Does Kerry Need A Hail Mary Pass Metaphor?

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Poll numbers suggest he might, but he's tossing up wounded turkeys like Garo Yepremian in Super Bowl VII.

The Washington Post reports on John Kerry's recent pigskin gaffe up in the frozen tundra of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Bay State Blowhard–who earlier this year committed the cardinal sin of apparently confusing Univ. of Michigan football with archrival Ohio State–called the Packers' storied stadium Lambert Field. The predictable result? A figurative blitz of GOP bullet passes to the contender's crotch, a la Burt Reynolds in The Longest Yard. To wit:

"I got some advice for him," Bush told Wisconsinites a few days after the Lambert gaffe. "If someone offers you a cheesehead, don't say you want some wine, just put it on your head and take a seat at Lambeau Field." Vice President Cheney made the obligatory pilgrimage to Green Bay last week to pile on. "I thought after John Kerry's visit here I'd visit Lambert Field," Cheney told a crowd at a Republican fundraising dinner Thursday night. Then he went in for the kill. "The next thing is he'll be convinced Vince Lombardi is a foreign leader."

The worst part of Kerry's gaffe? It's resurrected the hoary old tradition of discussing politics as sport, including this two-minute-warning rebuttal from a Kerry blocker (which does include a most excellent after-the-whistle cheap shot regarding Dubya's rah-rah days):

And David Wade, a Kerry spokesman, said Packers fans will see the failed "playbook" of the Republicans. "Any Packers fan knows . . . Bush has fumbled on Iraq, did a double reverse on the assault weapons ban and dropped the ball on health care." Then Wade went personal. "I don't think we need any lectures in sports from a former cheerleader," referring to one of Bush's activities while at prep school.

The Bush rejoinder almost writes itself: "While our opponent is windsurfing and pulling political flea-flickers, we're pulling a real-life Statue of Liberty play in a place called Iraq."

And the Kerry countersweep: "W stands for Wrong Way Reigels."

Hmm, maybe the football talk would make the debates worth watching…

Whole thing here. Lombardi–"a Kennedy Democrat," as the Post notes (but more important, the man of honor on a New Jersey Turnpike toilet–would love this. After all, he's the guy who famously said, "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser."

More Lombardi quotes here.

Info on Don DeLillo's excellent
70's novel, End Zone, which has fun with the nuclear-war-as-football-game metaphor and has aptly been described as "Dr. Strangelove Meets North Dallas Forty," here.

NEXT: Dead Woman Driving

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  1. Guess who said the following?

    “Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN’s aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”?Sept. 6, 2004, Poplar Bluff, Mo.

    “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”?Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

    “I want to thank my friend, Sen. Bill Frist, for joining us today. ? He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. (Laughter.) Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me.”?Nashville, Tenn., May 27, 2004

    “I’m honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein.”?Washington, D.C., May 25, 2004

    More here http://slate.msn.com/?id=76886

  2. Read the DeLillo book!

    Read the DeLillo book!

    Read ALL of DeLillo’s books! Especially “End Zone,” “Mao II” (meditions on terrorism, crowds, the World Trade Center), “The Names,” and “White Noise.”

  3. Gadfly,

    The fourth remark is the best (in a sick and twisted way).

  4. Then he went in for the kill. “The next thing is he’ll be convinced Vince Lombardi is a foreign leader.”

    Do they really want to bring up the old “foreign leader” issue? Didn’t Bush have some problems with naming foreign leaders in the last election?

  5. Joe,

    You forgot something very important: Underworld.

    Or at least the opening “The Giants Win The Pennant!” chapter. That’s been excerpted as a novella, and it’s mah-velous. How else to describe an account of Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, Toots SHor, and J. Edgar Hoover in a luxury box during a baseball game?

    Some of the rest of the book really sucks, but that opening chapter is a jewel.

  6. I left “Underworld” off for a reason, but you’re right, that first chapter was first rate.

    The rest read like a triple album by a 70s prog-rock band – the kind that would have been ok if chopped down to 2 album sides.

  7. Gadfly and Gary Gunnels,

    That “brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein” had had a prosthetic hand put on by American doctors. This was what Bush was shaking. Bush is actually going out of his way to draw attention to the fact that the guy now has a hand to shake.

    I know the quote sounds stupid taken out of context but context matters.

