This reaction to the fake outrage over this fake controversy will be hard to top.
@allahpundit Ah, reminds me of when Bush, unable to work the checkout scanner, served rubber turkey to Palin on her porch overlooking Russia
— LoLNothingMatters (@DastDn) October 2, 2015
Watch the clip below to see what he means. It’s oddly edited, with Bush’s “stuff happens” comments sandwiched between two clips of his interaction with New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza after this nonsense had already blown up on Twitter. Here’s how Lizza first broke the news to the many hundreds of media types who follow him:
In Greenville, South Carolina, Jeb Bush, arguing against calls for gun control after major tragedy, says, "stuff happens."
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) October 2, 2015
That makes it sound like someone brought up the shooting and Bush responded by scratching his balls, belching, and replying with a sanitized version of “sh*t happens” for polite company. Jeb Bush is a callous monster. After conservatives started pounding away at Lizza, he eventually responded with this fuller transcript — but not before the “stuff happens” nontroversy had been picked up across mass media and, within an hour of it spreading, had even been presented to Obama for comment at his press conference. When the media wants to make a narrative happen, especially when a Republican presidential candidate is bearing the brunt of that narrative, it can gather and spin like a Category Five hurricane.
Judge for yourself what Jeb was trying to say. Context is warning about passing gun laws in the wake of a tragedy. pic.twitter.com/0k8yxuEDF8
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) October 2, 2015
“Heartbreaking,” “very sad,” and it’s perfectly clear that the “stuff happens” bit at the end isn’t meant to be dismissive but rather just a clumsy formulation of the idea that there’s not always a good government solution to every calamity. You’re not going to grab 300 million guns owned by law-abiding people, nor should you have the right to. If you want to do something meaningful about mass shootings, focus on getting help for mentally ill people who need it. You can hate the reality of that if you’re a lefty but you can’t accuse Bush of being callous if you’re intellectually honest, which is the real energy behind this alleged gaffe.
That said, though, I wonder how much support Bush will get from righties on this. The smart take on Kevin McCarthy’s Benghazi comments this week (especially on the left) was that they were a classic “Kinsley gaffe,” i.e. a moment when a politician accidentally tells the truth. The Benghazi Committee is nothing but a GOP hatchet job to take down the likely Democratic nominee! But that’s not actually what McCarthy said. His comments weren’t an admission that the Committee has no purpose beyond taking down Hillary Clinton, as the left would have you believe. His point was that the Committee had revealed significant wrongdoing by exposing Clinton’s private server shenanigans. It had in fact uncovered government malfeasance and the fact that Hillary’s polling has taken a dive ever since proves that the public thinks it’s significant. But McCarthy’s not getting much of a defense from righties because he’s a RINO and this “gaffe” is a useful bludgeon in trying to block him from succeeding Boehner. He’s getting hit hard on the left for supposedly exposing the Benghazi Committee as a political assassination squad and he’s getting hit hard on the right for being a doofus who just handed Team Hillary a golden soundbite for the general election. Both sides want to get McCarthy for very different reasons, neither of which have anything to do with the alleged offense given by his clumsy remarks, and so both sides pile on. The hurricane picks up speed because both sides have motives to keep it going.
So it’s not a Kinsley gaffe, it’s a — I’m not sure if there’s a name for a gaffe in which both sides feign outrage over something innocuous to take down a common enemy. But this “stuff happens” nonsense with Bush could be another example of it. The left sees a chance, created by “legitimate,” supposedly unbiased reporters like Lizza, to turn the screws against a well-funded contender for the GOP nomination. And the right sees a chance to turn the screws against a pro-amnesty RINO who’s standing in the way of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in the presidential sweepstakes. No one has an incentive to defend him so the “gaffe” becomes a fact of political life, even if ultimately it’ll dwindle into an argument that Bush, like McCarthy, just isn’t smooth enough in expressing himself to trust him with higher office. Narratives happen. Belch.