In Search of a Macaca Moment In California's Seventh

October 4, 2014 | Anyone who even casually follows politics knows what a gaffe is - that moment when a politician says something they...

October 4, 2014 |

Anyone who even casually follows politics knows what a gaffe is - that moment when a politician says something they say they didn't mean to say. It is committed at just about every level of politics, from a city council member to the President.

While some say a gaffe is when a politician is telling the truth, they often have a relatively short shelf-life. Then there are the two other gaffe-type blunders that can kill a politician's career. 

First, there is "Akin-ing" yourself. We are, of, course referring to the now infamous "legitimate rape" comments by then Missouri Senatorial front-runner, Todd Akins.

What distinguishes this comment is that Akin, essentially inserted his foot in his mouth. Akin was not caught in a gotcha-moment, rather he honestly answered a birth-control related question.

While it could be classified as a gaffe as noted above - he was conveying his actual view of an aspect of the birth control issue - he nonetheless paid the price for what was perceived as being anti-woman.

Then there is another higher level of gaffe. What we will call the Macaca trap.

We are referring to another Senatorial front runner, Virginia's George Allen, who was caught on video by an opposition research videographer calling that person a "macaca."

Even though that particular slur was unknown to most, the recording of it essentially killed Allen's candidacy. All that was needed was an offensive comment and a linguist to explain its origin. 

Which brings us to California's hotly contested Seventh Congressional District race between Democratic incumbent Dr. Ami Bera, and his Republican challenger, former Republican Congress Member Doug Ose.

In the course of researching another Seventh District story, we stumbled upon YouTube videos on a channel called CA07's Raw Footage. There are numerous video's posted here, several of which had just single-digit views.  

The videographer of '"Raw Footage" badgers Ose at public events and even as he gases up his truck. Along with Ose, his press secretary is seen in several videos, and Elk Grove political junkies will recognize Norm DeYoung in a couple of the videos.

Given the scant views on this channel, which dates back to the 2012 Bera v. Lungren race, it is unlikely the videographer is seeking a viral video hit like a cute kid or kitten.

Or perhaps they are. 

What happens if they catch Ose making an off-color comment? Unless you are Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama, who hasn't said [or thought] something off-color while being panhandling or harassed at a gas station? Well, then they will have accomplished their goal.

We are not suggesting that Bera's campaign is responsible for this person. Indeed, in this day of hyper-partisan Democratic and Republican Super PAC's and Independent Expenditure Committees, legitimate campaigns, which both Bera and Ose are seemingly running, cannot be responsible for the independent actions of others.

Nonetheless, wouldn't it be nice to have a conversation on issues instead of trying to catch our elected leaders, and those aspiring to lead, in a gotcha moment? After all, we are humans and not machines.

To that end, EGN has invited both Bera and Ose for an audio interview to be podcast here. To date, Ose has agreed to be interviewed in a little over a week from now, and we are awaiting a response from the Bera campaign.  

We have communicated to both camps that we intend to ask each candidate their positions on a host of issues and to focus on their positions. We are not looking for an Akin or macaca moment - rather an articulation on their stances of issues facing the Seventh.

Idealistic? Perhaps. But voters are smart and we believe votes should be cast on what a candidate stands for, not for simply standing in opposition to their opponent.      


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Anonymous said...

In reviewing the videos on "CA07's Raw Footage" it appears that Mr. Ose could have better served the public with telling the guy he would be happy to have that discussion with him at a later date. Instead he has a conversation with an unknown customer about how they hound him and another with Frank Maita across the parking lot. Evidently this politician has forgotten how everything they do in public is most likely going to be shown to the public. That is just another side this voter didn't know about Mr. Ose and can maybe be one of his hugh "gaffes." Actions in public can be HUGH.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Mr. Ose should have acted as a professional and given him his business card and said he would be happy to have that discussion, that he was in a hurry at that time. Instead he has a conversation with another customer about how disgusted he is with the guy. Mr. Ose needs to work on how to handle situations should as this and do it in a professional manner. There will most likely be many situations such as this in the next month and some most likely with the general public.

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