There is certainly a downside to many media appearances. In an interview on Glenn’s Beck radio show Wednesday, Nov. 24, Palin was asked how she would handle the situation in Korea. Palin replied saying that the U.S has to obviously stand with its allies, the North Koreans. The U.S., however, is allied with South Korea.
One would think, with her media exposure, Palin is bound to misspeak at one time or another. However, this gaffe might be playing a big part in her widely predicted presidential run in 2012 because it confirms the impressions she left in the now-infamous Katie Couric interview back in 2010. She explained her experience in foreign policy with the fact that Russia can be seen from Alaska. Many of us only remember the now famous line ” I can see Russia from my house,” by comedian Tina Fey, who impersonated her successfully.
Gaffes happen to everyone. Palin certainly isn’t the exception. However, they can be image-damaging, as Vice President Dan Quayle’s famous “potatoe” inspired him to dedicate a whole chapter in his book, titled ” Standing Firm.” He says that “Politicians live and die by the famous sound bite.” He recalled the moment he corrected a sixth-grader wrongly on a correctly spelled word (potato) and the ridicule afterward: “a defining moment of the worst kind imaginable’.” Bush/Quayle lost the nomination five months later and Quayle was ranked as America’s favorite dumb politician . Quayle tried to run for president after that mishap, but ranked poorly in the poll and then pulled out of the race.
John Kerry also was under fire for a statement a week before the congressional election in 2006. In a speech at the Pasadena City College he said: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” His comments were criticized on both sides of the aisle, and Kerry was forced to apologize. Of course this was a shot at Bush, since Kerry believed that the President rushed into the war without thinking. It wasn’t meant to belittle the military. While comments like that made Kerry unpopular, this statement didn’t hurt the Democrats in the elections.
Of course, President Obama was also ridiculed for one of his most famous gaffes on the campaign trail. The then-presidential candidate stated in Oregon that he had been in 57 states and had one more to go. Talk show hosts had a ball with it. Others called him ignorant and inexperienced. And then there were those who excused him by acknowledging that he was probably just tired. The comment never completely disappeared, but Obama still won the presidency.
The similarities between Palin and Quayle are most striking. Both were considered inexperienced, young and at times ineloquent with their words, despite the fact that Palin is considered a gifted speaker. If Palin considers a run in 2012, I hope she would find a qualified person to discuss those things on her behalf (perhaps a good vice presidential candidate), because those kinds of gaffes can be costly. Quayle still blames his political losses on that fateful day when he misspelled the word “potato.” Hopefully Palin’s team can do some image-control so she can recover from this.
All links are embedded. As supporting links, I added gaffes from Bush and Obama.