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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 don’t, 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 — which he later admitted that he never witnessed, and which were later proven to have been completely made up — 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 fucked 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 I predicted earlier, 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.

Update: Kerry apologizes.

[Technorati tag: ; cross-posted at The Cotillion]

Posted by annika, Oct. 31, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


I'm a Veteran who left a prestigous private college after two year to join the US Army to fight in the first Gulf War.

After being medically separated for injuries sustained in combat, I earned a BS in Professional Writing. I now write complex documentation sets for real-time tactical command and control systems for network-centric warfighters. I doubt Mr. Kerry has a high-enough security clearance to even read the documents that I write, and even if he did, he'd have no f'ckin idea what they meant.

Maybe If I would have studied harder I wouldn’t have ended up stuck in Iraq back in 1991. Maybe I could have made something more of myself.

Posted by: Robbie on Oct. 31, 2006

Excellent, Annika.

Posted by: Jake on Oct. 31, 2006

The Kerry formuila for political success:

1. Open mouth;
2. Insert foot;
3. Shoot foot;
4. Deny that the foot is yours.

Posted by: shelly on Nov. 1, 2006

Kerry's an absolute idiot. Perhaps more people realize it now. Intellectualism is not a prerequisite for military service to your country. Valor is. We happen to have the smartest military in our history. (Even the founders would be envious)

I wish I had half the guts and brains these cats have!

Posted by: Mike C. on Nov. 1, 2006

Kerry's explanation didn't make much sense to me. What he specifically said was that if you study hard, etc, you can "do well", implying that he was talking about doing well economically, and clearly referring to American youth as a class, not to future US Presidents as a class.

In any event, notice that in his explosive reaction, Kerry basically accused Republican political operatives of orchestrating the anger directed at him. He seems to have no clue that hundreds of thousands of people reacted to his words spontaneously, without having to be told what to think.

Posted by: david foster on Nov. 1, 2006

Robbie you stupid fuck, you're clearly not smart enough to marry a rich woman, me either. I only involve myself with women who suck money out of me.

We should all face the facts. Kerry is a smart guy. If we were smart like him, we'd let some fucking loser carry the load. Someone poor common fuck who'd never go skiing in Gstad anyway.

Conscripts by Siegfreid Sassoon

‘FALL in, that awkward squad, and strike no more
Attractive attitudes! Dress by the right!
The luminous rich colours that you wore
Have changed to hueless khaki in the night.
Magic? What’s magic got to do with you?
There’s no such thing! Blood’s red, and skies are blue.’

They gasped and sweated, marching up and down.
I drilled them till they cursed my raucous shout.
Love chucked his lute away and dropped his crown.
Rhyme got sore heels and wanted to fall out.
‘Left, right! Press on your butts!’ They looked at me
Reproachful; how I longed to set them free!

I gave them lectures on Defence, Attack;
They fidgeted and shuffled, yawned and sighed,
And boggled at my questions. Joy was slack,
And Wisdom gnawed his fingers, gloomy-eyed.
Young Fancy—how I loved him all the while—
Stared at his note-book with a rueful smile.

Their training done, I shipped them all to France,
Where most of those I’d loved too well got killed.
Rapture and pale Enchantment and Romance,
And many a sickly, slender lord who’d filled
My soul long since with lutanies of sin,
Went home, because they couldn’t stand the din.

But the kind, common ones that I despised
(Hardly a man of them I’d count as friend),
What stubborn-hearted virtues they disguised!
They stood and played the hero to the end,
Won gold and silver medals bright with bars,
And marched resplendent home with crowns and stars.

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 1, 2006

I see the Rovian hand in all of this. No doubt a microchip was installed in the good Senator during operative treatment of his grievous wounds suffered in Vietnam, and Rove has once again reactivated it to control the mind of this good and honorable scion of elitist liberals.

LMAO, oh, if I could choose my enemy, it would be he.

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 1, 2006


Kerry is paying for every dollar with his blood. His wife ignores him completely and will not appear in public with him unless movie stars are involved. She is forever telling people in front of Kerry that her dead husband is ten times the man that Kerry is. She probably has him on a tight weekly allowance.

No wonder Kerry looks and talks angry all of the time.

Posted by: Jake on Nov. 1, 2006

My boy, we all pay in blood when it comes to the fair sex. For all you civilians too fucking stupid to tell, my comments were all .

