A) Incredibly stupid
B) Desperate to latch onto any remark and try to distort and spin it to their advantage
C) Both A and B
The correct answer is, of course, C.
John Kerry was in California yesterday. The New York Times reports:
The senator, who was campaigning for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Phil Angelides, opened with several one-liners, joking at one point that President Bush had lived in Texas but now â€œlives in a state of denial.â€
Then, Mr. Kerry said: â€œYou know, education, 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 donâ€™t, you get stuck in Iraq.â€
Any person of average intelligence reading those remarks would know that Senator Kerry was referring to George W. Bush and not to our troops now serving in Iraq. I know the people who heard them live understood their meaning.
The Republicans, however, desperate as they are to grab any straw as their ship goes down, decided they would get all huffy, puffy and indignant and claim that Kerry was attacking the troops. Think about that for a moment. How stupid would Kerry have to be to say what the Republicans are saying he said, eight days before an election?
The Senator responded today:
But if anyone should apologize, Mr. Kerry said, it is President Bush and his administration officials who started the ill-conceived war. He said his remarks had been distorted and called the criticism directed at him the work of â€œassorted right-wing nut jobs and right-wing talk show hosts.â€
â€œIf anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, theyâ€™re crazy,â€ Mr. Kerry said in a statement. â€œIâ€™m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.â€
â€œIâ€™m not going to be lectured by a stuffed-suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Foxâ€™s Parkinsonâ€™s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq,â€ Mr. Kerry went on. â€œIt disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.â€
At a televised news conference today in Seattle, Mr. Kerry said he was â€œdisgustedâ€ by the Republican attacks, which he noted were coming at the end of a bloody month in Iraq. â€œSadly, this is the best this administration can do,â€ he said.
I am not a huge fan of John F. Kerry. He was my last choice to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004. I supported him because he was the Democratic presidential nominee. If, by some fluke, he is nominated in 2008, I will support him for the same reason. I am not posting about this little war of words so much to come to the defense of Mr. Kerry as I am in astonishment at the stupidity, ignorance and desperation being displayed here by some people very high up in the Republican Party. Is it any wonder they have shown themselves to be such utter failures at governing?
James Joyner sums it up rather nicely:
Itâ€™s almost axiomatic that people who spend a lot of time trying to convince you of how clever they are arenâ€™t very clever.
Update: The rightie blogosphere is passing around this video. It’s ten seconds long. Ten seconds! Someone call Guinness. This has to be the shortest political speech on record. I guess when you’re desperate you’ll grab at any straw, no matter how ridiculous.
Update #2: Now even the Idiot in Chief is getting involved…
Bush, campaigning later in Georgia, said Kerry’s statement was “insulting and it is shameful.”
“The members of the United States military are plenty smart and they are plenty brave and the senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology,” Bush said during an appearance for a former GOP congressman, Mac Collins, who is trying to oust Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall. (link)
Yes, Mr. Bush, the members of the U.S. military are plenty smart and plenty brave. They are certainly smarter and braver than you. They, like John Kerry and unlike you, are fulfilling the military obligation for which they signed up.
You would think that the one person who would recognize the insult for what it was would the person for whom it was intended. Nope. He’s either too stupid or, like others in his doomed political party, is grasping for straws. My guess is about 50/50.