Foot in mouth syndrome- we all suffer from it. That time when our brain just doesn’t process ideas quick enough, consider the consequences of what our words may bring and realise that actually, we probably shouldn’t say anything at all. I remember as a child being told to think whether what I was about to say was true, kind or helpful- and it’s a lesson I still need to learn sometimes! Whether it’s accidental innuendo or thoughtless comments, we’re all guilty of a gaffe from time to time.
This week Mitt Romney lost the US election. It’s not a fact, not yet anyway, but a prediction. His off-hand comments about the kind of people who will “vote for this President” no matter what (government dependant victims who don’t pay taxes), will have damaged his campaign more than any other setback thus far. Although it would be pointless to backtrack, the fact that he did not apologise for these comments makes it even worse. To then comment on Middle East foreign policy (saying that Palestinians are committed to Israel’s destruction so the peace process is effectively pointless) proves just how inept a President Romney would be (ADDITION- new view footage shows some rather interesting views on how he’d attack the USA, if he was from Iran, or as he called them “the crazy people”- the videos keep coming, and yet I worry that some may feel he’s “straight-talking”…he’s straight something alright!). If this man still makes it to the White House after November 6th, then either the US population are far more forgiving/stupid than we thought (delete as appropriate), or the election process is an entirely corrupt system.
Now Romney isn’t the first politician to make a mistake (although quite possibly the most sinister & corrupt). Continuing with our ‘list theme’ from last week, here are my top five political errors of judgement from history:
Honourable mentions- there are almost too many to mention, but feel free to click & be shocked by Michele Bachman’s misunderstanding of the US Founding Fathers & the abolition of slavery, Vice President Biden’s lack of knowledge about President Roosevelt and when television was created, Al Gore’s “sigh” or his taking credit for the internet or President Obama’s secret 8 states! Outside of America, just research anything Silvio Berlusconi did- ever!
5- History constitutes anything from the past, so even though this is from 2012, it counts. Rick Perry was a candidate for the Republican nomination to run for President against Obama. To understand how someone so incompetent as Romney got the nod, you need to understand just what limited choice the Republicans had this year:
If you can’t remember your plans for when you make it to the White House, then you won’t make it to the White House.
4- In 1976 the Presidential election was more interesting than before. Following President Nixon’s resignation (the only US President to do so), there were two new candidates. Nixon’s replacement was Gerald Ford, and the turning point of the election came during another televised debate, where Ford inaccurately stated that areas of Eastern Europe did not feel under Soviet domination. Although this may have been a period of Detente between the US & USSR, Eastern Europe was very much a part of the Iron Curtain. Ford’s failure to grasp this, or at least explain it during the debate, displayed foreign policy shortcomings & offended second generation immigrant blue collar workers. Ford lost.
3- It would be wrong of us to focus purely on the United States when we too have had our fair share of gaffe’s, none so memorable in recent history than Gordon Brown and “bigot-gate”. Although the chances of a non-elected Prime Minister Brown retaining power whilst the strength of the economy decreased (& the incompetence of the Labour Party increased), his off-hand comment regarding one particularly passionate voter, Gillian Duffy, marked the point of no return for the man with the creepiest smile in Politics.
2- Ronald Reagan’s presidency is an interesting one, the Hollywood star turned leader of the free world who is often seen as bringing an end to the Cold War. To see him own a heckler during one speech, or ridicule the Democrats during a Republican convention, you’d think he’d be gaffe free. But the man just couldn’t resist a joke. Whilst running for re-election in 1984, President Reagan decided his microphone sound check would constitute an announcement: “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes”. Leaked to the press within the hour, it led to the Soviet Army being put on alert!
1- It had to be, didn’t it? The question really was which classic moment from President George W. Bush would be chosen? When a shoe was thrown at his head? When he showed off his dancing moves in aid of Malaria awareness? When he groped the German Chancellor Angela Merkel? Or when he couldn’t find the way out in Beijing? What about when he was violated by a Turkey? When he gave himself the nickname of “the Decider”? When he gave the bird to a television camera? Perhaps when he choked on a Pretzel? When he fell of a Segway scooter? Or when he dropped his dog in front of horrified children? When he suggested Queen Elizabeth II was over 200 years old? Perhaps when he was caught swearing with a mouth full of food whilst talking to Tony Blair? Or is it when he was caught picking his nose at a New York Rangers game? Decisions, decisions… ultimately I think it was when he suggested he was thinking of new ways to harm the USA, in a speech that could only be from George ‘Dubya’ Bush: