A “gaffe” is when a politician accidentally tells the truth.

That aphorism is attributed to Michael Kinsley whom older people will remember from the early days of Crossfire when he and Pat Buchanan shared the stage and politics was still fun and quite a bit more honest. His actual words were “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

The other day while visiting Poland President Biden offered this apparently unscripted remark about Vladimir Putin. . . “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

In my opinion, this was a gaffe as defined by Kinsley. Our policy should be and – I believe – is “regime change” in Russia. But, it was not helpful to say it out loud. Biden is known to be gaffe prone. He needs to be a little more devious and suppress the innate honesty that has caused problems in the past.

Or, on the other hand, was it a deliberate signal to Putin opponents inside Russia that all will be forgiven, and Russia can rejoin the civilized nations once the dictator is removed? It may have had that effect, but I will go with it being an old-fashioned gaffe.

34 thoughts on “A “gaffe” is when a politician accidentally tells the truth.

  1. What it has done is to put Putin on notice that he dare not lose.

    Any chance of him settling for less than his original demands is now gone, no matter how many people die.

    You don’t corner a bear if you are not prepared to kill it.

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  2. “What it has done is to put Putin on notice that he dare not lose.”

    It was a gaffe and not helpful overall. IMHO.

    But it did not tell Putin anything that he did not know.

    As for what Putin settles for, this gaffe can lower the bar, not raise it.
    Putin can claim a “victory” if he holds on to his office.

    Personally, I think he is toast. The true losses, the military failures, and the growing economic damage of this fratricidal war are already starting to become public in spite of heroic efforts to block real information.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Regine change is a bad policy. I would even call it evil.

    The United States is supposed to be the exemplar of liberty and democracy. When we actively pursue regime change in other countries we trash those ideals. It makes me sick to think that Ukrainians are dying just because our leaders want Putin removed from office.

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    1. “… Ukrainians are dying just because our leaders want Putin removed from office.”

      No, Ukrainians are dying because Russia invaded their homeland and they prefer to defend it.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. “It makes me sick to think that Ukrainians are dying just because our leaders want Putin removed from office.”

      But it doesn’t make you sick that Putin launched at attack on a neighboring country based on lies, misinformation and to attempt his own regime change in Ukraine? Putting the blame on “our leaders” for Putin’s murderous attack and war crimes is an attempt to change the narrative. The Ukrainians have been fighting back tooth and nail against the aggression; Ukrainians were dying for several weeks prior to Biden’s off-the-cuff comment.

      Was the gaffe bad? Yep. I said the same thing when Lindsay Graham suggested Putin be assassinated a couple of weeks ago. Calling for regime change is not good optics and the walk back by the WH is not very helpful as it shows a weakness that isn’t really there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RE: “Putting the blame on ‘our leaders’ for Putin’s murderous attack and war crimes is an attempt to change the narrative.”

        I want the narrative to change. The U.S. has no business attempting to remove foreign leaders.

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          1. “My concern is with our leaders.”

            Does your concern with “our leaders” require that you to ignore and even defend what enemy leaders do? Especially when that enemy leader is a murdering, warmongering fascist dictator?

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “Does your concern with ‘our leaders’ require that you to ignore and even defend what enemy leaders do?”

            Of course not. Why do you ask?

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          3. RE: “Uh, because that is what you have been doing just about every day.”

            What have I ignored or defended?

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        1. Our leaders aren’t doing that.

          You also want the narrative to change that Putin is the savior of ethnic Russians at the hands of diabolical Ukrainian leaders who are were fighting an armed and Kremlin backed insurrection within their borders.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. RE: “Our leaders aren’t doing that.”

            I thought this whole thread was based on the premise that they are, because Joe Biden admitted it.

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    3. We do NOT trash the ideals of democracy by defending them. Putin is not a democrat. He obtained and hold power through very undemocratic means. His imprisonment and murder of possible opponents, peaceful protesters, and critics is not a secret. It has been going on for decades.

