We need a new term for the political science lexicon: Obamagaffe. An Obamagaffe is when a politician verbally makes a substantial error and the Commentariat ignores it. It's a useful concept.
"Candidate X just said he would boil babies in hot oil to reduce inflation. But this was an Obamagaffe, so no problem there." An Obamagaffe is when commentators and media give the benefit of the doubt to the gaffer and does not take an error seriously. The error is interpreted as a slip of the tongue, an exaggeration, hyperbole, a figure of speech, etc. After all, to err is human, so it only makes the gaffer more likeable, provided, of course, it is a genuine Obamagaffe.
When Obama does not have his teleprompter as a prop he is well known for his vacuous, convoluted, aimless, long-winded responses. Often times these are replete with Obamagaffes--errors of fact no-one--at least no-one of any "significance"--takes seriously.
(In the political science lexicon, the opposite of an Obamagaffe is a Palingaffe. A Palingaffe is when a ridiculous comment is attributed to a politician or a candidate which they never actually said, but the Commentariat repeats endlessly the story that they did, so that the end result is the same. A second rate comedienne mimicking Sara Palin declared that she could see Russia from her front porch. It was a humorous line which was subsequently attributed to Palin as something she literally said, and, therefore, incontrovertible evidence of her stupidity and third-rate education.)
In the recent presidential debate, President Obama delivered the biggest gaffe this campaign so far. But it serves to make him more likeable and human, like ordinary mortals. To err is human, right. In other words, the Commentariat spontaneously judged it to be an Obamagaffe, and therefore not worthy of any serious comment.
Romney and Obama were debating petrol prices. Obama was claiming that he actively supports more energy production in the US. Here is Romney's retort:
The proof of whether a strategy is working or not is what the price is that you're paying at the pump. If you're paying less than you paid a year or two ago, why, then, the strategy is working. But you're paying more. When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about $1.86 a gallon. Now, it's $4.00 a gallon.Pretty reasonable. Here is Obama's reply:
Well, think about what the governor -- think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney's now promoting. So, it's conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies, we might be back in that same mess. (Emphasis, ours)This is a monumental Obamagaffe. The erstwhile law professor is arguing lower petrol prices are likely to cause terrible recessions. Really. That's a profoundly novel economic doctrine. Wonder if it will win the Nobel Prize? Oh, wait. Obama already has one of those. Sure, for peace, but let's not split hairs.
Now, we can charitably extend to Obama some sympathy for saying something monumentally stupid in the heat of the debate. But for the Commentariat not to call it out as stupid, mistaken, wrong, etc means that the gaffe has been universally judged to be an Obamagaffe. A free pass for the President by the Commentariat. Why? Let the readers decide.