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11/1/2006
IS KERRY MELTDOWN A BLIP? OR A TURNING POINT?
CATEGORY: Politics

Most of us who follow politics more than casually have become inured to campaign gaffes like the one John Kerry fell into a couple of days ago. After all, implying that our troops in Iraq are stupid losers who who didn’t do their homework or work hard in school so that they could “avoid” military service (in an all-volunteer army?) had to have been some kind of misstatement - although the haughty disdain with which he uttered the remark and his subsequent refusal to apologize calls into question all of the ink spilled by his apologists that he was skewering the President of the United States rather than combat troops fighting and dying in the field.

I guess we’ll just have to take the Senator’s word for it that he botched a joke that no one has ever heard him tell. And considering Kerry’s own marks when he was in books compared to Bush, one wonders who the joke was on in the first place.

But we’ve now moved beyond the “campaign gaffe” stage of the story and into the “apology vigil” segment. When will The Great Man lower himself and humbly beg the voter’s pardon for misspeaking? My guess is sometime this morning a slightly more contrite but still defiant Kerry will appear before a bank of microphones and grudgingly acknowledge that his remark may have given offense. Apologizing for the incredibly vile personal attacks he unleashed in his angry statement yesterday may take a little longer - like when the nether regions experience a severe case of hellish cooling.

No matter. Party leaders have probably been on the phone with the Senator half the night pointing out that it is now no longer a question of what he said about the troops but rather his refusal to acknowledge his mistake that is driving the story. Every hour that goes by without a Kerry mea culpa lessens the level of sincerity the American people will take any apology or explanation by the Senator whenever it comes.

As he blundered with the Swift Boat Vets so too now The Arrogant One is blundering with this minor “slip of the tongue.” Not recognizing the damage being done to both his party and his reputation, Kerry is once again slow off the mark to respond to danger. Anyone see a pattern here? The Senator, always appearing to be conflicted about his service to the country during Viet Nam, seems equally conflicted about lancing a campaign boil that, at bottom, speaks to his bona fides as a loyal veteran of the armed forces. The Swift Vets questioned his honesty and courage. This latest kerfuffle questions his honesty and character. For it takes real character to recognize a mistake and apologize - something even Andrew Sullivan can see:

What Kerry said he must apologize for. Sooner rather than later. He may not have meant it the way it came out. That doesn’t matter. It’s wrong to talk about the military that way - wrong morally, empirically and ethically. And the way he said it can be construed as a patronizing snub to the men and women whose lives are on the line. It’s also dumb politically not to kill this off in one news cycle. Is Kerry not content to lose just one election? Does his enormous ego have to insist on losing two?

Sullivan refers to the question on desperate Republican minds today; how much will this affect the voting next Tuesday?

Not too damn much, I’m afraid. Where the story matters most - red state America - the imperiled Republican incumbents will hardly be able to “nationalize” their race into a referendum on Kerry or the Democrats and their real attitudes toward the troops. That dog ain’t hunting, not this late in the game. To many, it simply re-enforces people’s beliefs about the left and their disdain for America’s fighting men. And it appears the American people are willing to live with that just as long as it’s a Democrat bringing down the gavel when the House reconvenes in January.

At the same time, I disagree with John Cole and his buddy Kos that this is all a tempest in a teapot and not really an issue in the campaign:

Again, I wish Kerry had not made the remark (or phrased it better), but really, it changes nothing. The Republican party has no plan for Iraq other than rhetorical shifts, their policies are not constructed or implemented to actually accomplish anything but rather to maintain Congressional power, and we all will be better off if the GOP is swept out of power. The Republicans are corrupt, morally bankrupt, have no ideas, no principles, and are hoping upon hope that this latest distraction will help to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, the bleeding they care about is at the polls and not the bleeding in Iraq.

Let’s crush their hopes.

Note: Also check out former Republican/still a conservative Cole’s anguished, whiny, nauseating, self pitying, screed here where he solemnly announces the Republican party has left him behind because all they’re interested in is power and politics.

Duh.

