Jim Lehrer, the obvious winner: There’s no one on earth like the New York Times. Today, they prove it again.
In Wednesday night’s debate, Candidate Perry committed a bit of a gaffe—and yes, his gaffe was funny. Only the Times would respond with an equally comical news report about the “brain science” which explains such moments.
Here’s a sample of Tara Parker-Pope’s classic New York Timesism:
PARKER-POPE (11/11/11): When all goes well, the medial temporal lobe acts like a library’s card catalog system, pointing to the locations in the brain where different parts of the memory are stored and allowing the memory to be recalled. But in Mr. Perry’s case, it appears that something went wrong, and the search turned up the wrong card or looked in the wrong place or was interrupted.According to the Times, Candidate Perry may have been foiled by stress on the hippocampus! That shouldn't be confused with sunrise at Campobello.
The culprit could have been distraction, experts say. Just before the gaffe, Mr. Perry looked directly at his opponent Ron Paul, which suggests the glance may have disrupted his train of thought. Or it’s possible that Mr. Perry’s mind may have started moving ahead to his next point too quickly, leaving him muddled in the moment. Stress also can impair the function of the hippocampus, which is also involved in memory retrieval.
In today's hard-copy Times, this is the featured news report in the "National" section. It eats up roughly half the page; it’s accompanied by a large color photograph, selected so Perry looks stupid. This perfectly fits the current Times model, in which the paper lets readers think they’re getting high-IQ material even as they're fed a diet of complete total pure abject nonsense.
Through such pseudo-news reports, the Times provides readers with little real news—but with a big mess of therapy. Signals are sent that the reader is smart. Elsewhere, this brainless paper sends similar signals about readers' lofty morality.
That’s the way the Times has reacted to the breakdown inside Perry’s campus. Elsewhere, cable “news” channel have responded with video segments letting us recall and relive the greatest debate gaffes of all time. Candidate Dukakis has ridden again, along with “you’re-no-Jack-Kennedy” Quayle and poor stupid Admiral Stockdale. Through these video features, these brainless life-forms keep us primed on the tales we’ve always been told.
Are these really the worst debate gaffes? You’ll note an omission in all such reports: When the press corps remembers the big debate blunders, the gaffes are all made by the candidates! The groaners committed by the own kind are left on the cutting-room floor! Once again, your gaze is directed away from the biggest clowns in our nation’s failing culture. In the interest of balance, we offer today the real biggest gaffes of all time.
Rather plainly, Jim Lehrer authored the worst debate performances of all time. That said, let’s start with his first runner-up, the ridiculous Bernie Shaw:
Bernie Shaw, 1988: It’s the grand-daddy of them all! We refer to Bernie Shaw’s amazingly tasteless question to Candidate Dukakis, in which he asked the governor to imagine how he’d respond if his wife was raped and murdered. In his new book, “Tension City,” Jim Lehrer describes the way Shaw’s fellow panelists, all women, pleaded with him before the debate not to ask such a tasteless question—or, at the very least, not to mention Kitty Dukakis by name.
No dice! Bernie knew best!
We think you know the rest of the story. From that day to this, the life-forms known as the mainstream press have criticized Dukakis for responding so poorly to this question. In the minds of this low-IQ group, Dukakis was supposed to vault the moderator’s table, punch Shaw in the nose, then describe the fury he would feel if his wife got mistreated like that.
Basic learnings: These are stupid, tasteless people. And they're eager to show it!
That said, let’s move on to the obvious winner—to the author of the worst debate performances of all time:
Jim Lehrer, 1996/2000/2004: Truthfully, Lehrer’s misconduct in these debates dwarfs that of all other contenders. Let’s start with the history-changing debates between Candidates Bush and Gore during Campaign 2000.
Unfortunately, Lehrer was in charge—and he had a large bug up his keister, like the bulk of that era’s “press corps.” As the first debate neared its end, he introduced its final topic—Candidate Gore’s troubling character. “New question,” Lehrer intoned. “Governor Bush, are there issues of character that distinguish you from Vice President Gore?” When Bush didn’t answer quite strongly enough, Lehrer helpfully pushed him along.
The entire final segment was devoted to Candidate Gore’s bad character.
This demonstrated amazing bad judgment by Lehrer, but he was willing to top it. Eight days later, Bush and Gore debated again—and Lehrer ended that second debate in the same darn way! Here’s the way he introduced that debate’s closing segment:
LEHRER (10/11/00): New question.Fueled by that question, the entire last segment focused again on Gore’s troubling character! In this case, the hapless Lehrer compounded the problem by making a factual error, falsely saying that one of Gore’s TV commercials was “calling the governor a bungler.” Out in the real world, there was no such ad, but Candidate Gore looked evasive as he confusedly answered. (This produced a laugh from the audience, at Gore’s expense.) Lehrer began the third debate by correcting his error, but the damage had been done.
LEHRER: Last question for you, Governor. This flows out some—flows somewhat out of the Boston debate.
You, your running mate, your campaign officials have charged that Vice President Gore exaggerates, embellishes and stretches the facts, etc. Are you, do you believe these are serious issues—this is a serious issue that the voters should use in deciding which one of you two men to vote for on November 7?
Just to summarize: Each of the first two debates had ended with full segments in which the candidates were asked to discuss Al Gore’s character problems.
This represented astounding bad judgment by Lehrer. But it continued a pattern from the 1996 debates, a matter Lehrer weirdly discusses in his strange new book, Tension City. During that year’s first debate, Lehrer strangely explains in his book, he was concerned that Candidate Dole wasn’t raising the Clinton character issue strongly enough. In particular, Lehrer says he was concerned that Dole wasn’t hitting Clinton on the Gennifer Flowers matter.
