Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do Gaffes Matter?

The political chattering class loves it when a politician stumbles.  The most recent example is Herman Cain's gaffe, if you want to call it that, about a Palestinian right-to-return.  Sure, Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin get all the attention for saying dunderheaded things, and Vice President Joe Biden has turned the verbal gaffe into an art form, but Cain had loving attention all this weekend when he announced his unlikely bid for the GOP nomination. 

Are people paying attention?  Nope.  Do most Americans care deeply about the Israeli-Palestinian difficulties?  Hardly.  Will Cain's gaffe matter?  Not at all.  So in terms of what people know, the "gaffe" might as well be invisible.  I suspect the more the press hits him on this, the more support Cain will get from hardcore Republican voters who tend to participate in primaries.  In other words, piling on by the pundits will win the guy sympathy.

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