Damage Control: Anyone can play!

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Rick Horowitz
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
“‘They want people to think it was a mental lapse. If that’s what they want to think, so be it. I know what it was,’ he said, describing it as ‘a powerful pause.’ ‘You can look forward to some more powerful pauses.’”
--Herman Cain, still trying to explain, according to The Associated Press

“A powerful pause.”

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade! Can you find a more impressive effort at transformation in the whole “Damage Control for Desperate Pols” handbook? (Well, maybe “I didn’t inhale.” Or even “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Then again, Bill Clinton always was one of a kind when it came to using the mother tongue. But we digress.)

Herman Cain has given us a new contender in the Do-It-Yourself-Reframing category: the “Powerful Pause.” As excuses go, it’s nicely upbeat, which is exactly what you want when you’re trying to scrape the gum off your shoe. And it’s even got some of that always-helpful alliteration thrown in for good measure.

Of course, it’s also ridiculous on its face. Herman Cain wasn’t “pausing” to “gather his thoughts” about the Obama administration’s policy toward Libya. He was so silent for so long because he couldn’t come up with the right memorized soundbite.

His “thoughts?” He was probably hoping a chandelier might fall from the ceiling of that Milwaukee Journal Sentinel conference room and wipe out every last one of his questioners.

But you can’t blame a guy for trying, can you? So he’ll go with “Powerful Pause.” What’s the alternative? “Clueless, as Charged”?

So: Do you think you’ll be seeing more of this kind of bob-and-weave on the campaign trail? Either from Herman Cain his own befuddled self, or from the rest of his gaffe- , goof-, and glitch-laden colleagues?

To quote the patron saint of nothin’-in-the-noggin: You betcha!

In fact, you’re already seeing some of it.

Is what Newt Gingrich was doing with Freddie Mac for all those years multimillion-dollar influence peddling? Not at all: He was providing Help from a Historian!

Just like Mitt Romney hasn’t been lacking even the slightest sign of a consistent set of core principles—he boldly demonstrates Focused Flexibility.

Rick Perry, meanwhile, isn’t incapable of stringing two coherent sentences together—he’s Rhetorically Real, not to mention Linguistically Laid-Back.

See how easy it is? Let’s try some others.

Michele Bachmann doesn’t pass along every half-baked rumor she’s picked up on the Internet—she’s totally Web Wise!

John Huntsman isn’t barely registering in the polls—he’s got the biggest potential for Upside Upsurge!

Rick Santorum isn’t still going nowhere after months of trying to break out of the pack—he’s Situationally Stable. Numerically Neutral.

And Ron Paul? Ron Paul isn’t obsessed about putting the country back on the gold standard—he’s Proactively Motivated toward Precious Metals.

But wait—there’s more! You can start with the presidential pretenders, but there’s no reason to stop with them.


Anthony Weiner didn’t send out dirty cellphone pictures to women he’d never met—he was a Vibrant Visualizer. (Maybe even on Verizon.)

John Boehner isn’t some guy with an orange spray tan—he’s Dermatologically Distinct. Prismatically Particular.

Joe Biden isn’t someone who can’t keep his mouth shut—he’s Deeply Discursive.

Eric Cantor isn’t some smirking political hack—he’s a Seriously Strategic Smiler.

Barack Obama isn’t predisposed to give away the store whenever he negotiates with Republicans—he has a Core Calling for Consensus.

And Mitch McConnell? Mitch McConnell isn’t a single-minded roadblock to every last bit of the president’s agenda—he’s the Resolute Restrainer of Redistributive Regulation.

But you knew that.

Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

Last updated: 6:52 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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