…it is also quite clear that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA, 100%) said exactly what he meant to say. The reason he resisted apologizing for so long is that the “joke” was just what he said: if you don’t study, you’ll end up stuck in Iraq, as one of those lazy, dumb soldiers.
The opening is a series of three jokes, of which this is the third: but he says it smoothly, not stumbling; he does indeed have a smirk as he says it; and the audience laughs. There is nothing whatsoever to indicate, in even the faintest degree, that he meant to say “you end up getting us stuck in Iraq,” referring to that lazy, dumb President Bush (who got at least a good a GPA at Yale and Harvard as did Kerry). Not at all.
I also share Ace’s skepticism about the prepared text remarks from the Kerry camp.***
And milblogger Smash hits the nail on the head:
Kerry’s actual remarks (as opposed to what he now wishes he had said), were highly insulting to everyone who has served in the military. His subsequent series of bizarre attacks against the president did nothing to alleviate the offense. His written non-apology of this afternoon is wholly inadequate, and only adds insult to injury: he regrets that his words were “misinterpreted.” How magnanimous of him!
Please don’t insult us further, Senator. We know what you said. You may not have meant to say those precise words, but the meaning of what you did say was perfectly clear.
Apology not accepted.
Thrust into the midst of the midterm election campaign, Sen. John Kerry apologized Wednesday to “any service member, family member or American who was offended” by remarks deemed by Republicans and Democrats alike to be insulting to U.S. forces in Iraq.
Six days before the election, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee said he sincerely regretted his words were “misinterpreted to imply anything negative about those in uniform.”
Can’t wait to see how our troops respond now.
Meanwhile: Kerry appearances cancelled, cancelled, cancelled.
More reax at HA.
Mark Levin’s not buying it.
Mark Steyn blasts the “botched joke” crowd:
If you talk to Democrats of the middle-class and upper-middle-class and (in John Heinz Kerry’s case) the neo-Gulf-emir-class, you’ll have heard the same thing a thousand times: these poor fellows in Iraq, they’re only there because they’re too poverty-stricken and ill-educated so they couldn’t become Senators and New York Times reporters and tenured Queer Studies professors like normal Americans do. That is, in fact, what they mean by the claim that they “support our troops”: they want to bring them home and retrain them so they’re not forced into taking jobs as Bush’s torturers and thugs. It’s part of the same condescension as describing soldiers as “our children”. If a 22-year old intern wants to drop to the Oval Office broadloom, she’s a grown woman exercising her freedom of choice. But, if a 28-year old guy wants to serve in Iraq, he’s a poor wee misguided Grade Six drop-out who doesn’t know any better. John Kerry’s soundbite is interesting not because it’s the umpteenth self-inflicted wound by Mister Nuance but because it gets right to the heart of the Democrats’ “support” for the troops.
A retired Army guy e-mails:
Kerry said that if anyone thought his remarks were intended for the military then they were crazy.
Yet he apologized today for remarks that he made if people took offense.
Well, if folks took offense that means that they thought his remarks were offensive to the military.
That means that he called those folks to whom he apologized CRAZY.
He owes another apology to us.
Military.com has a massive discussion thread on Kerry’s remarks.
Stupid “expert” quote of the day via Associated (w/t) Press, of course:
The way opponents have seized on the remarks by Kerry _ a Yale graduate and decorated Vietnam veteran _ is a sign, says political analyst Steven Cohen, of just how contentious, polarized and “poisonous” American politics has become. Not that there hasn’t been political nastiness before _ there were fistfights on the floor of Congress in the 19th century, Cohen says. But now, it’s all magnified by electronic media and the Web.
“What’s lost in all this is any genuine discussion of the issue,” says Cohen, professor of public policy at Columbia University. “Have we made mistakes in Iraq? Where should we go now? The questions have instead become, ‘Is John Kerry disrespectful to troops?’ and ‘Is George Bush stupid?'”
One thing the episode does show, says a prominent analyst of political communication, is that more than ever, politicians need to listen to themselves while speaking, and catch remarks that could be misconstrued. Call it self-editing, or self-monitoring _ Kerry was not doing that on Monday, says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
“It happens to people who give lots of speeches _ you get tired, and you start to abbreviate,” says Jamieson. “It wouldn’t be like Kerry to criticize the troops _ it’s perfectly plausible that he was trying to joke about Bush.”
“It wouldn’t be like Kerry to criticize the troops.”
Where has this woman been the last two years? Repeat:
N.Z. Bear weighs in.