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 1, 2006

Jack Heinz was a star; he's have been President by now. For them that never knew it, he was a solid Republican, the Senator from Pennsylvania. I had the pleasure of knowing him; by the way, when she was young, she was slim and a knockout, and, most importantly, she kept her fucking mouth shut 'cause he had the purse strings.

If he was alive, we'd still have Pennsylvania solid Red. Life is so unfair. But then, the only "fair" I know is in Pomona.

Thank the stars for John Kerry!!! Send him out on the campaign trail again, PLEASE!!! I loved the Demo comment "He wasn't content to blow it in '04, he wants to blow '06, too".

(P.S. Casca, great poem. I guess they teach a little at OSU)

Posted by: shelly on Nov. 1, 2006


I don't often venture over here too much, but this is one of the best points I have heard on this matter:

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."

You nailed it. Kudos!

Posted by: Billy on Nov. 1, 2006

In addition to the factual mistakes about the "education" (and socioeconomic class) of U.S. military personnel, Kerry misses the point about the innovation and creativity of U.S. servicemembers. For every bad apple the media focuses attention on, there are hundreds of young men and women coming up with clever and thoughtful solutions to not only tactical battlefield problems, but also cultural, social, humanitarian, and other "non-combat" crises and conflicts. The vast majority of these young people are going to come back and infuse the same thinking into their local communities well beyond their military service.

Posted by: Col Steve on Nov. 1, 2006

Forgive him? Forgive him? I LOVE him.

Hell, he deserves a medal (first one he ever really deserved).

RNC Most Valuable Player.

I think Karl Rove relly did insert a microchip in his brain and flipped the "off" switch at just the right time.

Posted by: shelly on Nov. 1, 2006

NPR reported this evening that the text of the speech--text supplied by Kerry's people--included the words "President Bush." The reporter read the sentence, and if that really was the way it was originally written, it was a slight directed toward President Bush. Not that this makes Kerry look any better.

Posted by: Joules on Nov. 1, 2006

Kerry had his chance to just say "Here's what I intended to say, but I misspoke, and I am sorry for the mix-up".

Instead, he chose, in his haughty, pseudo-Franco manner to deny he had said it and to defend it, REFUSING to apologize.

By the way, there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING, more aggravating to a Jew than another Jew who refuses to acknowledge his heritage. Although he has allowed Massachusetts voters to believe that he is Irish, Kerry is NOT Irish, he is of Jewish descent. Fuck him and the ship he rode in on. (sic)

Posted by: Shelly on Nov. 2, 2006

He's a twisted bizarre personality in the extreme. His egomania is Clintonesque.

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 2, 2006


He made quite blunder. I can't really imagine that he set out to defame the employment prospects of the under achievers he migh have been addressing. He may be an idiot but that would rise to the level of ________?

He clearly was trying to make the equation:

"lazy ass no nothing, alcoholic national guard slacking Yale grad ignoramous= get us stuck in Iraqi criminal military adventure. True but not terribly relevant at this late date. America got the president they almost voted for. Serves the majority that elected the other guy right!

It was lame from the start and he should have done exactly what Shelly said.

Posted by: Strawman on Nov. 2, 2006

Here is what John Kerry should have said.

I appoligize to all service personel that were offended by my comment. I reviewed the transcript and understand why those words were offensive and I sincerely apologize that I uttered them. Those words do not reflect what I was trying to say. I was attempting to state that if you are an under achiever educationally like President Bush you will get us stuck in Iraq. In the interest of making this apology sincere, I must also admit that President Bush’s grades at Yale were slightly higher than mine so that even my intended meaning probably would have been offensive to many. I apologize for that also.

Posted by: Bob on Nov. 2, 2006


In which Ivy League school did you complete your undergraduate and graduate degrees?

What's that? You got the famous GED certificate from the Marshall School for Adults. Wow!!

Just kidding you, Straw. But calling Bush dumb (or an ignoramus)is, well, dumb. His academic record was not mind-blowing, but it was better than both Lurch and Algore's. The guy has a fucking MBA from Harvard. He's just not a good speaker; and, let's face it, people from the South often sound a little dumb. The accent is not one that inspires confidence. It's not fair; but it's true.

It's just another one of those lies that the Left keeps repeating and, in this case, has managed to get many people to believe. (Funny, though not surprising, how the MSM has never widely reported on the academic mediocrity of Kerry and, the world's smartest man, Algore.)

