For now, though, everything that a rival campaign claims as a “gaffe” gets covered as a gaffe. Jonathan Martin puts it well:
It’s the political equivalent of living off the land, taking whatever the daily news cycle offers up to make your case. On Tuesday and Wednesday, that meant pushing the “redistribution” video that found its way to Drudge in the midst of the flap over Romney’s comments about Americans who don’t pay income taxes. And on Thursday, it was a selective interpretation of Obama’s Univision quote.
Does this stuff work for Romney? The randomness of the “gaffe” obsessions suggests that it doesn’t. The Obama campaign seizes on Romney statements, like the ones in the “47 percent” tape, to build its argument that Romney’s an out-of-touch rich jerk who’ll make you pay higher taxes so he can pay less. The Romney campaign’s approach is more random. One day, Obama is a stealthy socialist. The next day, he’s an incompetent Washington politician. A few days before that, his vice president was making coded appeals to black racism.
What is remarkable is how we all follow their lead.