Politics

Quote of the Day

|

"I guess Kerry wasn't content blowing 2004, now he wants to blow 2006, too."

That's an unnamed "Democratic congressman" talking to ABC's Jake Tapper about John Kerry's new Edu-gate gaffe, which is now splashed on Drudge, up to 720 stories on Google News, and forcing President Bush to object that the troops are "plenty smart." What's the route of that one-man parade again?

Advertisement

NEXT: Au Revoir, Frenchies!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You have money riding on this, don’t you Tim Cavanaugh.

  2. Waaah! The Republicans are saying mean things about us. It’s hopeless, we’re going to lose.

    Stand up and fight back, you pansy!

  3. From the first time I heard this, even out of context, it was quite plain to me that Kerry was referring to Bush, even though in order to parse his statement to mean that you have to torture the English language far more than Bush ever has.

    But his damn fool arrogance in the wake of this “gaffe” continues to do more harm than good. When will we finally get the “I’m sorry if my remarks offended anyone” non-apology?

  4. JF,

    If the meaning is so plain to you why do you have to “torture the English language” to get that? If he had just apologized and said that he didn’t mean to offend, it would have been a non-story. Why he wasn’t smart enough to figure that out says all you need to know about why he is not and never will be President. But hey, have fun Democrats. You are the ones who nominated this clown and thrust him from obscurity to permanent notoriety.

  5. “I guess Kerry wasn’t content blowing 2004, now he wants to blow 2006, too.”

    I don’t care who you are, that’s funny!

  6. I can see Teresa rolling her eyes and wondering if there’s some way she could bed Barack Obama.

  7. I know what Kerry meant too.

    But if you can’t deliver a punchline right don’t complain that someone misinterpreted it.

    And don’t cry if your political opponents use it against you.

  8. John,

    It’s plain to me becuz I’s gots plenty o’ dem street smarts and knows how to thinks for myself.

    I’ve also got quite a bit of that there book learnings, and grammatically there is no way that the sentence can be dissected to have the “you get stuck in Iraq” mean anything but the soldiers. Context versus content, and when they conflict, partisan wackos (good morning, joe and John) get to argue and I get to eat popcorn and be entertained.

  9. Yes, Kerry garbled another “Bush is Stupid” joke. But should we cut him any more slack than was given Gerald Ford when he mispoke about Russian dominance of Eastern Europe? Communicators like Reagan and Clinton would have apologized and joked their way out of it.
    Ford, Kerry, the Bushes can’t.

  10. “I’ve also got quite a bit of that there book learnings, and grammatically there is no way that the sentence can be dissected to have the “you get stuck in Iraq” mean anything but the soldiers.”

    What the hell are you saying? You seem to say in your first post it is very clear to you that Kerry meant Bush and now you are saying in all of your patronizing and smug glory that “the ‘you get stuck in Iraq'” phrase can only mean the soldiers. Which is it? Please take all of your “book learnin” and tell us poor ignorant folk just what the hell your point is.

  11. Isaac,

    “I know what Kerry meant too.

    But if you can’t deliver a punchline right don’t complain that someone misinterpreted it.

    And don’t cry if your political opponents use it against you.”

    He isn’t crying, he’s using the episode to launch further broadsides.

    But yeah, Kerry’s not so good with the funny. He needs to put down the funny and step slowly away, before it goes off again and hurts somebody.

  12. John,

    I’m going to use as few big words as possible to help you get this.

    I can tell what Kerry meant (“Bush is dumb”). How he said it, from an English (the language, not the people) standpoint clearly should be read to mean something other (“the troops are stupid”) than (“Bush is dumb”) what he meant.

    If that’s too complicated for you, I’m sure I can get some crayons and draw you a picture, scan it and email it to your mighty military email address.

    Also, please quit being a dick. Thank you.

  13. Man am I dumb. I just figured out what he means when he says he was referring to Bush. The idea is that Bush is stuck in Iraq. I’ve been thinking this was a variation on the old stay-in-school-or-they’ll-draft-you platitude.

    So Kerry’s explanation makes some sense, though it still doesn’t sound plausible. I still think he was saying Stay In School Or They’ll Draft You.

  14. No other way to look at this: John Kerry is a jackass. It just strengthens my belief that every national elected office held by a Republican got that way not because the Republican won, but because the Democrat lost.

    Why, why, why, why!? Why does a party with plenty of talent and resources continue to vomit out candidates like…

    Walter Mondale
    Michael Dukakis
    Al Gore
    John Kerry
    Barack Obama (jesus!)

