Super Duper Political Bloopers

It’s Only a Matter of Time Before Every Leader Says Something Silly

By Buck Wolf

Oct 6, 2000 — When Bill Crawford wonders which clown will be the next president of the United States, he has no doubt America will elect a clown.

The only question is what sort of clown.

After all, Democratic challenger Al Gore once told an audience, “A zebra doesn’t change its spots.” And his Republican rival, George W. Bush, took a beating for telling the folks of Nashua, N.H., “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”

The goofs and gaffes come large and small, and Crawford can’t wait for the next one. It’s a living, and if it’s a bit unfair and ghoulish to live off other people’s mistakes, so what?

“If you record anyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, like we virtually do with today’s candidates, that person is certain to sound like a buffoon,” says Crawford, author of Republicans Do the Dumbest Things (Renaissance Books) and its Democratic companion.

“Just when you think you’ve heard it all, the candidates start talking and the dumb-o-meter pin bounces pretty hard on the register.”

Master Exaggerator vs. Mr. Malaprop

In Crawford’s mind, this year’s election pits the tortured syntax of Bush against the ridiculous exaggerations of Gore. And no matter who wins, the laughs are guaranteed.

Bush’s verbal bloopers have been so frequent, Vanity Fair went so far as to speculate he may be dyslexic. Reading from prepared speeches, Bush has referred to “peacekeeper” as “pacemaker” and argued that America “cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile” rather than “hostage.”

The examples of Bush’s tortured tongue goes on and on.

In South Carolina, Bush got a little philosophical with supporters: “Rarely is the question asked, Is our children learning?”

Debating John McCain, Bush made this point: “I think we agree, the past is over.” He then complained the Arizona senator “can’t take the high horse and then claim the low road.”