Opinion Columns & Blogs

ERICKSON: Silly season returns

It is Aug. 29, we have more than two months to go and I am already tired of this insufferable election. I am at the bizarre and awkward moment also of having to defend Michelle Nunn.

But first, let us get Gov. Nathan Deal out of the way. The governor spoke to a group of college Republicans at the University of Georgia this week. Some students stood up to demand to know his position on a Board of Regents ban on illegal aliens attending UGA. They, of course, used the politically correct euphemism “undocumented.” The young man who asked the question on behalf of the group was respectful in his questioning.

Gov. Deal replied that he presumed the young man asking the question was undocumented. At that point, a girl within this group of students turned obnoxious and all but directly accused Deal of stereotyping and racism because she was not an illegal alien. Again, the governor was talking to the young man who had asked the question. The poor governor did not realize that in this day and age self-absorbed college students make it all about themselves.

Deal apologized and tried to answer the question. The exchange was polite. One would never know that from the Democrats’ spin. Before the night was over, clearly showing how coordinated the questioning of the governor had been, the Democrats claimed there had been a huge argument, the governor was basically a racist, and UGA students had been offended. Newspapers around the state spread the outrage. How dare the governor presume any student is undocumented.

What none of these outraged reports noted was that the group of students belonged to the Undocumented Student Alliance at UGA. How silly of the governor to presume a student asking about undocumented students and who was with the Undocumented Student Alliance might be, well, undocumented.

Once a reporter released, in its entirety, the video exchange, it proved to be a nothingburger. That, of course, was after many of the headlines had been written. The whole exchange, save for the hysterics of one student, was completely respectful. The story the Democrats peddled and the media reaction to it was silly.

That gets us to the Michelle Nunn story of the same day.

Nunn was caught on tape refusing to talk to her “tracker.” For those who do not know, this is the latest game both parties play on each other. They hire kids to follow candidates around with video recorders. They hope to get the candidates on video saying something stupid or, if necessary, saying something that can be taken out of context to look stupid.

A tracker follows David Perdue for left-wing groups and the Democrats. A tracker follows Michelle Nunn for right-wing groups and the Republicans. She would have been nuts to engage the tracker whose entire job is to do her no favors and show her no kindness.

Her refusal to engage the tracker became a story. Mind you, it did not get as much exposure as the story about Gov. Deal, but then Nunn is a Democrat. This story too, however, is a nothingburger.

I am no fan of Nunn’s. I have no intention of voting for her. But she handled herself well in the situation and the only reason this is a story is because we are in the silly season. Both parties have a vested interest in winning elections based on distracting voters from the issues.

May the good Lord give us all the strength to survive until November.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.