They are, after all, politicians who happen to be in the majority. Not being interested in being re-elected and maintaining their majority would constitute a form of political suicide that would truly be unique in the history of American politics. While Cole is correct in pointing out their malfeasance and incompetence, (I would add arrogance and an unhealthy disdain for the electorate), his self-serving, holier-than-thou shots at fellow bloggers who don’t quite see the world the way he does reveals the West Virginian to be a small minded, petulant man indeed. The GOP certainly does not deserve to be returned to majority status. But then, the Democrats don’t deserve anything except the utter and complete contempt of conservatives. Cole doesn’t like the fact that elections are about choices. Well, as I’ve written before, if it comes down to a choice between Republicans and Democrats, give me the side that doesn’t put “The War on Terror” in quotation marks and spread vicious lies about stolen elections and wars for oil.

As I said, read the whole thing. Just make sure you have a barf bag handy.

Kos, like Cole, sees Much Ado About Nothing:

Kerry responded perfectly. Perhaps not in a way that the DC wise men would approve, those Gang of 500 fools who have enabled this administration’s disasters at home and abroad.

Perhaps not in a way that will appease the 101st Fighting Keyboardists and their acolytes who would rather talk tough than actually show genuine courage by enlisting in the armed forces.

And sure, not in a way that will appease Republicans hoping to find anything to desperately detract from their crappy policies, crappy candidates, and lie- and hate-filled campaigns.

Yeah, those people won’t be happy with Kerry’s response.

But in this case, Kerry responded the right way. Not by bowing to the full blast of the right wing noise machine, but by standing up to it on behalf of our troops, our nation, and the truth.

As I said yesterday, the netnuts can’t see the practical benefits of a Kerry apology through the veil of their own hate. They are cheering him on to destruction because his childish name calling and anger against his detractors mirrors perfectly their own feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness which expresses itself sometimes in wild conspiracy theories but more often in simple, direct, malignant loathing of conservatives.

Not to be outdone in the hysterical denunciations of the right department, MSNBC’s Keith Olberman rises to the occasion:

Senator John Kerry has, in essence, called out President Bush for not being smart, not studying, and being intellectually lazy. And the President and his minions have replied by demanding that Kerry apologize — to the troops in Iraq. Kerry called them stupid, and they were too stupid to know he called them stupid. Our fifth story in the Countdown, to top his own original remarkable comments and the administration’s equally remarkable missing of the point, intentional or otherwise, there is also Kerry’s response, blistering with phrases like ‘crazy,’ ’stuffed suit,’ ‘lied,’ ‘lie,’ ‘lying,’ ‘Republican hacks,’ ‘right-wing nut jobs,’ and ‘doughy.’ We begin where the story did at yesterday’s rally for the Democratic candidate for governor of California. Senator Kerry charming the college-age crowd with tales of surfing before segueing into a series of one-liners about his former opponent in the 2004 race for the White House, Mr. Bush.”

Yes, “charming” indeed.

One of the shrewdest political observers in the media, Time Magazine’s Karen Tumulty sums up Kerry’s situation nicely:

His initial impulse, predictably enough, was to fight back against the criticism. He didn’t want to fall again into what turned out to be the biggest trap of 2004, when he failed to understand that a relatively small ad buy from a group that no one had ever heard of could be more damaging than he imagined. He was determined not to be “swift-boated” again. So he declared: “If anyone owes our troops in the fields an apology, it is the President and his failed team and a Republican majority in the Congress that has been willing to stamp — rubber-stamp policies that have done injury to our troops and to their families.” But even Rand Beers, his national security adviser in the 2004 campaign, said: “It’s unfortunate that Senator Kerry misspoke. No one who has ever been in combat would intentionally impugn our brave troops.”

In other words, Kerry has managed on the eve of what could be a watershed election to remind pretty much everyone what it was they didn’t like about the Democrats, and especially what they didn’t like about him. It might have made more sense just to say he was sorry — for once to get ahead of a mistake, instead of trying to compensate for it the next time.

Kerry will buckle today, bowing to the enormous pressure his friends in the party will place on him to offer some sort of apologia for his “joke.” The media will be satisfied no matter what he says as long as the word “sorry” is stuck in the statement somewhere. Even if it’s buried, they will be drawn to it like moths to a porch light and trumpet the Senator’s “sincerity” to the skies.

