Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Sh*t Happens

Someone in an online forum I follow (Table Talk) expressed the worry that Dean's misstatement on what he has said about raising the age for Social Security suggests that Dean is prone to errors and that this tendency may eventually destroy him if he becomes the nominee. It is something to consider, but not something to worry that much about. First of all, we shouldn't blow the misstatement on the SS age issue out of proportion. Dean did not lie. He just forgot that he had, at one time several years back, raised the possibility. And, once the mistake was pointed out to him, he immediately issued a mea culpa and made no attempt to deflect blame. The big mistake politicians make is not in making mistakes. They make them all the time. The big mistake politicians make is to try and avoid situations where they might make mistakes. But the only way to do that is to never take chances. It is that that leads, in part, to the impression of phonyness. We simply can't be hyper-sensitive to these matters. We can't fret about how Rove will lie, smear and distort the Democratic candidate. We can't because it is a 100% certainty that he will do it. Worrying about it just leads to our choosing "electable" candidates who are so afraid of making mistakes that they come off as bland nothings that appeal to no one. Our candidates need to be cautious in their public statements, yes. They should try to get things right the first time, of course. But don't break into a panic every time they make a misstep. I guarantee you that no matter who the Democrats nominate that that candidate will have at least one fairly significant fuckup between the nominating convention and the election. The true measure of a great politician is not that they don't make mistakes but that they know how to recover from making mistakes. Dean made a couple of mistakes and, so far, he has demonstrated that he is very good at recovering from them. Just look how damaged he was by the "atrocious" performance on Meet The Press.


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