Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kerry Has Done Himself In, If Not The Republicans, With Silly Remark

George Romney never recovered politically from his campaign remark that he had been "brainwashed" about Vietnam, and so it will go with John Kerry in his "botched joke" denigrating the American military.

Kerry apologized this morning on MSNBC, saying, "I said it was a botched joke. I'm sorry about a botched joke." And he cancelled campaign appearances for Democratic candidates in the Mid Term elections, not wishing to be a distraction.

I think this is too late to save the Republicans in an election that has been trending heavily Democratic in the polls. But it's probably the end of Kerry in the 2008 race. Even before this happened, Kerry was caught somewhere between his heroism in Vietnam and his cut-and-run advocacy in Iraq.

The L.A. Times does a service this morning when it prints, accompanying the lead story in the paper, exact quotes of what Kerry's prepared remarks would have had him say at the appearance with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides at Pasadena City College, and then what he actually did say.

In the prepared remarks, Kerry was to say, "Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

What Kerry did say, was, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

The remark, either the prepared or the actually declared, would have landed Kerry in trouble, and is at least an illustration of the old adage that it is dangerous to joke in American politics. Maybe, just maybe, in the prepared remarks, Kerry was talking about President Bush. The way it came out, he never mentioned him.

For one thing, suggesting American troops have failed in their education is not true. Through personal experience I can say that many educated people go into the military, and some are in Iraq today.

But, for Kerry, it is devastating. This reminds one of Kerry's inopportune remarks during his presidential campaign that he had voted for the Iraq war in the Senate, but he had also voted against it. The Massachusetts senator does not seem to know his own mind, and one reason he lost the presidential race in 2004 was that he waffled on what his Iraq policy was.

Since then, Kerry has been leading the Democratic minority (thus far) who wish simply to withdraw from Iraq without paying attention to the probable consequences.

While it's all probably too late to save the Republicans in the Mid Terms, it still could be felt in such close races as the Senate contests in Missouri and Virginia.

Regardless, I believe, it's the end of Kerry's presidential aspirations. He will never live this down.

House Republican leader John Boenner drove that home today by stating of Kerry, "he is a liberal, a leftist and this is the typical attitude they have toward our military. It goes to show you what liberal Democrats would do if they were to take control of the House and Senate."

Maybe not, because not all Democrats want to exactly cut and run, as does John Kerry. Still, he has embarrassed both himself and the Democratic party.

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