John Kerry’s “botched joke”

2 11 2006

By now you’ve probably heard about what John Kerry said about the troops.  There’s lots of coverage on this everywhere, but I’ll offer a few of my opinions and thoughts anyway.  Let’s start at the beginning.  Kerry first said :

You 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 don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.

Kerry claims it was a “botched joke”.  Even if it was only a joke, many a serious thing have been said in jest.  Either way, he offended a lot of people, and his refusal to apologize just makes matters worse.  His explanation the next day doesn’t seem to be helping much, either :

“My statement [Monday] — and the White House knows this full well — was a botched joke about the president and the president’s people, not about the troops. The White House’s attempt to distort my true statement is a remarkable testament to their abject failure in making America safe.”

What?!?  Does that make sense?  First off, what is there to distort?  They have the quote of him.  Apparently he mis-quoted himself, which is why the joke was “botched”.  Perhaps if he had studied in college he would be able to say what he means… or what he doesn’t mean… or, well, actually he’s pretty good at saying both sides… 🙂  Even the supposedly real joke didn’t seem funny to me, although, if you like irony, it could be humorous when combined with this bit of trivia : “Kerry got lower grades at Yale than did Bush, who went on to get an MBA at Harvard.  If Bush is dumb and uneducated, Kerry is not among those with room to criticize.”  Very ironic, huh?

Kerry appeared on a show called “Imus in the Morning“, where the host basically begged him to apologize, but he refused.  When Don Imus begged him again to “at least apologize for the perception and misunderstanding of your remarks”, he said, “…I’m not going to take anybody’s comment to suggest that somehow my telling the truth was a mistake.”  Uhh… so was it really a botched joke?  (Really, I suspect it was a botched joke, but he might believe some of what he said.  I think in this last quote, he’s just rambling and trying to cover his butt.)

During his refusal to apologize, he gave a combative news conference in Seattle where he was impugning “despicable Republicans” for attacking him.  He also personally attacked White House spokesman Tony Snow as a “stuffed suit … mouthpiece” and talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh as “doughy”.  And get this — he said the Republicans are running a “campaign of smear”.  Who is doing the smearing here?

Kerry’s second apology was a little better, although it’s still got issues (which isn’t surprising).  An excerpt :

“I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended.

It is clear the Republican Party would rather talk about anything but their failed security policy.”

He’s still blaming other people.  Not just the Republican party, but even about the joke!  Notice he says his words “were misinterpreted”.  No, what he actually said was clear; maybe it wasn’t what he meant, but it was what he said.  And he is accountable for what he says.

This site has a good compilation of comments by various bloggers and news articles about the whole incident.  It also has a quote where Kerry was wanting to ostracize the Senate majority leader for an inappropriate botched joke.  (Talk about irony!)

Even if it’s a joke gone bad, here’s why it’s still a big deal :

The reason this Kerry thing has struck such a chord is because it reminds the electorate of certain facts concerning the modern Democratic Party. Even if John Kerry was making a dumb joke about the military, it’s a subject that his party and Kerry in particular just don’t have the credibility to jest about. If Robert Byrd began a joke by saying, “There’s a white boy, a Jew and an African American,” chances are his most loyal supporters would tear him away from the microphone and tell the crowd that it’s time for the Senator’s afternoon nap. The one-time Kleagle just can’t joke about such things. The same holds true for the Democrats, Kerry and the military.

I should acknowledge an awareness that some people, even conservative people, think Kerry’s boner was an attempted joke about the president that went terribly awry. While I don’t buy this contention and find it to be quite frankly ludicrous, even if we said for the sake of argument that this excuse is the 100% unvarnished truth, this event would still matter.

If Senator Kerry misspoke (as he claims) and in so doing caused great offense (which is undeniable), why can’t he just apologize? Furthermore, why are so many active Democrats so opposed to the notion of Kerry apologizing?

Check out this picture of some troops asking Kerry for some help after his joke.  (I don’t know if it’s real or not, but it’s funny.)

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3 responses

2 11 2006
PoliticalCritic

You left off the beginning of his original quote, which reinforces the notion that he was ripping Bush, not the troops. Kerry is still an idiot who needs to stop talking, but the context is important.

2 11 2006
Kri'

“I’m John Kerry, and I approve this joke before I disapprove.”

2 11 2006
Thomas Wayne

It’s scary that Kerry was so close to being elected president. I can’t imagine where our country would be if led by al-Qerry…

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