  8. Ugh. So not only is the president required to be happily married and openly religious, but he also has to be a football fan? Call me a Northeastern liberal elite, but I just think that’s stupid. Call me when the two candidates are done strutting and posturing with their big swinging dicks. An anecdote: My brother and I cut school to see Ronald Reagan when he visited my hometown of Rochester, New York around 1984, where he proceeded to mispronounce the name of our beloved hockey team. Didn’t seem to harm his popularity, though.

  9. Hey Gadfly, seeing we’re playing geussing games, guess what campaign is on life support, and guess who’s headed for 4 more years.

  10. Ugh. So not only is the president required to be happily married and openly religious, but he also has to be a football fan? Call me a Northeastern liberal elite, but I just think that’s stupid. Call me when the two candidates are done strutting and posturing with their big swinging dicks. An anecdote: My brother and I cut school to see Ronald Reagan when he visited my hometown of Rochester, New York around 1984, where he proceeded to mispronounce the name of our beloved hockey team. Didn’t seem to harm his popularity, though.

  11. Ugh. So not only is the president required to be happily married and openly religious, but he also has to be a football fan?

    Not at all. But he shouldn’t go around pretending to be a football fan.

    Just like he shouldn’t go around pretending to be a deer hunter, or a gun rights supporter, or anything else. The knock on Kerry, which he keeps driving home himself, is that he is a shallow opportunist.

  12. RWGR, Zogby and Rassmussen both have Bush’s lead down to .5-2 points. An incumbent, against a challenger, after labor day, has a lead significantly smaller than the margin of error.

    Quick question – which way to undecided voters break, towards the incumbent or towards the challenger?

  13. RWGR, Zogby and Rassmussen both have Bush’s lead down to .5-2 points. An incumbent, against a challenger, after labor day, has a lead significantly smaller than the margin of error.

    Quick question – which way to undecided voters break, towards the incumbent or towards the challenger?

  14. I agree, Mr. Sweeney, context matters. However, according to Karl Rove, when you’re explaining, you’re losing. Better to just throw shit on the wall and let someone else clean it up.

  15. Joe

    You need to pull your head out of your seat cushion and see that Bush is still up by 5-6 points in the AVERAGE of most polls. Not only that, but taking weirdly done, biased polls like Zogby and lifting them up as the end-all, be-all will damage your credibility faster than a roomful of CBS typewriters.

  16. I trust Zogby, Rassmussen, and ARG more than the big guys like Gallup, Time, NYT, or Mason Dixon.

    But I guess we won’t really know for a month and a half.

  17. Roger Sweeny,

    Thanks for the correction. 🙂

    I’ll guess I’ll have to go with the OB/GYN comment as funniest then. 🙂

  18. “… taking weirdly done, biased polls like Zogby and lifting them up as the end-all, be-all will damage your credibility…”

    He doesn’t have any credibility, we all know he’s just a yellow dog.

  19. “Yellow dog” would imply that my enthusiasm is for the Democratic Party in general, which is not the case. I’m an enthusiastic John Kerry supporter, even more than a Democrat or an ABB.

    I wouldn’t be so motivated for a Dean or Gore campaign, even though I’d support them.

  20. “I trust Zogby, Rassmussen, and ARG more than the big guys”

    Let’s see if anyone can figure out the real reason why…

    Joe, did this revelation happen before or after those polls had Kerry closer than the “big guys?”

    Also, you neglect to mention what a stellar job the Christian Science Monitor has been doing with their polling lately…

    Here’s a tip: you’ll know the race is close again if you start seeing a lot of ads highlighting Kerry’s infamous senate testimony.

  21. I haven’t seen any CSM polls. What do they say?

    I’ve trusted Zogby more than Gallup and the other big guys since 1996, when he got Clinton’s margin over Dole correct to the single point, and beat the established pollmeisters. Also, I believe Zog was the first to pick up on Kerry’s comeback in Iowa.

    As for Rassmussen, I just like the robots. Gimmicky, maybe, but we’ll soon know.

    BTW, the ads about Kerry’s testimony are already running.

  22. If I’m not mistaken, Lambeau is a French name.

    And Kerry got it wrong.