      We did not choose this war nor did we have anything to do with the Ukrainians will to resist. They are fighting for themselves and they share the goal that Biden gaffed about – Putin gone and punished.

      But now that this war has started, the economic sanctions should remain stringent until the warmonger who CHOSE this disaster is removed by his countrymen – one way or another.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RE: “We do NOT trash the ideals of democracy by defending them.”

        It is impossible for regime change to be a defense of democracy.

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        1. “It is impossible for regime change to be a defense of democracy.”

          Impossible? How so? Does it not depend on the regime?

          And were you saying that when George W. Bush promised to bring democracy to Iraq through “regime change? ” Or that “regime change” as a goal was “evil?” I would bet that you did not.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. RE: “Impossible? How so? Does it not depend on the regime?”

          It is impossible for regime change to be a defense of democracy because democracy is a relationship between a government and its own people. Even in cases where the government in question is totalitarian, it robs the people of their agency when some third-party state seeks to overthrow their government according to its desires.

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          1. Your explanation is at best playing with words.

            In the case of Russia, economic sanctions do not take away the “agency” of the Russian people. It encourages them to use it to better their economic and political lives. That encouragement is in defense of democracy.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “In the case of Russia, economic sanctions do not take away the ‘agency’ of the Russian people.”

            In the same vein one might say that Russian interference in the 2016 election didn’t change the “agency” of the American people to reject Hillary Clinton.

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        3. RE: “And were you saying that when George W. Bush promised to bring democracy to Iraq through ‘regime change?'”

          I count the war in Iraq — plus those in Lybia, Syria and now Ukraine — as examples of the immorality and failure of regime-change politics.

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  4. As far as gaffes go, Biden sticks his foot in his mouth all of the time. I suspect that is why Obama never allowed him out much cause when he did…foot in mouth. I could almost agree that it would be desirable for regime change in Russia but the problem is you don’t get to pick the successor who may be worse. Russians have a long history of brutality, communism and socialism that is not likely to change no matter who sits in power. One of the reasons why I oppose socialism here is so we don’t slide that slippery slope into Russia lite that some Democrats endeavor to achieve like AOC.

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    1. Your fear of Democratic Socialism, as practiced in many Western European countries, is noted for it’s dishonesty in equating it to Russia or Venezuela.

      But if you want to talk about gaffes, let’s look back at the daily walk backs of TFGs staff for 4 years.

      And I don’t recall anyone form the Right hear condemning Lindsay Graham when he called for Putin to be “taken out”. Unless you all believed it was for drinks and dinner.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. The rosy collective life is EXACTLY how Lenin sold it.
        Now who or what is a TFG? Quit playing cutesy games and grow up.

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        1. TFG = The Former Guy.

          Lenin didn’t sell SHIT to Sweden or any of the other Western European countries that have a Social Democratic government.

          Pay attention to reality or we’ll have to pass the Shaman’s Viking hat on to you.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh, judge Thomas F Greeneell. Poor guy, so sad. If you want to pay 60% of your income in taxes, you are welcome to move.

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          2. ” judge Thomas F Greeneell”

            How far down the Google list did you have to go to find that one? 😇

            The Former President, your orange haired god-king who can do no wrong. Unless he lies about the size of his … properties for finance purposes. Or the size of his … inauguration crowd. Or how he scored a hole-in-one while playing a round with Greg Norman, et. al.. Or how the election was stolen by Hugo Chavez. Or he massive fraud perpetrated by the likes of HIS Chief-of-Staff, Mark Meadows. Should I go on, or did your right wing addled brain get it yet?

            At risk of being censured for voicing my opinion; you’re a moron.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. “If you want to pay 60% of your income in taxes. . .”

            On an apples-to-apples basis you already pay that much or more and just don’t know it.

            The top three countries with respect to “happiness” according to Gallup’s annual survey on this topic are:

            1. Finland
            2. Denmark
            3. Sweden

            All three have the kind of tax rates that you are referring to. Clearly the issue for the lives of real people is not the taxes you pay but what you get in return for those taxes.

            Liked by 1 person

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