  15. I heard a caller on an AM radio talk show this morning say that the “you get stuck in Iraq” statement followed three un-funny jokes clearly aimed at Bush. Don’t know how accurate that assertion is, but if it’s true, it would support Kerry’s explanation of what he meant. (Either way, he should not be trying to tell jokes.)

    BTW — Goodbye, Tim, and may the road rise to greet you!

  16. Q: How would John Kerry screw up a one man parade?

    A: He’d march with the traffic before marching against it.

  17. thoreau,

    Absolutely hilarious! Now I can go off to work with a smile on my face. Thanks.

  18. jp,

    The joke immediately before “stuck in Iraq” was “I just came from Texas. George Bush used to live in the state of Texas. Now he lives in a state of denial.”

  19. To say the gaffe was a dig at Bush is to say you you don’t understand english. A paid writer like Julian Sanchez should be able to determine the meaning of a pretty straightforward comment. Especially considering Kerry’s long record of disdain for his fellow soldiers. As commander-in-Chief this guy would have presided over the steepest drop in morale in military history. Please stop insulting our intelligence and throw the guy overboard already.

  20. This is a fairly interesting timing; last week, we had Rush with his Fox gaffe, which he promptly apologized for (sort of). Rush’s comment got lots of play in the MSM. Kerry’s comment, which he hasn’t apologized for only seems to be causing a stir in the VRWC.

    Rocking Chair:
    I have some additions to your list:
    Phil Angelides
    Nancy Pelosi
    Cruz Bustamante
    Jerry Brown
    Grey Davis

  21. You know, I could sit with my friends – even the conservatives – talking about our kids and the value of education and anyone of us could make the same joke Kerry did and we would all understand what was meant.

    Yes Kerry is a dummass who doesn’t know when to shut up, it’s true.

    But he earned points with me this morning when he (allegedly – I haven’t been able to confirm it) called Bush & Co. “Right Wing nut-Jobs.” Hopefully, he’ll show some spunk and go on the attack. And hopefully, He won’t muck it up.

    Still, I don’t think it’ll have a whole lot of impact on this election as the races all local ones dominated by local issues and people.

    But I admit, when I first heard about Kerry’s gaffe, I had the same thought as the “unnamed “Democratic congressman.””

  22. “Especially considering Kerry’s long record of disdain for his fellow soldiers.”

    This is what it takes to read an insult to soldiers into Kerry’s words; a thirty year grudge over his opposition to Vietnam.

    It’s going to be a good day when we don’t have to see the world through the distorted lenses of the baby boomer culture wars.

  23. JF

    I am not going to lower myself into a name calling contest with you. Suffice it to say your first response to my legitimate question was about as smug and condescending as can be imagined. There are few things lower on the moral totum pole than smugness. If you don’t like being called that, stop being that way.

    As to your point, it seems to be that you can read Kerry’s mind by the context and therefore the sentence couldn’t mean what it plainly says. Plain meaning is plain meaning. Context can alter it, but it cannot alter it so completely as you claim it does with this statement. It simply makes no sense for Kerry to have said what he said when he was really talking about Bush. Your point really is just question begging.

  24. I have some additions to your list:
    Phil Angelides
    Nancy Pelosi
    Cruz Bustamante
    Jerry Brown
    Grey Davis

    Actually, as these names pile up, I gotta ask, where’s the plenty of talent and resources? (I kinda like Jerry Brown though. Dig Chris Bray’s pretty persuasive defense of governor/mayor Moonbeam.)

    A paid writer like Julian Sanchez should be able to determine the meaning

    Fond as I am of Julian, I don’t see where he fits in here.

  25. Kerry’s comments were politically stupid, but this is kind of how the GOP works. There are dozens of Dem Senators and hundreds of congresspersons all out speaking everyday, and they are dedicated to finding a gaffe and then shooting it through the right-wing media machine until the mainstream press has to pick it up too. If not Kerry then Murtha, Pelosi, Dean, etc., someone would have said something controversial and then they just insert it.
    Not that the Dems don’t try this too, but they just don’t have the media apparatus of the GOP (while many mainstream press outlets LEAN left they are not direct tools of the GOP like Fox, the Washington Times, NY Post, National Review, etc).
    On another point, is there any truth to what Kerry is being attacked for? One hears all the tie that the troops are disproportionately drawn from the lower class so I would have to geuss that they are less likely to have good grades, high test scores, etc.. I mean, if you could go to college rather than a war wouldn’t you (look at most GOP operateives for example, they voted with their feet if not their mouths during Nam).

  26. One hears all the tie that the troops are disproportionately drawn from the lower class so I would have to geuss that they are less likely to have good grades, high test scores, etc.

    I suppose the Tighty Righties have forgotten that in the past 2 years we’ve lowered ASVAB scores, lowered the educational and physical requirements and increased the age of enlistment from 35 to 42.

