Thursday, March 22, 2012

On Etch-a-Sketch Metaphors and Scott Norwood

A lot is being said about yesterday's gaffe from a Romney campaign spokesperson. It was definitely a bad moment for him. But a greater indictment is due his team.

Let us recall Scott Norwood in 1991, hooking that field goal attempt wide right, resulting in the Buffalo Bills's loss in Superbowl XXV to the New York Giants. Norwood became infamous, known far and wide as the guy who "lost" the game for the Bills. However, I'd like to point out that if the Bills team had played a decent game that day, the final moments never would have come down to that one kick -- if the Bills offense had showed up and played well, there would have been no need for an entire game to rest on a singular effort from one guy who had always been a consistent and high scorer for his team. Norwood was an excellent kicker who hoofed a rare dud. He did not deserve to be a scapegoat.

And in the case of what could end up being a defining moment in the Romney campaign, I'd like to point out that Eric Fehrnstrom's gaffe would not be as huge as it is if it weren't for one great vulnerability on the part of the Romney campaign: where the whole Bills team played a poor game on that day in 1991, Romney suffers from another problem, and that is that what Fehrnstrom said is true. If the metaphor didn't work so well, few people would have latched onto the comment. But it was perfect. It was true.

Yes, it was incredibly stupid for Fehrnstrom to tell the truth. That was a mistake, just as it was a failure on the part of Norwood to hook that kick to the right. But neither shortfall would have mattered if there weren't already some larger problem in the air.

One team's poor performance. One candidate's desperate willingness to say whatever he thinks will make people support him on a given day, whether or not he really believes it. And then along came the scapegoats: Scott Norwood with his one bad kick; and Eric Fehrnstrom, who picked the wrong day to be honest (well, that and he works for a soulless asshole).

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