Kerry's Kommercials Feature Family But No Kiss?

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Two ads that are part of John Kerry's record-breaking ad purchase can be viewed online here.

The text of them is available at this Slate page and Will Saletan's analysis is here.

Both ads hammer relentlessly what might be called the "John Kerry unlike George W. Bush actually fought in Vietnam even though he could have easily gotten out of it" line–a confusing theme given that Bush is currently waging a war and Kerry, despite supporting the original Iraq resolution and sending more troops (albeit under UN command) to the Middle East, is less bellicose than Bush. See how confusing it is just to set out for discussion?

And then there's all the medals/ribbons/sleeping on the Mall stuff that has further eroded Kerry's credibility on Vietnam. If there's more evidence the Democrats are heading toward minor-party status, it's that they pick a bona fide Vietnam vet as their candidate and they still somehow fuck up whatever selling point that's supposed to carry.

One of the commercials, "Heart," takes a page out of Al Gore's Faulkneresque family-gothic spectacle at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. You may recall cringingly (not a word but it should be) not only Tipper and Al's kiss but this tremendously important endorsement from Gore girl Karenna: "I would be supporting my dad for president even if he hadn?t raised, fed, clothed, taught, and loved me."

Kerry gets similar public endorsments from both his own wife and daughter (who in particular seems to be struggling to come up with anything to say about dear old dad). He thankfully gets no smooch from either in this ad, but there's always time to plan a floor show for the Boston convention, where no doubt other Kerry relatives will assure us that John is among their family favorites, too.

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  1. Is anyone actually confused? Kerry doesn’t like to see soldiers stuck out on the end of the stick for no good reason, without a realistic plan for victory, by people who don’t know what their doing, but think they do. His experience in combat zone doesn’t make this position harder to understand; it makes it easier to understand.

    Thank you, joe, for surprising us all by quoting chapter and verse from the Democratic Party handbook.

  2. Kerry’s Secret Plan to Extract the U.S. from Iraq: Have the medics examine every serviceman and woman for hangnails, blisters and severe windburn. Give everybody three Purple Hearts.

    Kevin

  3. zorel, Rick Laredo,

    the rest of the quote, if I remember correctly, was “…to take action.” We cannot wait for the threat to become imminent to take action. But we weren’t – Operation Desert Fox and UN inspection teams appear to have eliminated Iraq’s WMD capacity. By 2002, we had Iraq isolated, and could have followed any course we wished to take. But the refusal to go for the second resolution, to give the inspection teams 6 more weaks, and invade over the objections of our allies was justified on the grounds that we couldn’t wait any longer, or there might be a mushroom cloud over an American city. If you don’t see that as an argument from imminence, you’re deliberately blind.

  4. Have we ever seen George laying a lip-lock on Laura? Just curious.

  5. Ben says “Joe-If you are describing Kerry correctly then why did he vote for the war in the first place?”

    Kerry’s vote was NOT for war. It was to allow Bush the authority to use force “as a last resort”. In a way, Kerry fucked up – he believed Bush. Now Rove shoves Kerry’s well-intended vote up his ass and continues to ask everybody to trust him.

    Fool me once…uh, we won’t get fooled again.

  6. Is Nick writing RNC talking points now?

    The only people confused by the medal/ribbon bologne are people gullible enough to actually fall for the Bush team’s attempts to create mountains out of molehills at every opportunity.

    If the parties in this issue were reversed the Republicans would be having absolute coniptions about what a draft dodger Kerry is and how disgusting it is to impugn a decorated Vietnam vet’s credibility.

    The dishonesty and hypocracy are utterly transparent.

  7. Kerry’s vote was NOT for war. It was to allow Bush the authority to use force “as a last resort”. In a way, Kerry fucked up – he believed Bush.

    Bush did use force as a last resort.

    In any event, running for office on the “I’m one of the only people in America dippy enough to have thought Bush wasn’t going to war” platform isn’t a very smart strategy. But then, we’ve already established that Kerry can’t match Bush in a contest of wits, so I suppose smart strategies are too much to ask for.

  8. Dan’s full of shit. At the time we went in the UN was asking for six more weeks of inspections. Six weeks! Now we’re on our own, hat in hand back to the UN (or NATO) to bail us out.

    Not to mention being foolishly WRONG about the threat.

  9. What’s so confusing about the pro/anti-war theme? I can see somebody who’s been under a rock for the past four years having trouble with it, but anyone with even a passing knowledge of recent events understands which of the two botched a frivolous war and which didn’t. Kerry is no prize (though perhaps not *quite* a douchebag) but come on, give us a break here – there are plenty of other worthy targets besides Johnny. Have you unloaded on Ashcroft lately?

  10. So he (Kerry) is running a weak campaign against a weak opponent (Bush) — that in itself has the spectral finger prints of the 2000 election ghost all over it.

    The Bush admin is having a hard time though, and although Bush has circular-reasoned (I started a war, now you’ve got to let me finish it) his way back to re-election among his die-hard supporters, I don’t see how it’s going to endear him with the center and swing voters who are fed up with his policy.

