That’s the suggestion made by some readers in response to my post about Rick Perry’s brain freeze in last night’s debate. It’s also a theme followed up by commenter OwenJ in an e-mail to me, which reads:
Some time ago, responding to the response from some bloggers and pundits to Politico’s smear attack on Herman Cain, you said that we were our own worst enemies.
You said that, with justification, because these people were piling on Cain as a result of — but not merely because of — the unsupported allegations. Cain did make serious mistakes in the way he handled the attack: he and especially his campaign manager went so far as to slander Rick Perry by making vitriolic unsupported accusations that he was behind the attack. Further, some pointed out, with justification, that this poor performance was part of a pattern.
Tonight Rick Perry lost his train of thought for a moment during the debate and some bloggers (and so-called pundits) are now piling on Perry, declaring him “done” and characterizing this lapse in hyperbolic terms. They also point out, with justification, that this is part of a pattern.
So my question is: Are we still our own worst enemies for piling on a candidate because of his poor performance in these debates? Or are we only our own worst enemies when piling on Herman Cain for his poor performance in managing his campaign?
I think there’s a big difference between making a mountain out of a campaign manager’s mole hill (Mark Block wrongly stating that someone worked at Politico) and pointing out a disaster which befell a candidate in plain view on national TV during a critical debate in which he was trying to resurrect his image.
Relatively neutral observers saw it for what it was:
I knew when I decided to run the video and the reaction in the Twittersphere and elsewhere that it would evoke strong emotions.
But I don’t think I was being one of our own worst enemies by dealing with the facts as they unfolded on the television screen.
Update: Perry is not the first to have a brain freeze, but he also was not a sitting President who already had won a previous national election. Perry desperately needed to rehabilitate himself after prior debate failures, which made the event more consequentia. Video via David Freddoso:
CORRECTION — The video originally posted by Freddoso was doctored:
Friends: Sometimes you just get it wrong, and you have to fess up. I was wrong to post this item on November 10, 2011, on a debate gaffe President Bush had made in 2004. I fell for an edited version of the video that made Bush’s bad debate gaffe look far worse than it was. I have replaced the text from my post so as not to let false information spread any further.