This weekend, Chuck Schumer, a Democratic senator from New York, appeared on CNN, where he mentioned in passing that "we have three branches of government. We have a House, we have a Senate, we have a President. And all three of us are gonna have to come together."
The problem, of course, is that the three branches of government are not the House, the Senate, and the President. As any third grader can tell you, the three branches are the legislative, executive, and judicial systems. In other words, Schumer forgot about the Supreme Court.
It's possible you didn't hear about this gaffe, because outside of a few conservative blogs, it wasn't widely reported. And Megyn Kelly at Fox News would like to know why, exactly, that is. "If Sarah Palin had done that, if Michelle Bachmann had done that," Kelly said during a recent segment, "they would have been leading with it on half of the television broadcasts, and it would have been all over the left-wing press, saying what idiots they are. Chuck Schumer does it and he gets a virtual pass."
Kelly goes on to have a six-minute, wide-ranging conversation with her guests, Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher and Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein. Together they try and tease out whether there are double standards at play here. Are Palin and Bachmann under a harsher spotlight than other politicians? And if so, is it because they're women? Because they're conservatives? Is it something else entirely?
In his write-up of Kelly's segment, Matt Schneider at Mediaite mildly points out that "it does seem preferable to have members of both political parties feel like they have the freedom to completely express their thoughts, rather than constantly fear being victim of a 'gotcha media' eager to exploit any and every verbal mistake."