I haven't been around forever, but has ever a campaign felt so plagued by gaffes made by non-candidates? Of the three emails I've gotten today from friends jawing about the campaign, two were about Jesse and another just read, "Did you see what Phil Gramm said?" (Here, in case you didn't.) Then, an email from Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor hit my inbox that consisted only of the following three lines:
JMart: On Gramm speaking for McCain, McCain said at his hastily-arranged press conference this afternoon that Gramm didn't speak for him.
But on the same day that he made that comment Gramm happened to be, well, speaking for him at a meeting of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board.Oh-ho! Chilling! Over the year, we've gone through similar cycles of outrage with Sam Power, Austan Goolsbee, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Mike Huckabee (the joke at the NRA about Obama getting shot), and in these last few days the non-candidate-gaffe rate seems to have exploded, with Wes Clark, Gramm, and Jackson (not a surrogate, but still a major pain), probably because there's nothing much else happening. In a way, I feel sorry for campaign surrogates: They walk a tightrope, mandated to say what the candidate can't quite say, but not to say what the candidate really can't say lest they set off a demented cycle of shock and sorrow. Do McCain and Obama really need so many minions and representatives covering every cable show, every hour? Can't we do away with this evil proliferation of surrogates? I never thought anything could, but the last few days have almost made me long for the time when the TV ran endless clips of Hillary and Obama sniping at each other -- at least both of them were running for office.