    As an army brat, I mean this with no disrespect toward anyone who serves – for any reason. But we are, in fact, accepting a lower standard into the military now.

    If you’re 40 years old and enlisting as a private (unless you’re really gung ho and leaving something much better for patriotic reasons) you probably haven’t got a lot on the ball in the first place.

  27. I never like the “Be All That You Can Be” recruiting campaign.

    It seemed to imply that the Army is for people who can’t be anything else – that an enlistedman in a rifle platoon is “all that” some people “can be.”

  28. I just went out to get coffee, and out of curiosity, I decided to flip on the local AM talk station. First thing I hear, “94% of armed forces members are high school graduates. 89% of citizens of this country are high school graduates. I don’t think the troops are stupid.” etc. Pretty hilarious. I imagine the same thing is going on all over the country. They are going to milk this all week, no doubt.

  29. John Kerry? Why are we discussing John Kerry? And why is he speaking in public? He should just find a cave, crawl in it, and join the Troupe To Stop Manbearpig.

    Even Kerry’s “controversies” are boring.

  30. I still think he was saying Stay In School Or They’ll Draft You.

    Me too.

    I suppose the Tighty Righties have forgotten that in the past 2 years we’ve lowered ASVAB scores, lowered the educational and physical requirements and increased the age of enlistment from 35 to 42.

    Don’t leave out the high re-enlistment rates, and don’t forget to overlook the fact that changes in physical requirements and age of enlistment don’t have much to do with educational qualifications.

    And whatever you do, please ignore the fact that the military taken as a whole has been, and continues to be, somewhat higher on a number of socioeconomic scales (including education) than its demographic counterpart in the general population.

  31. Even if you conclude that Kerry’s reference to getting “stuck in Iraq” due to inadequate education was entirely directed at GWB, it’s still misguided and inaccurate.

    Bush has an MBA from Harvard Business School… that’s pretty much the highest value education anyone can hope to get. A lot of people would happily spend a year in Iraq just to get into HBS.

    However… having a Harvard MBA doesn’t immunize against idiocy. Just ask Jeff Skilling.

  32. Right before the ’04 election, I recall telling a few co-workers that I wasn’t sure who I should vote for as I didn’t think either one – Bush or Kerry – was smart or qualified enough to hold the job. Two years later, it’s clear that I was right. They’re both idiots.

    I have a hypothesis (that I’m pretty sure that I’ve taken from somewhere else and possibly twisted in some fashion but can’t recall exactly from who or when) that says: “Anyone interested in running for President should automatically disqualified.” The man or woman who is most qualified is clearly smart enough to decline running. Too bad for us.

  33. Tim, Julian came out yesterday with his Bush joke bullshit in yesterday’s thread on this subject. He apparently isn’t having as tough a time as you are at understanding our language, wrongly, that is.

  34. I believe Kerry was aiming at Bush too. However, he’s not helped by the fact that there has been an undercurrent of “poor and unerpriveleged people have to join the military” from some of the people that oppose the war. It makes it a lot easier to think he was disparaging the troops.

  35. It’s going to be a good day when we don’t have to see the world through the distorted lenses of the baby boomer culture wars.

    Joe wins today’s Tortured Metaphor Award.

  36. Gah. “underprivileged.”

  37. Chill out, R.C.,

    The new (and improved) guidelines haven’t been in place long enough to show an effect on the issues you list.

    You’re just rustling feathers and ignoring the point. Quit being a wanker and go pick on someone else.

  38. Waaah! The Republicans are saying mean things about us. It’s hopeless, we’re going to lose.

    Stand up and fight back, you pansy!

    What joe said. But it looks like they’re already picking scapegoats.

  39. The joke immediately before “stuck in Iraq” was “I just came from Texas. George Bush used to live in the state of Texas. Now he lives in a state of denial.”

    Thanks, joe. Knowing that Kerry was speaking about Bush immediately before the controversial comment helps me understand why he thought his audience would get that he was still talking about Bush.

    But it seems he made a mistake that I’ve seen a bunch of folks do recently. And that’s to forget that when you’re a public figure speaking publicly, you have to consider what the rest of the world will think about what you’re saying, not just the folks immediately in front of you. Now, having to worry about such things is one of many reasons I don’t want to be a politician, but it kinda goes with the job.

    Also, I think even in context the joke only makes sense because of its parallel with the idea of soldiers in Iraq being the ones who didn’t study. Bush could be said to have done lots of dumb things. I think being “stuck in Iraq” had resonance because of the implied implication for soldiers.

