October 31, 2006

The Botched Senator

Sen. John Kerry:

You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you donít, you get stuck in Iraq.
Sen. John McCain:
If you offend somebody, whether you intend to or not, you should apologize.
Sen. John Kerry:
I apologize to no one for my criticism of the President and his broken policy.
Listen, I want to believe the argument that John Kerry didn't really mean to insult our all volunteer military servicemen and women. If it were any other guy, without John Kerry's history, I might be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But given that John Kerry began his political career by throwing his military ribbons over the White House fence in protest over a military service which he claimed led to widespread and systematic atrocities ó which he later admitted that he never witnessed, and which were later proven to have been completely made up ó I sincerely doubt that his "explanation" is genuine.

If John Kerry intended to insult the president with his "botched joke," why then are the words "president" or "Bush" nowhere to be found within the text of that joke?

If John Kerry really messed up the script so badly, why then didn't he immediately clarify himself? We've all been in that situation. When I mis-speak, and inadvertently give offense, that's what I do. It's customary, even through embarrassment, to say, "I'm sorry, what I meant to say was..." But Kerry didn't do that until the firestorm began this morning. Now that he's busted, it's a little hard to believe his denials.

Here's an instructive thought experiment. What if, instead of touching the third rail of conservative politics by insulting the troops, John Kerry's "botched joke" had imputed stupidity to African Americans? Would he then have apologized quickly and repeatedly? You bet your ass he would have, and he'd have done it based on John McCain's maxim I quoted above: "If you offend somebody, whether you intend to or not, you should apologize." The fact that John Kerry, even now after "admitting" he made a mistake, still refuses to apologize to the American military he claims to respect so much, is tantamount to insulting them a second time. He doesn't think they're worth the courtesy.

What really happened is that John Kerry had a "Dixie Chicks" moment. Like Natalie Maines in England, Kerry thought he had a sympathetic audience of liberal college students to whom he could pander, by sharing a little inside humor. "Heh, heh, I know you guys despise the military and think they're dummies. I do too. Ain't I cool? Vote for Angelides."

Should any of this matter? Probably not, since Kerry can't be voted out of office this year. (Personally, I think Kerry should be forced to resign from his seat on the Committee on Foreign Relations. Nobody with his history of undisguised contempt for American military personnel should be allowed to sit on such a committee, with that body's concomitant influence over the deployment of those same soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen.) But that's a different question from whether any of this will matter. And I hope it does. Not only because it may forestall the Democratic takeover many predict, but because Kerry's latest blunder probably and irrevocably scuttled any hope he might have had of trying for his party's nomination in '08. Democratic power brokers will never ever forgive him for this gaffe, nor should any of us.

[cross-posted at Annika's Journal]

Posted by annika at October 31, 2006 10:50 PM

Great article, I tried to trackback.

Posted by: Alabama at November 1, 2006 10:59 AM

Kerry is a pompous fool and it will take some serious action by the DNC to get him not to run again in '08.

Like you stated in your post, had this been anyone else I too would have been inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. As a resident of MA (although I will only admit to living here and not being from here) I have seen this person speak out of both sides and just have no back bone whatsoever. If he had spoke up the other day and published the text of his speech and said something to the effect of oops I screwed up we would not still be talking about this today.

Because he didn't do that I have to believe that his slip may have been unintended but shows what he really believes. I can't wait until I can cast my vote against him.

Posted by: Wendy at November 1, 2006 04:40 PM

This should be the end of his political career. At least he has his wife's money, so that he doesn't have to work.

Posted by: Joints at November 3, 2006 11:57 AM