On Sept. 1, Governor Jan Brewer joined the ranks of political bumblers, during her Arizona gubernatorial debate with Terry Goddard. Governor Brewer’s previous comments about “beheadings in the desert” set the stage for Goddard to take the show with his challenges to clarify what he claimed were “false statements.” In a weak attempt to counter Goddard’s attack, Brewer first demanded he make a stand on union issues. When that failed, the Arizona Governor went silent. As if her disastrous performance were not embarrassing enough, Brewer rejected reporters’ invitations to redeem herself and chose to flee the building instead. Though she did correct her statements later, admitting she misspoke, speculators wondered if this foul up would hurt Brewer’s 20-point lead in the polls.
In light of her latest blooper, the question is, should Brewer have remained silent? Or should she have risked pulling a “Sarah Palin” and giving a brow-raising explanation for her previous statement? I remember the former Alaska Governor’s interview with Katie Couric back in September 2008 on CBS. Palin stated that part of her foreign policy experience included the fact that she lived in Alaska, which is in close proximity to Russia. She stated, “We have trade missions back and forth, we do.”
Even my 14-year-old laughed. The look on Katie Couric’s face was priceless. For me, Palin’s statements raised a question: Was Palin competent to be vice president? When I finally gathered what Palin was saying about the extent of her experience, I just shook my head. Add Palin’s finger gestures and winks, and Tina Fey’s brilliant parody spoofs, and it was settled. I was too horrified to imagine Sarah Palin as vice president, much less the president of the United States. A recent poll showed that most people don’t think Palin would be an effective president. I agree. So, yes, I believe Palin’s comments hurt her public opinion.
Yet the question remains — is it better for a politician to say nothing? Or is it better to risk sounding incompetent and give nervous rambling a shot? Perhaps to form a solid opinion of our nation’s leaders, we need to look at the whole track record, rather than an isolated incident. I have to say I don’t believe Brewer’s overall image will be hurt by this blooper. The way I see it, if former President George W. Bush, with his infamous “Bushisms” could win two presidential elections, then Brewer’s credibility is probably safe.