    Don’t you people see the significance of this? He’s a real American after all! :->

  23. You yokels must realize your “discussion” has the same tone as an NFL pregame show?

    “My team will win!”
    “Oh, yeah, well your QB is a drunk”
    “But our defense is on fire”
    “Defense doesn’t score points”
    “But defense wins championships”
    “Did you hear Coach Zogby’s analysis over on CBS?”
    “He’s an idiot!”
    “It’s all about who’s ahead when the clock runs out”

    A pack of ossified zealots barking through a fence. Nice.

    Next time craft your wrote blatherings in the form of a Springer episode.

  24. Speaking as a Wisconsin native, I couldn’t care less if Kerry knows the name of our football stadium.

    Now, if he can’t tell the difference between frozen custard and regular ice cream, well, then I’ll have no choice but to vote for Bush! 🙂

    Seriously, I’ve never understood why candidates are evaluated based on, say, their ability to flip pancakes at a NH breakfast, their knowledge of local sports teams, the fact that they look like a Frenchman and/or a chimp, saying “subliminable”, or how they answer questions on MTV.

  25. BTW, a recent mayoral election in Milwaukee was decided in part on the fact that one of the candidates failed to pay his electric bill.

    Given that we Milwaukeeans are some of the cheapest people on earth, that actually makes sense.

  26. Gadfly,

    The day I let Karl Rove give me lessons on how to live my life is the day I stop caring about my integrity. I hope neither you nor I ever reach that point.

  27. Well, perhaps Kerry had the good sense to mispronounce a French name, but mis-calling the “double reverse?” Unforgiveable.

  28. “You yokels must realize your “discussion” has the same tone as an NFL pregame show?”

    What’s your point?

  29. Hey thoreau,

    I resemble that remark.

    If Kerry visits Milwaukee and doesn’t visit Kopp’s or Leon’s he’s not fit to lead this country.

  30. I think Kerry committed a similar “flub” a few weeks ago in Philadelphia. He ordered a cheesesteak with (gasp) provolone. Apparently some locals got their panties in a bunch over that.

    Collectivist newsflash: just because some local custom or tradition is near and dear to you, it doesn’t mean “outsiders” give a flying fuck. Granted, Kerry doesn’t look good with his verbal stumble, but it’s a fucking football field.. get over it.

    BTW – I’m not voting for the douchebag. Of whom I’m referring to, take your pick.

  31. He ordered a cheesesteak with (gasp) provolone.

    It was Swiss.

    Yes, I do pay attention to the things that matter.

  32. Kurt:

    Thanks for the correction. I remember now.. a “true” philly cheesteak has american or provolone cheese. Apparently swiss cheese is considered “sissy”..

  33. Any candidate who tells a group of locals, “No way I’m eating that shit” gets my vote, no questions asked.

    Unless it’s steamers. Cuz they’re goooooooood.

  34. Kerry’s faux pas over mispronouncing the temple on Lombardi Avenue’s name was embarrassing, and local Reps and radio yakkers are having a field day with it. Steve Hayes, born and raised in Wauwatosa, WI, wrote about this at the beginning of the month:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/560azqaa.asp

    Seriously, a tired candidate, who has also visited swing state Missouri often, simply spit out the name of St. Louis’ airport when he meant Green Bay’s stadium. But most of us behind the Cheddar Curtain wouldn’t know that bit of Show Me trivia. Still pretty funny, though.

    Kevin
    (reporting from M`waukee)

  35. The cheesesteak thing actually happened last year. Kerry was not only derided in the local press for ordering with swiss, but for taking “dainty” bites from his cheesesteak as well. I believe a Kerry spokesman actually said something to the effect that he meant to order one with American, but that he was distracted thinking about all the jobs that had been lost during the Bush administration.

  36. Instead of voting based on who knows the most about football, who eats his cheesesteak like a “real man”, and who did the most in the military 30 years ago, why not just get out the rulers and measure their dicks and be done with it?

    I’ll get the atomic force microscope ready, just in case 😉

  37. Oh, and before we measure, Captain Flightsuit will have to remove the toilet paper roll from the front of his pants, and John Flip Flop Kerry will have to unveil the real deal instead of one of the firearms that he brandishes on the campaign trail every chance he gets.

    As I said, the atomic force microscope is ready. Gentlemen, let’s measure!

  38. Fumbling and dropping the ball are bad things, that makes sense, but why is running a double reverse bad? If it fails, yes, and it’s annoying when announcers call a single reverse a double, but an effective double reverse is a thing of beauty.

