Michael Crowley makes a point over at TNR’s blog about McCain’s senior moment regarding condoms (Do they prevent AIDS? “You’ve stumped me.”) and how his “old fashioned” bus-tour-talkathon is a bad fit with this whole “blogging” phenomenon:
Back in 2000 McCain sat on the bus all day shooting off his mouth about every topic under the sun. Sometimes it got him in trouble, to be sure. But there was simply no good journalistic venue for a lot of his offhand quips. Now that they can go straight to the web, he’s either going to face a kerfuffle every two hours or–more likely–he’s going to have to cut way down on the Straight Talk quotient.
As a fan of both what the young kids are up to (have you heard about “Facebook”? Check it out!) and candidates’ “straight talk” (or at least talking) I hope that McCain and others have a third option: Let the kerfuffles happen, and keep talking. The value of open dialog outweighs the hits one take for “flubs” and goodness knows (nb, the current President) people can get beyond minor missteps — if they are minor.
A larger point: Was McCain’s condom answer in fact merely a “kerfuffle” that — as the Politico article Crowley points to says — “a hiccup [that] would have perhaps been tucked deep into the final paragraphs of the full-length stories filed by reporters at the end of the day or the end of the tour”? I dunno. Why don’t we ask some people with AIDS if McCain’s ignorance of basic disease prevention was a “hiccup”?