Here’s yet another fanciful footnote to the ever growing lexicon of public embarrassments in the world of professional politics. For those who haven’t heard of Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West or her opinions on the Arizona anti-illegal immigration law, here are portions of the text:
“If this was Texas, which is the state that, that is directly on the border with Mexico, and they were calling for a measure like this, saying that they had a major issue with, you know, with undocumented people flooding their borders, I would say I would have to look twice at this. But this is a state that is a ways removed from the border. And, um, it just, it doesn’t make sense to me that when you Google this subject, if you put in ‘Arizona S.B. 1070,’ that you see a picture of the governor of Arizona meeting with President Obama in May of 2010. If you have direct linkage to the president, there are already National Guard troops on the border in Arizona.”
This is troubling to say the least, obviously, first for the county supervisor’s lack of mapping skills. If a Google search is going to be how our government leaders inform themselves, that’s fine; but if they’re not going to look beyond the pictures which accompany the first pages of a Google search; that’s another story entirely.
Still Peggy West’s comments aren’t the first such gaffes from politicians in the history of politics. Even through modern history, there have been many fanciful political gaffes which deserve mention. Current President, then candidate for nomination, Barack Obama said, while touring the nation that he had been to most all “57 states,” on his campaign tour, which got a lot of attention.
While Peggy West and Barack Obama’s geography skills may seem stunted, Mr. Obama was nearing the end of a long campaign; Peggy West was reading from what may have been prepared remarks (or may have been Twitter feed) in Milwaukee, where she resides, so the two aren’t exactly akin.
I don’t think we could talk about political gaffes and not mention the previous President, George W. Bush. Here, from a compiled list by the UK Times, are a few of my favorites.
“One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end.”
“I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn’t here.”
“I don’t particularly like it when people put words in my mouth, either, by the way, unless I say it.”
“You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.”
“Those who enter the country illegally violate the law.”
“I think we agree, the past is over.”
Those last two by our former president may have been prescient as he saw the troubles to come for Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West. Peggy West joins some esteemed company in the world of political gaffes. West has a great history of remarks, noting in 2007 that a ban on smoking in Milwaukee’s airport “would hurt Milwaukee’s ability to attract business.” Hmmm. All this from a woman who was the United Migrant Opportunity Services Hispanic Woman of the Year in 2004. Poor Peggy West needs to remember how she got to where she is; West’s parlaying the issue of immigration law is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Maybe if she were a little prettier. Can anyone say, “Like such as South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as?”