I doubt if any of us could plead not guilty to opening our mouths before engaging our brains.
Usually the worst it does is make the speaker look stupid.
But sometimes it does more harm, hurting someone else or uncovering something the speaker would prefer was left well buried.
Yesterday Labour’s finance spokesman and aspiring leader, David Cunliffe, let himself engage in a misogynistic conversation with Paul Henry on RadioLive.
It’s easy enough to get led into such a minefield but seasoned politicians need the skill to get out without causing an explosion.
If Cunliffe has that skill he didn’t use it yesterday.
Instead he made a personal attack on Corrections Minister Judith Collins which was not only insulting to her but her husband and son.
He’s now apologised to her.
But the damage has been done. He sounded like a misogynist and let allowed political differences become personal antipathy. That reflects badly on him and causes yet another distraction from the things that are supposed to matter in Labour’s campaign.
In doing so he once more showed that while Phil Goff is being blamed for his party’s poor polling, a large part of the problem is because he’s being let down by his team.