  39. A true philly cheesesteak has cheese wiz, not actual cheese.

  40. Like most things of beauty, an EFFECTIVE double reverse is extremely rare.

  41. GWB may have been a weenie cheerleader in school, but JFK II outweenied him. He played soccer! No amount of intramural ice hockey can wipe out such shame.

    Kevin

  42. “GWB may have been a weenie cheerleader in school, but JFK II outweenied him. He played soccer!”

    In which way is soccer more of a “weenie sport” than baseball?

  43. I’m not so concerned about Lombardi being confused with a foreign leader by a candidate as I’m concerned about Lombardi being confused as a Packer by the electorate…

    …Just to set the record straight, he died a Redskin party people…He was a Reeedskiiiinn.

    That’s right, the Super Bowl trophy is named after a coach of the Redskins, not a coach of the Packers. He was a great coach, no doubt–when Sonny Jurgensen was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he even thanked Lombardi for getting him there.

    I’m not trying to take anything away from Lombardi; Lombardi was probably the second best coach the NFL has ever seen…second to Joe Gibbs, of course.

  44. Soccer is more weenie in the “Amurikun” way. And ain’t it nice y’all got time for sport when black children are being murdered every day. That’s why they sing “God Bless Amerikkka” at a lot of those games.

  45. by your logic, Schulz, Keith Richards wasn’t in the Rolling Stones, I suppose? He’s really a New Barbarian, eh?

  46. What happened to Don Delillo after End Zone and White Noise?

  47. In which way is soccer more of a “weenie sport” than baseball?

    Off hand I can think of:

    Sliding into second and taking out the shortstop as he attempts to make his throw to first.

    The catcher blocking the plate to prevent the runner from scoring from third.

    Taking first base after being plunked with a 90mph fastball. Just getting into the batter’s box when Randy Johnson is pitching!

    Ty Cobb filing down his spikes. (Admittedly, he was the worst cuss with the most talent ever to play.)

    Outfielders crashing into walls to catch balls on their way out of the park.

    With soccer, you get a “tackled” player collapsing in a heap, holding his left knee, while the replay clearly shows the man marking him made contact with his right side, if at all, followed by the miraculous recovery.

    I will admit that I played goal in a 9th grade P.E. class soccer game once, when a forward whiffed while trying to score on me, hitting me “roight in the goolies.” That was NOT a weenie experience.

    Kevin

  48. “With soccer, you get a “tackled” player collapsing in a heap, holding his left knee, while the replay clearly shows the man marking him made contact with his right side, if at all, followed by the miraculous recovery.”

    They often get carded for faking like that. On the flip side, you have players standing in row formation in an attempt to block a free kick that could easily result in a direct hit to one of the players’ family jewels.

    For the record, I don’t think baseball’s a sport for weenies. But neither’s soccer, though I think you might have to be catatonic to enjoy watching it frequently. And one thing that soccer does have in its favor is that you actually have to be in decent shape to play professionally. Can anyone imagine a lard-ass like John Kruk or Cecil Fielder playing for a major soccer team, regardless of his talent?

  49. “I wouldn’t be so motivated for a Dean or Gore campaign, even though I’d support them.”

    The dog barks.

  50. the dog barks,

    Judicial Watch is also awaiting the U.S. Navy’s response to its inquiry regarding Kerry’s “Silver Star with combat V.” The citation appears in Kerry’s DD214 military form on his website, but according to military officials, no such medal exists.

    “Kerry’s record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a ‘combat V’ to anyone for a Silver Star,” said a Naval official to reporter Thomas Lipscomb in an article for the August 27th Chicago Sun Times.

    According to the Sun Times article, “Naval regulations do not allow for the use of a ‘combat V’ for the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration the Navy awards. None of the other services has ever granted a Silver Star ‘combat V,’ either.”

  51. Can anyone imagine a lard-ass like John Kruk or Cecil Fielder playing for a major soccer team, regardless of his talent?

    No, but I wouldn’t expect Vasili Alexeyev to be a competent striker, either.

    Kevin

    “I ain’t an athlete, lady, I’m a baseball player.” – John Kruk

    http://www.bigfool.com/kruk/

  52. BTW, Kerry, in Madison WI this week, tried to charm the crowd by namechecking “Main Street Brats.” Only trouble is, it’s “State Street Brats.” He must drive his advance men crazy.

    Kevin

    (Will take 2, no kraut.
    And do you have any Secret Stadium Sauce?”

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