensibly, I ran on the platform of better popsicle options, more homework passes, and new basketball nets. Truly, a man of the people.

I’ll spare you the suspense and tell you that I won… but, my administration was rife with scandal. (Let me explain: at every weekly assembly, the homework passes that we implemented were drawn “randomly” out of a giant box by myself and my cabinet. The lucky winners were awarded a night free from homework obligations. Allegations of nepotism were charged when it was observed that the winning tickets frequently belonged to my friends. On closer inspection, many of the tickets contained large globs of dried glue that gave them a distinguishing tactile characteristic. I don’t recall the specific nature of these events, and cannot comment further).

But that is neither here nor there. The point of this post is to highlight my captivating stump speech that undoubtedly secured me my position of power. The closing line was: “If nothing else, as your current Vice-President, at least I know how to spell potato.”

This was, of course, a jab at then Vice-President of the United States Dan Quayle, who had recently committed the faux pas of “correcting” a student’s spelling while on some photo-op in a public school. Quayle was mercilessly mocked by the mainstream media to the point that the joke was salient to an audience of 8, 9 and 10 year-olds. He lost the respect of the country and his party over a commonly misspelled tuber.

15 years later, there is a cottage industry (Daily Show and Colbert Report) mocking the unintelligible things our President says on a DAILY BASIS.

I just wanted to bring this up so that when we hear news stories on how “clean” Obama is, or how Hil-dog “ain’t feel no ways tired,” or how Edwards spent $400 on a haircut, or how Brownback doesn’t know who Brett Favre is, or how McCain “WALNUTS!” himself, or how Tommy Thomson thinks “earning money is part of the Jewish tradition,” or how mid-west women find Mitt Romney “hot with classically natural graying temples and jet-black hair,” or how Giuliani is a ferret-hating adulterer with the world’s most complicated position on abortion…

These people aren’t infallible. They’re going to make mistakes. They have people managing their gaffes and flubs, but damage control is impossible in today’s environment. And the opposition pays people (Swiftboat anyone?) to exploit their faux pas.

The lesson? Take a page from the Bush play-book and learn some self-deprecation. Take the issues seriously, but give yourself some wiggle room for error.

Seriously Edwards, would it have killed you to go on Leno and say, “Yeah this haircut cost me $400… but I’m dead sexy.”?

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