It seems as if the only time the word “gaffe” ever comes up in the media is during presidential elections every four years. With cameras ever-present, it’s natural for them to make a few public mistakes now and then.
The media have made a big to-do about the verbal stumbles of both Barack Obama and John McCain — at the expense of coverage about their philosophies and positions on the issues. It’s a sad reality that sensation trumps substance just about any day of the week, especially on the presidential campaign trail.
But sometimes media mislabel gaffes. After all, is it really a gaffe if you’re speaking from the perspective of your life experiences?
Last week, McCain was asked how many homes he owns. He stammered for a moment, then told a reporter that he would have his staff get back to the reporter on that. His campaign staff then said four, though it turns out to be even more than that if you count his investment properties.
At a time when many are struggling to keep up with their mortgages, it’s stunning that a presidential candidate has no idea how many houses he has — he essentially lost track. From here on, it’ll be difficult for McCain to make the case that he understands the issues of the working class.
If McCain were arguing that today’s economy is weak, his supposed gaffe may have blown over. But he has said publicly that he believes the economy is fundamentally strong.
McCain’s lack of knowledge of his houses isn’t a gaffe. It’s a peek into his world view. Maybe Maverick McCain is just a little more Republican than they would have us believe.