Thursday, November 02, 2006

Can't Tell a Joke to Save His (Political) Life

This past Monday, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, trying to make a bad joke about George Bush's intelligence, instead made the following ill-advised comment, repeated ad nauseum by the Republican outrage machine:
"if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make
an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you can get stuck in
Iraq."

Nevermind the metacommentary that it is not the children of the elite who are fighting this war, but mostly the underclass of kids trying to get money for college or with few other job prospects that have not been outsourced to other countries. Keery, one should remember, is both a Yale graduate and a military volunteer, living proff that the educated do offer to serve their country. But the response has been a deliberate missing of the point as well as an excoriation of anybody who actually gets the point, like John Derbyshire over at NRO, as they try to alchemically make willful ignorance into conventional wisdom.

Looking at the broader context, it becomes clear that the person who got 'stuck in Iraq' was Bush, but the comment was taken to imply that it was servicemen and women who were stupid and got stuck in that Mesopotamian hellhole. 105 US troops died last month and countless untold Iraqis were dumped on the streets with Of course, our soldiers are all ubermeschen with MENSA-level IQs and to suggest otherwise makes you guilty of the deathly thoughtcrime of 'not supporting the troops', but one would think our troops would be better supported by not sending them off in ill-defined wars of choice which clearly delineate the limits of American power. While as the brouhaha is pumped up by a desperate GOP, an actual soldier was abandoned in the field as US troops called off the search for a missing Iraqi-American translator kidnapped in Sadr City last week.

Clearly, Kerry handles a joke is like having Dick Cheney shoot an apple off of someone's head. Even in the Massachusetts governor's race featured a call from the Republican candidate Healey for the Democratic candidate Patrick to comment in last night's debate, which Patrick succinctly labeled as 'dumb'. Kerry, not up for re-election this year (or perhaps ever again if he loses another election for the Democratic Party) has since apologized, even as the White House Press Secretary misleadingly claims he has not and this non-story gobbles up a news cycle. This cynical bait-and-switch has yet to cut into the Democratic lead, as the actual harm to US troops comes more from the 'standing fast' (new GOP Iraq slogan) of Bush in his support of failed architects Cheney and Rumsfeld. If Democrats can be thankful for anything from this debacle, it will be Kerry seeing his chances for a Nixon-like electoral return in the 2008 Presidential race evaporate as every surging Democratic Congressional candidate has to offer a denunciation of his poorly-phrased attempt at levity.

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