Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Paladino can't even get hate right..
Demogoguing a minority group like the LGBT community or Muslims or you-name-it is a cheap, content-free way for a candidate to signify to certain groups that the candidate is the same--he or she is just as mad about those people and what they do. Sure, it's evil, hateful, and shouldn't really be done by decent people, but let's say you have already established that you aren't interested in being decent. It's a gamble politicians have been making for years. The wager is really simple: Do you stand to get more votes by sticking it to the out group than you would lose from the people who would be appalled by what you've said?
A slick candidate knows how far to go. They prepare their own statements so as to toe the line of the socially acceptable. And they live with the consequences because there are no "takesies-backsies".
When caught in a truly horrendous example of bigotry or untruth, the tactical apology must follow the time-honored format:
"I'm sorry if anyone was offended by my unthoughtful language, but I assure you that much of what I said is in agreement with a) my faith and that of others' b) a study I read in The Wingnut Times by an author whose name escapes me." It's best if delivered in a tone of quiet shock at oneself and the response ones words has brought about, as if really, this little things is being blown way out of proportion. This fulfills the requirement for an apology that satisfies some, but tells the haters that every word was really meant. Everyone has seen or read an apology just like that.
What you don't do is wander into the deep end of the hate pool, realize you aren't a good swimmer, and take nearly everything back. Then you have not only alienated the out group (whose votes you weren't getting anyway, dumbass) and the haters, who will feel like they don't really trust you, now.
It looks so simple when guys like Gingrich do it. (And no, I'm not endorsing the tactic, just pointing out this is how it's done.) What Paladino did is the equivalent of going to pat himself on the back, and winding up breaking his own foot off in his backside. Which requires a combination of flexibility and ineptness one seldom sees paired together in a single candidate.