    Not that any interpretation makes this story any more than a trifle for anyone but warring partisans. If conservatives didn’t want our soldiers to be insulted, they’d keep mum about this rather than trumpeting it.

  40. Huh. I had a comment, tried to preview, forgot to put in my cognomen and e-mail address, comment now vapor.

    Pro Libertate is not pleased!

  41. He isn’t crying, he’s using the episode to launch further broadsides.

    I take back “crying” but I’m afraid his “broadsides” are falling short too. He just hasn’t managed the zinger comeback that’ll get him off the hook.

    But yeah, Kerry’s not so good with the funny. He needs to put down the funny and step slowly away, before it goes off again and hurts somebody.

    That was my primary point.

    The fact is the Republicans will carry this thing as far as they can and their base will eat it up. There is nothing that Kerry or any other Dem can say to get around that.

    My observation is that only the most loyal core Democrats find Kerry relevent. As someone to move the swing voters and more particularly fringe Republicans (who are the Dems best chance for win) he is mostly useless.

  42. I really don’t care what he “meant” to say. I only know whay he actualy “did” say, and that for almost two days he like stood behind a open door and yelled epitets at people who “also” heard what he “did” say.

    Then when the pressure cooker was sure to burst he acted like a newspaper writer trying to cover a typo by hiding it on the back page rather than be up front and admit that he’d pissed people off. The fact is, I’d like to know what foorball coach would have a clip artist on his team who has cost as many penalty yards as Skerry has cost the Dimocrats.

    And BTW, where are Nancy Pelosi and Howard Deen of late? Why are they not out there making cute with all the campaigning Dimocrats? Does their absence tell us anything about their stock value as far as the campaigners see things? Or is everybody hedging their bets by keeping’em outta sight?

    Luv ya all

  43. John Kerry’s Gaffe/Freudian Slip/ The way he is

    My name is John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty. Apparently, that’s the line we should have bought into in ’04. And of course now Kerry says if you don’t go to college and you don’t try hard you’ll be sent to Iraq by none other than the man…you know his name, it rhymes with Push. We’re honestly supposed to believe in the patriotic spirit of a person who can’t be honest about his own beliefs. Truly, folks are trying to defend John Kerry’s gaffe by playing up his veteran status in saying that he has the same place in the history of the military as say; a John McCain. It was all a big joke and we should have known that, come on it’s obvious from his very well timed delivery. These people forget John Kerry said the following things he heard others say about what happened in the Vietnam war:

    “They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”

    Given his words and the truth of history, Vietnam was a bloody war that truly wasn’t won, and no one will deny that atrocities happen in warfare, but let’s put Kerry’s word’s into context. He wasn’t there to see these alleged atrocities, and yet society takes what was testified to by him to be gospel. We’re left to believe this unsubstantiated testimony to be ‘the way it was’ across the board because John Kerry told us it was so. He left the impression that troops consistently went a-raping, pillaging, and murdering; as this was the US policy at the time. Of course, Kerry was seen as a hero by the anti-war folks of the day and everything in the world was fine because we left Vietnam. Then George Bush took office.

    Now, fast forward to more recent times when foreign policy has changed and world politics aren’t even close to the 60’s, 70’s, or even the 80’s. We saw a new era where we as Americans were presented with different enemies than before. We realized that the cold war is over, and we won so we moved forward. The US took a hit that striked at the heart of our military infrastructure and our economy. Naturally, we struck back and all was well until we actually had to fight a ground war that is more than real for so many, except the likes of John Kerry and company. For them we’re not at war, we’re propagating a bloodbath. For so many the American soldier has turned from hero to storm-trooper and when you look at the history of rhetoric of JK&CO, they probably always perceived soldiers as such. Now, once again, John Kerry disparages the frontline grunts in the military as he said to Bob Schieffer:

    “And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, break sort of the customs of the – of – the historical customs, religious customs.”

    Fast-forward to today, and what are we to believe of this botched joke? Was it truly an ‘I hate Bush and you do too’ funny or a Freudian slip that’s part of a consistent pattern of anti-military rhetororic by the likes of the Republicans favorite senator. Or as they prefer to call him ‘The gift that keeps on giving’.

  44. I think Kerry was talking directly to students, and telling them that they need to study, and that the other alternative is to be drafted (or have to join the military). This is such an insult because he is downplaying the importance of serving in the military. He is relegating military service to a lower calling. It speaks to his upper-class background and his disdain for the common man (woman). It tells kids that the good life is found through a path of education (college) and that military life is to be avoided. It tells them that choosing the military is far worse than it is. So by this measure, if a student decides to join the military (after college) they are making a mistake. Very wrong and very poor statement. I have been to college, and have been in the military. I am a better person for having had both experiences.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.