Monday, May 5, 2008

Pandering has its pitfalls

Attention budding candidates and campaign operatives: When you shamelessly pander as a "man or woman of the people" on an issue that you have no real world knowledge of you run the risk looking like a fool.

Exhibit A:

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s mailing attacking Sen. Barack Obama’s record on guns appears to include a striking visual gaffe: The image of the gun pictured on the face of the mailing is reversed, making it a nonexistent left-handed model of the Mauser 66 rifle.

To make matters worse, a prominent gun dealer said, it’s an expensive German gun with customized features that make it clearly European.

“The gun in the photo does not exist,” said Val Forgett III, president of Navy Arms in Martinsburg, W.Va. Forgett's company was Mauser’s agent in the United States when the gun was released, and it sold Mauser guns here again in the 1990s. “The bolt is facing to the left side of the receiver, making it a left-handed bolt action rifle, indicating whoever constructed and approved the mailer did not recognize the image has been reversed.”

Forgett said the error would be obvious to sportsmen.

“I find it laughable on its face,” he said. “It’s like a picture of Babe Ruth hitting right-handed.”

I'll admit I bought into the pre-primary hype that said Clinton would run a strong campaign with few unforced errors. I was obviously mistaken. This is buffoonery but it's entirely predictable buffoonery. When you demagogue and issue you really don't have any personal interest in you end up looking foolish. We have years worth of columns and blog posts from right-wingers proving this point.

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