Let’s be fair. It’s pretty obvious that she meant to say “500,000 Americans will lose their jobs.”
Perception in the eyes of the press — and in the eyes of entertainers — is a curious thing. Former President Gerald Ford was an Eagle Scout, captain of his high school football team, and a starter at the University of Michigan, where he played center and linebacker. The undefeated Wolverines were national champions in 1932 and 1933. Ford also coached football while a member of the US Navy and was a decorated officer and combat veteran in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Yet Ford had the misfortune of falling twice on the stair ramp leading to the entrance door of Air Force One. From then on, he was portrayed by press and by late night comedians (who were no doubt incensed by his pardon of Richard Nixon) as a bumbling, incompetent clod.
Dan Quayle (undeservedly in my opinion, although this didn’t help) was branded as an idiot by the press, and every miscue and verbal gaffe made by Quayle was brought up again and again as proof of his stupidity.
So I wonder … will the same people who knew that Sarah Palin was unfit to lead because of her “country of Africa” gaffe now start questioning the leadership abilities of Nancy Pelosi? Will late night comedians play this clip over and over again? Will Saturday Night Live run a series of skits portraying Pelosi as a bumbling doofus who succeeds only through wildly accidental circumstances?
And most importantly, will those people still be snickering about “500 million Americans” ten years from now?