Fall Guys

     No, there are no words nor punctuation marks missing from the title.

     If it were a recognized industry listed on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ, the “Get Your Fall Guys Here” industry would be one of the fastest growing in America. Everyone wants someone or something to blame for his mistakes. No one in politics stands squarely before the cameras and says candidly, “I was wrong.” That goes for everyone in the public eye at any level.

     Today, we have this spectacle from Pennsylvania as a demonstration:

     The John Fetterman campaign had tried to set the expectations for the debate yesterday rather low. But now that the debate is over, and Fetterman proved to be as incoherent as any honest person suspected and Dasha Burns pointed out, the campaign is looking for someone to blame.

     Initially, Team Fetterman tried praising their candidate for his performance. Here’s what his campaign manager tweeted just after the debate.

     So proud of @JohnFetterman who stood up tonight to do something incredibly hard under the best of circumstances, but did it only 5 months into his recovery. What we saw was a brave fighter going to bat for every Pennsylvanian who’s been knocked down and tried to get back up.

     — Brendan McPhillips (@BrendanMcP) October 26, 2022

     And his communications director talked to reporters afterward, but you can see where the seeds of excuse and complaint are being planted.

     “We are thrilled with John’s performance. He did remarkably well tonight – especially when you consider that he’s still recovering from a stroke and was working off of delayed captions filled with errors,” Fetterman communications director Joe Calvello told reporters.”

“John won countless exchanges, counter-punched aggressively, and pushed back on Oz’s cruelty and attacks,” Calvello said.”

     But the Fetterman team specifically asked for the technological support their candidate received. They had ample opportunities to ensure its proper operation. They marched their cortically damaged candidate onto the stage knowing that he wasn’t fit to speak in public…as their earlier statements designed to lower expectations make plain:

     “The captioning process may also lead to time delays and errors in the exchanges between the moderators and the candidates,” the Fetterman campaign cautioned. “In fact, because the captions are going to be typed out by human beings in real time, on live TV, some amount of human error in the transcription is inevitable, which may cause temporary miscommunications at times. It is impossible to control and unavoidable.”

     Pointing to Fetterman’s past debate performances, his campaign argued that “this isn’t John’s format. Look no further than the debates from the primary earlier this year.”

     It seems to me that the real function of the closed-captioning equipment they insisted Fetterman be provided was to serve as the fall guy for Fetterman’s anticipated poor performance…which proved to be even poorer than the most pessimistic observers expected.

     The best sort of fall guy is the one who can’t defend himself from the accusations aimed at him. Technology fits the description rather well, doesn’t it?

     It’s been said, and truly, that the typical case of a “computer error” really contains at least two human errors, one of which will be the error of blaming the fault on the computer. In this case, it’s not an error but a pre-planned tactic. We should expect to see it emulated by campaigns to come.