    It’s clich?, but I think the “anyone but Bush” deal has big, meaty legs and it just might walk up one side of Bush and down the other…

    I personally think Kerry is going to whip Bush like a Iraqi prisoner… but there is always room for the Democrats to screw up…

  11. Is anyone actually confused? Kerry doesn’t like to see soldiers stuck out on the end of the stick for no good reason, without a realistic plan for victory, by people who don’t know what their doing, but think they do. His experience in combat zone doesn’t make this position harder to understand; it makes it easier to understand.

  12. Joe-If you are describing Kerry correctly then why did he vote for the war in the first place? People here at Reason and many other libertarian sites were saying that the administration was sticking soldiers “out on the end of the stick for no good reason, without a realistic plan for victory, by people who don’t know what they’re doing, but think they do.” Kerry went with what was politically popular at the time and he is trying to do the same now.

  13. Such snark!

    How are those Libertarian Party TV commercials doing? Me, I love the one where an actress portraying Ayn Rand reads a spreadsheet aloud.

    My favorite, though, is the one set in a supermarket, where a half-dozen guys in LP t-shirts scream at a woman for using food stamps because she’s shielding her kids from the great motivating power of hunger and teaching them to be wards of the state.

    The bit where one of the guys spits on the ground at her feet and explains that he’d never spit directly on her because that would constitute an encroachment on her rights was especially clarifying.

  14. He believed George Bush when he said the United States was in imminent danger. He took him at his word when Bush said he would work with the UN. And he assumed that Bush was proceed in an honest, competant, honorable, responsible manner. The money quote from Kerry’s floor speech: “Mr. President, do not rush to war.”

    All in all, it was a rare lapse in judgement on Kerry’s part.

  15. Ben’s right. Where was the pompous windbaggery in opposition to the war when he actually could have done something about, if only taking a “principled” stand. The guy is a rank opportunist and fake. He truly tests the “anyone but bush” position. The only way this guy gets elected is if Bush so badly flubs the Iraq show (and he’s well on his way) that the majority of the electorate decides they’d rather have anyone else than Bush in office (sort of like what happened to his father), and the only thing you can say about Kerry is he qualifies as “anyone else”.

  16. The Karenna quote wouldn’t have seemed at all icky, if dad had been anyone else. You know?

  17. Geez, what a bunch of clueless nerds. The war was the right thing to do and has succeeded in giving a whole country a chance at freedom (a whole region, actually) which itself gets at the root causes that created the problem to begin with, while deposing one of the most dangerous dictators around. Was a time libertarians thought that was a good thing.

    But wait, Kerry served with honor in Vietnam over 30 years ago, before flip-flopping on Iraq and hundreds of other issues–clearly he’s the man for the job.

  18. s.m. koppelman: 1
    straw men: 0

  19. All in all, it was a rare lapse in judgement on Kerry’s part.

    Heh, heh, heh. Count on joe to bring some humor into this discussion.

  20. What sort of campaign commercials do you recommend for May, Mr. Gillespie? The kind with detailed policy proposals laid out in full in 30 seconds or less, or the kind with slo-mo footage of a burning World Trade Center and the candidate shaking hands with soot-covered firefighters?

  21. “Cringingly” is a valid word, btw.

    Cringingly
    Crin”ging*ly, adv. In a cringing manner.

  22. …and then the Lollipop Guild hands Tired a token of their appreciation.

    Grow up.

  23. I wish that everyone who had or will donate to either Bush’s or Kerry’s campaign funds would simply take the time to instead write out checks to the major television networks. It would save the rest of us from having to waste an ounce of attention to this crap and still put the money where it will end up, just cutting out the middle.

    Does anyone know what percentage of the $billion$ expected to be spent on this presidential election will be spent on television commercials (50%, 60%? I don’t know, just guessing)?

  24. I don’t have figures available, but I’ve read that the Bush campaign is spending a much higher % on media and political consultants than the Kerry campaign.

  25. joe,

    this is beating a very dead horse, but Bush didn’t say “… was imminent threat” He said, “… in a post 9-11 world, we can’t afford to wait until a threat becomes imminent”

    you can make your arguments without having to Dowdify Bush’s quotes; they will be equally effective.
    – – – –

    Kerry blames Bush for misleading him (I thought Bush was the stupid guy and Kerry was the sophisticated one) even though Kerry was in the Intelligence Committee and has himself made pronouncements about the dangers of Saddam’s WMD …

  26. koppelman’s ignorance of what libertarianism is about is rather pathetic, but at least he was kinda funny this time!

  27. joe:
    “The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation.” — John Kerry, October 9, 2002
    “(W)e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. …And now he is miscalculating America?s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it is not new. It has been with us since the end of the Persian Gulf War.” — John Kerry, Jan 23, 2003

  28. Balanced budget huh? Well, Kerry has consistently had one of the biggest spending voting records in the whole senate!

    http://www.ntu.org/main/components/ratescongress/details_all_years.php3?senate_id=54

  29. Have we ever seen George laying a lip-lock on Laura?

    David Letterman loves to replay a clip where W pats her on her butt.

    Kevin

  30. It’s pretty clear at this point which party are the deficit hawks, Rick.

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