It’s hard to know why Lehrer would make such an odd statement. The Flowers allegations surfaced in January 1992, long before that year’s presidential debates. Flowers was long since out of the news by the fall of 1996. But in his peculiar new book, Lehrer says that’s what he was thinking during the first 1996 debate. Frustrated, this is the question he asked as that debate neared its end:
LEHRER (10/7/96): Senator Dole, we've talked mostly now about differences between the two of you that relate to policy, issues and that sort of thing. Are there also significant differences in the more personal area that are relevant to this election?In his weird new book, Lehrer expressly says that he asked this question so Dole could talk about Gennifer Flowers. When Dole basically laughed the question away, Lehrer kept trying to prompt him. (Next question: “Senator Dole, if you could single out one thing that you would like for the voters to have in their mind about President Clinton on a policy matter or a personal matter, what would it be?”)
As Lehrer explains in his book, he was disappointed that Dole didn’t hit Clinton hard enough on the character issue. Result? Three nights later, he started the vice presidential debate with this leading question for Candidate Kemp:
LEHRER (10/10/96): The order for everything was determined by a coin toss. There will be three-minute closing statements, but no opening statements. So, we go now to the first question, and to Mr. Kemp.Incredible. In fact, a Nexis search finds very few people complaining about Dole’s reluctance, though Lehrer continues to makes this claim in his fact-challenged new book. (Does this guy redearch anything?)
LEHRER: Some supporters of Senator Dole have expressed disappointment over his unwillingness in Hartford Sunday night to draw personal and ethical differences between him and President Clinton. How do you feel about it?
In 1996, then in 2000, Lehrer had a very large bug up his keister. He behaved abominably, especially in 2000, when the debates almost surely turned the election. Incredibly, he whines and complains in his puzzling book about the way the Gore campaign criticized his conduct in those debates; he even complains about their nit-picking when they complained about his error concerning the Gore commercial which he had somehow imagined. And by the way: Lehrer continued this pattern in 2004! Near the end of the first Bush-Kerry debate, the great man posed this query:
LEHRER (9/30/04): New question, President Bush. Clearly, as we have heard, major policy differences between the two of you. Are there also underlying character issues that you believe, that you believe are serious enough to deny Senator Kerry the job as commander in chief of the United States?“That's a loaded question,” Bush correctly replied. Though that barely touches the manifest strangeness of Lehrer's ongoing behavior.
Incredibly, this represented the fifth straight debate in which Lehrer prompted the Republican candidate to discuss the character problems of his Democratic opponent. (Lehrer had no control over the content of the other debates in 1996 and 2000.) And by the way, just so you’ll know: This was the subsequent question to Kerry which “balanced” that leading question to Bush:
LEHRER (9/30/04): New question, two minutes, Senator Kerry. If you are elected president, what will you take to that office thinking is the single most serious threat to the national security to the United States?And this was the question Lehrer has asked right before prompting Bush to discuss Kerry's character:
LEHRER (9/30/04): New question, two minutes. Senator Kerry, you mentioned Darfur, the Darfur region of Sudan. Fifty thousand people have already died in that area. More than a million are homeless. And it's been labeled an act of ongoing genocide. Yet neither one of you or anyone else connected with your campaigns or your administration that I can find has discussed the possibility of sending in troops. Why not?Weird! It was almost like Candidate Kerry had a character problem there too!
In these five debates, stretching over eight years, Lehrer kept asking the Republican candidates to discuss the Democrats' bad character. There were no equal-but-opposite questions—and Lehrer is amazingly frank, in his strange new book, about the reasons for those questions in 1996. It was all about his desire to hear Bob Dole discuss Gennifer Flowers!
No, we’re not making that up.
(Lehrer gave this same explanation to Gloria Borger when they discussed his new book on C-Span. Borger said nothing, of course.)
These are very bad people—dumb, overpaid, over-praised, hugely clueless. In the last few nights, they have been showing us tape of history’s greatest mistakes—though first, they have excised their own.
They too failed to serve: We would complete our list in this way:
Worst debate performances ever:If you want the greatest mistake by a candidate, the worst in history is obvious—and undiscussed. The winner would have to be Candidate Bush, accusing Candidate Gore of using “phony numbers” in their first debate, followed by this classic sliming:
Jim Lehrer, 1996/2000/2004
Bernie Shaw, 1988
Brian Williams/Tim Russert, Democratic debate, 10/30/07
Judy Woodruff, Democratic debate, January 2000
Tim Russert, Republican debate, January 2000 (in part for its comedy value)
BUSH (10/3/00): Look, this is the man who's got great numbers. He talks about numbers. I'm beginning to think, not only did he invent the Internet, but he invented the calculator.The key word there is “LAUGHTER.”
It's fuzzy math. It's to scare them, trying to scare people in the voting booth.
In fact, Gore’s numbers were perfectly accurate. Everyone in the “press corps” knew it. (A few even said so, under their breath.) Oops! Candidate Bush had misdescribed his own prescription drug plan! After that, he called Candidate Gore a liar for having described it correctly! As he did, he threw in the campaign's defining line: Al Gore said he invented the Internet!
It was the biggest debate gaffe of all time by a candidate. Thanks to the morals of people like Lehrer, you were never told. An hour later, in fact, Lehrer was inviting Bush to describe Gore’s character problems! Soon, the children were playing their doctored tapes of Gore sighing too much.
This is the way you got to Iraq—with multimillionaires tugging their dongs as they dreamed of loud talk about Flowers.
By the way: Your liberal "intellectual leaders" accepted this nonsense every step of the way. You didn't hear the tiniest peep out of your most famous leaders. You won't heard these people discuss Lehrer's book, or the weird things he says in its pages. Nor will your favorite fiery young liberals ever discuss such a god.
Dearest darlings! Careers are at stake! Such things cannot be done!