Jewish World Review March 23, 2012/ 29 Adar, 5772
A Fawlty slip of the tongue
By Jonah Goldberg
There's a great old "Fawlty Towers" scene (if you're unfamiliar with the 1970s British sitcom, hie thyself to YouTube!) in which Basil Fawlty (
In one scene, after blurting out references to the war a dozen times while seating the Germans at the restaurant, he says to his wife, "Listen, don't mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right." He then returns to the Germans' table to review their lunch order: "So! It's all forgotten now, and let's hear no more about it. So, that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a
When one of the patrons begs him to stop talking about the war, Cleese responds, "Me? You started it!"
The German retorts, "We did not start it!" Cleese answers, "Yes you did! You invaded
The scene came to mind Wednesday when I saw an instantly infamous clip of
Asked by a
Of course, the gaffe was overhyped by the media and by Romney's
But Ferhnstrom should know that he shouldn't say anything -- and I mean anything -- that reinforces the idea that Romney is a flip-flopper, a people-pleaser, a weather vane or, now, an Etch A Sketch. It's less than a novel insight to note that Romney's greatest vulnerability is that he seems insincere and that it appears his commitment to conservatism is entirely tactical. Ferhnstrom should know this. He's the communications director, for Pete's sake. He's supposed to be the guy with the hose putting out fires, not throwing gas on them.
Fehrnstrom's Etch A Sketch gaffe would be akin to
Every candidate has a weak spot, an inconvenient storyline he doesn't want magnified. Fehrnstrom's remark was simply malpractice, and while it would probably be unfair to judge the man by one misstatement, Romney would have been wise to fire him, or at least take him to the woodshed.
Barring that, he could have tried to make a joke about it.
Every few years I write a column on one of my biggest peeves about
Give the Democrats their due: They fake their outrage with more sincerity.
Of course Romney -- or any nominee -- will pivot to the center in a general election. Obama's been running for president as a fake centrist for almost two years now. He just doesn't admit it.
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