Posted by: blu on Nov. 2, 2006

I have a son with autism and know how very true it is that there are people who have good intelligence but they aren't wired for good verbal skills. Frankly, it often doesn't feel right if a politician is too silver-tongued.

Posted by: Joules on Nov. 2, 2006


I stand by my words. HArvard MBA not withstanding. This blankey everbody wraps him in is bullshit. " He just don't speak so good" is a rationale that is used to make Americas, who ain't the sharpest tack either, feel more secure.

I am a good judge of intelligence and this man is not too bright. He was passed from class to class with "passing" grades which were notices that he showed up, did a modicum of work, and was a presidents son. He did not fail. That is all you can say. Is his IQ over 120? I would guess it is and this means he knows what? That is all I am saying, he knows nothing of history, science, literature, economics, etc. If he did, regadless of how bad a public speaker he is, he could demonstrate a grasp of a subject and speak conversationally about it or answer a question that deviates an iota from his scripted remarks. You heard him when he was flogging the SS initiative? Not a wit of sense came out of his mouth when asked to explain any of it. The few people who brief him that have been candide have said in polite open ended sentences that they experienced him as not engaged. He would ask a few questions and say thanks.

Blu, you know as well as I that education is an ongoing process of inquery fueled by a love of knoweldge and curiosity. It leads us to read books, ask questions, and read more books. How do you find yourself defending a man who bragged that he didn't read books? They were so embarassed that this year his flacks can't tell you offen enough what the president is reading. Do honestly believe he can read Shakespeare? Would you bet against Kerry or Gore in a jeopardy game with George or a scrabble game?

He is a by the seat of his pants, bright guy who in spite of his background could not get anywhere in business in spite of being handed sweetheart deals. A fellow who partyed hard, liked cocaine and booze, became severly depressed as his life unraveled while his brothers succeded and hit bottom. Instead of lifiting himself up with self knoweldge and exhibiting some insight he took the bit of religion deep into his mouth, shook his head, whinneyed a little and imbibed another antidote to clear thinking and self esteem. How exactly he beacme the lackey and spokes model for the evangelicals and then nefarious neocons is a story we may never know, but that is what he is today. And as their policies fail before all our eyes he blinks, stands tall and like a wind up doll spouts the ridiculous without flinching

Posted by: Strawman on Nov. 3, 2006

I actually think he speaks pretty fluently about economics - especially macroeconomics. Currently, America is experiencing one of its best economics periods thanks, in part, to his economic policies. The Left doesn't like to remember the bad ol'days when Clinton left office. Let me remind you: the stock market had lost about half of its value. Only the Great Depression had more of a negative emotional impact on the Market. The Dow is now around 12,000. Bush also inherited a recession and then a few months into his Presidency 9/11 occurred, (another gift from Clinton) which was devastating to our economy for both real and psychological reasons. It is simply amazing that we've recovered to this point. We managed to do this while fighting the GWOT and retooling a military that Clinton had literally gutted. (If you want to know what Clinton did to our military, talk to somebody who was in the military during his Presidency. They HATE him. Bush, on the other hand, is loved by military personnel.)

As far as social security goes, I just think you are wrong. It's a complicated topic that he was trying to explain at a high level. The bottom line is that he was right and his opponents were wrong. Not only wrong: they lied and distored the economic reality and simply tried to scare old peole. It was disgusting, but, also, business as usual for the Left. SS is a less than a worthless social program. I want to spit every time I see my money stolen from me to be given some person that I don't even know. God help us, someday will see SS in the ash heap of history. Weaning Americans off it and into a system were people control their own money is better for individual investors, our economy, and is in the best tradition of our liberal capitalist system.

And, yes, I think he could read the Bard. I don't know, however, if he would make that choice. BTW, find me the quote where he said he didn't like to read. I do know that he said he doesn't bother much with the MSM. Who the fuck can blame him? The American paper of record, the NY Times, is a worthless, socialist rag that routinely prints lies, distortions, and, of course, national secrets all the while openly cheerleading for Democrats.

Posted by: blu on Nov. 3, 2006

"education is an ongoing process of inquery"

Hey strawman, why don't you "inquere" a little bit more on the subject of spelling?

; )

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

Posted by: annika on Nov. 3, 2006

Oh, Forfend, dearest Annka. Me thinks it was the fault of the hound that hath nibbled the spellcheck button to a fare-thee-well no bigger than a titmouses'cloaca which my great finger could not navigate. Apologies.





Posted by: Strawman on Nov. 3, 2006