The Corner

The Downstream Consequences of the Gaffe Trifecta

What are the odds that the three most powerful elected officials in the country would each commit such politically radioactive gaffes — Senate Majority Leader Reid’s racialist comments about Hispanics, President Obama’s gymnastics regarding the proposed Ground Zero mosque, and Speaker Pelosi’s professed desire to unleash Inspector Clouseau on roughly 200 million Americans — all in the course of one week? And that the same three would further bewilder the public by making a series of indecipherable “clarifying” remarks.

The undeniably comical aspects of the trio’s behavior shouldn’t distract from at least two unsettling observations: 1) It seems a growing number of people at the highest levels of our political class are finding it a struggle to govern as serious adults; and 2) their antics are being studied by serious adults in Moscow and Beijing, unbalanced adults in Tehran and Pyongyang, anxious adults in Tel Aviv and Baghdad, exasperated adults in London and Berlin, and adults with malign intent everywhere.

What conclusions have those adults drawn?

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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