And the world will begin to turn again, the sun will set in the west, and Republican chances for maintaining control of the House and Senate will remain exactly as they were before the words of disparagement left the Senator’s mouth.

In other words, Nancy Pelosi and probably Harry Reid can resume packing. They’re movin’ on up to the majority side…

UPDATE

Ed Morrissey points to a general tip-toeing away from Kerry by Democrats running for office as one congressional candidate from Iowa has already cancelled a Kerry appearance:

Will we see more of this? Kerry has scheduled events here in Minnesota for Tim Walz and a party-building event for the DFL (Minnesota’s Democrats) today. Tonight he goes to Pennsylvania to campaign for Bob Casey, Jr, and the Braley campaign event was scheduled for tomorrow.

Will Walz withdraw his invitation to Kerry as well? Will Casey?

Only if the Senator keeps this story alive for another day by not admitting his mistake. Ed’s gut feeling about Kerry’s losing an opportunity to close out the story quickly is spot on.

By: Rick Moran at 7:29 am
14 Responses to “IS KERRY MELTDOWN A BLIP? OR A TURNING POINT?”
  1. 1
    Richard 23 Said:
    7:44 am 

    I don’t care if he apologizes or not. I don’t care if he blew his lines, flubbed his punchline or if he really does think the troops are a bunch of uneducated fools.

    I will not be voting for John F. Kerry this cycle. What a moron.

  2. 2
    Dale in Atlanta Said:
    9:54 am 

    I wonder if our Pro-Jihadi, Idol Worshipping Leftists, like “anonymous” and “Trey” and “Shaman” could stomach the TRUTH in his little document, by Dr. Walid Phares:

    http://counterterrorismblog.org/site-resources/images/JISS%20article%20Mutant%20Jihad%5B1%5D.pdf

    No, I guess not, it doesn’t blame the United States for everything EVIL in the world, and it tells the TRUTH about the Jihadis; ignore them, I think the rest of you Sane people, will find it very enlightening!

  3. 3
    186k Per Second - » Kerry and the MSM Take Americans for Fools ! Pinged With:
    10:09 am 

    [...] Democrats and the militaryKerry’s Contempt Continued.IS KERRY MELTDOWN A BLIP? OR A TURNING POINT?Will The Left Never Learn? [...]

  4. 4
    186k Per Second - » Kerry and the MSM Take Americans for Fools ! Pinged With:
    10:09 am 

    [...] Democrats and the militaryKerry’s Contempt Continued.IS KERRY MELTDOWN A BLIP? OR A TURNING POINT?Will The Left Never Learn? [...]

  5. 5
    Xenophon Said:
    11:40 am 

    If this helps keep the GOP in control of the House, that’s great. That would at the least prevent an Amnesty Bill from being sent to Dubya. (Which he would gladly sign.) I really don’t care about the aristocrats in the Senate. Nor do I care about the Thing in the White House.

  6. 6
    Karen Said:
    11:49 am 

    Good post.. I did a post on it, too. I’m calling for Kerry’s resignation. His chances for ‘08, if they were there in the first place, are now gone. Hillary can scratch off another one…

  7. 7
    Balloon Juice Pinged With:
    12:48 pm 

    [...] Reaslly, his post (and those like them I am whiny AND nauseating!) really don’t deserve much comment, but I will leave you with this- John Hawkin’s regularly has polls asking right-wing bloggers to list the worst people in American history. Mind you- the worst Americans in history. Bill and Hillary Clinton received 25 votes. [...]

  8. 8
    Opinionmill Said:
    1:03 pm 

    I think that this is a truly blip, but after the election is over it will probably be assigned as the root cause of Democrat failure (we failed because of a slip of the tongue, nothing to do with overall ideology or fundamental issues with our platform).

    My reason for believing this: There is an evangelical base that is flying under the MSM’s radar. What Kerry did yesterday was a blip (one of many examples where DNC words and actions campaign hard for the GOP in evangelical communities). At the end of the day this is one of four reasons the evangelicals will turn out in droves.

    Im not a professional analyst, but my full theory is here. Feedback is welcome:

    http://opinionmill.com/2006/10/31/four-reasons-evangelicals-will-impact-the-2006-election.aspx

  9. 9
    ed Said:
    1:12 pm 

    John Kerry has long proven himself to be a small, mean-spirited man with an intense dislike of the military and a massive personal sense of entitlement. And an unmatched political tin ear. Republicans will keep the Senate and very possibly the House because the likes of Sen. Kerry is the best the Democrats have to offer. The small group of undecided’s and independents that will likely determine many of the Congressional races will hold their nose and vote for incompetence and arrogance that is principle-based rather than incompetence and arrogance based on nothing.

  10. 10
    Dream Said:
    4:36 pm 

    Keith Olberman’s response to Kerry’s words is spot on how the left views America, our soilders and military, and the entire idea of what we stand for. The left is so blind in their hatred for being out of power they ignore common decency, truth, and anything that will get in their way back into power. Some how ideas are the victim to what the democrats and main stream media have done to America in the last 6 years.

  11. 11
    eli Said:
    4:39 pm 

    Only thing is when liberals let their guard down (I see it alot in this very blue state when I just sit and watch- my more conservative opinion is rarely welcomed) liberals, at least around here,really DO think the military is made up of uneducated,poor, pathetic kids and they really DO think they are better than the poor soldiers. John Kerry can’t fool any sensible person that he actually supports the military when he consistently says things like:

    John Kerry-”And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the–of–the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not…Iraqis should be doing that.”

    John Kerry-”they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan”

    Strike Three and his true opinion of the military is quite clear. Will it effect this election cycle? Maybe not, but it probably effected the 2008 election cycle!

  12. 12
    RonB Said:
    9:17 pm 

    How is it you can agree and disagree with the same point just because it was said by someone you don’t think much of?

    You, riffing on Andrew Sullivan:

    how much will this affect the voting next Tuesday?
    Not too damn much, I’m afraid.

    You, riffing on John Cole:

    I disagree with John Cole and his buddy Kos that this is all a tempest in a teapot and not really an issue in the campaign

    If you take all the babbling out of this post, it says:

    “John Kerry is stupid because he won’t apologize for something I know he didn’t say. I refuse to criticize the people I support who are twisting his words. And I hate John Cole for not going down with the sinking Republican ship like me, and he and Kos make me sick because they know the Republicans are as desperate as hell by making hay out of this bullshit.”

    Frankly Rick, you haven’t got the intellectual standing or the ‘gravitas’ to insult John Cole. You’re not even a tenth as thoughtful or as interesting as John is. John my be growing up in public right now, but that takes guts. Knowing full well your party is wrong on this stupid kerfuffle and still criticizing John Kerry, not so much guts.

    Just drop the objectivity guise and be the mean spirited jackass you really are. Your contrarian act is a farce.

  13. 13
    Rick Moran Said:
    9:36 pm 

    Duh.

    Kerry did apologize, didn’t he? Who was right and who was wrong there, twit?

    And although I got sidetracked a little in taking Cole to task for not vouchsafing conservative bloggers the same integrity with which he wishes to infuse himself, I disagreed with Cole and Kos for belittling the impact (obviously even more profound than I thought otherwise Kerry would have said screw you about apologizing)as a cheap Republican trick.

    As for my “intellectual standing” (WTF does that mean? Sounds like a kid trying to talk like a grown up) and “gravitas” (more juvenile rot) my work speaks for itself. As for Cole “growing up in public” perhaps he should have grown up a little in private. His whining about politicians is puerile and immature. Anyone who would vote for a racist like Byrd over an inoffensive dork like Raese is a pouting child and should be called out for his stupidity.

    BTW - I’ve taken Republicans to task for years on this fricking blog and I don’t need some ignoramus lecturing me on the GOP or politics, or anything else for that matter.

    And I’m as objective as I choose to be on any given subject at any given time. Don’t like it, GTF out of here.

  14. 14
    Deagle Said:
    2:20 am 

    Rick,

    Another response that shows that you do not understand Kerry and his betrayal of the Vietnam Vets… You do need to get better educated on his antics.

    This man is a menace to society…

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