Hillary Clinton

John Kerry: A Look Back in Laughter

|

On planet Earth, the John Kerry joke story ended yesterday. On the blogs, outrage is still churning. But it's a secondhand, Pavlovian outrage—grumbling about how Kerry insulted the troops 34 years ago, grumbling about how he's, like, so boring, man. It's like the anti-Democrat blogosphere uncovered an acid hit under the aspirin bottle, and it's shocked them into a 2004 battle flashback. Says Roy Edroso:

Were I of a cynical turn of mind, I might suspect that this was the idea all along. Now Kerry, who is not running for office, has become the heat sink that draws all the savage denunciations ("a man who remembers everything and learns nothing," "Mister Nuance," "forlorn loser," etc) that might otherwise be expended upon those who are.

In fact, I don't know why I bother to provide post-specific links, as the folks at The Corner and other such blather outlets will be hammering this into the next decade. Remember, the blogosphere thing is just a bubble, and its skin, like that of the paramecium, is only semi-permeable: news may enter, but outrage mostly stays inside, which is of course the secret of both the blogosphere's growth and its ineffectuality: it swells without discharging.

That's true, but there's more than that. The blogs had actually played an active role in demolishing Kerry back in 2004; they did some of their own digging into his record, they marshalled their own experts during the CBS scandal. But this kerfuffle was completely media- and party-driven; it shook down like it could have 10 or 12 years ago. A news camera captured Kerry's original stumble, then a Fox News reporter asked Tony Snow about it at the Tuesday press briefing. Snow had gathered some past embarrassing Kerry quotes to feed the story; his attack on Kerry was the news until Kerry's own, original non-apology. That was followed by the White House including an anti-Kerry line in a Bush stump speech, which it previewed for the media Tuesday afternoon. The networks broke in to cover Bush's remarks; newswires ran the story on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. By the time Democrats like Hillary Clinton were prodding Kerry to apologize, the blogs hadn't contributed anything to the story.

What could they have contributed? Well, why didn't any blogs start new anti-Kerry pages, or edit together video parodies/ads and put them on YouTube? Where were the audio edits? It took around 15 seconds for the Howard Dean scream to inspire the first audio edits, so it's not like bloggers had never taken a political gaffe and run with it. The only non-media intervention in the story was the hilarious "Halp us John Carry" sign created by soldiers in Iraq, published first at the Drudge report, and then hyped by blogs.

Maybe someone can point to the examples I'm missing, but it seems like the (political) blogs are continuing their evolution into dull extensions of the two parties.

Advertisement

NEXT: That's Cold

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. This entire post is about how conservative politicians, conservative blogs, and conservative media outlets worked together in a coordinated effort. No references to any liberal blogs are provided whatsoever.

    And then you end with a broad statement about both parties. You’ve made a pretty good case about conservative internet outlets being extensions of the GOP, but I don’t see how you can draw any conclusion at all about liberal blogs.

  2. What does it mean that my IP address “must be visible”? Have I been blocked?

  3. And then you end with a broad statement about both parties. You’ve made a pretty good case about conservative internet outlets being extensions of the GOP, but I don’t see how you can draw any conclusion at all about liberal blogs.

    Kos and Lamont?

  4. “news may enter, but outrage mostly stays inside, which is of course the secret of both the blogosphere’s growth and its ineffectuality: it swells without discharging.”

    Oh please. I turned on MSNBC at the gym yesterday afternoon, and there were 3 pukes on Scarborough blathering like mad (including Pat Buchanan) about how this is a huge slap in the face to the military and how it’s going to swing all kinds of midterm elections to the publicans. I turn on NPR this morning, guess what they’re talking about? John Kerry’s joke.

    Stays inside? Please.

  5. Chris O,

    Ned Lamont is an insurgent challenger to a longtime Democratic stalwart, who had the support of almost all of the sitting Democrats when the Kossacks got behind him.

    Howard Dean would have been a better choice, but still would have made my point. He was an insurgent candidate in the 2004 primaries, who was roundly denounced by the Democratic establishment. His appointment as DNC Chair was roundly criticized by the Washington Democratic establishment, as were his 50 state campaign and his direct denunciations of George Bush.

    The the insurgents are winning does make them the establishment.

    Yet.

  6. I selfishly hope that Weigel is right, because it makes us libertarian bloggers look good by comparison.

  7. it swells without discharging

    Many thanks for implanting that image in my head.

  8. That joke by the troops wasn’t even funny, let alone hilarious. It was such an obvious gag, and worse still because Kerry wasn’t insulting their intelligence. Perhaps they doth protesteth too much?

  9. Gawdamn lighten up, emerson.

  10. emerson | November 2, 2006, 11:24am | #

    That joke by the troops wasn’t even funny, let alone hilarious. It was such an obvious gag, and worse still because Kerry wasn’t insulting their intelligence. Perhaps they doth protesteth too much?

    So Kerry wasn’t insulting their intelligence, but you are? I’m not sure you are helping his cause here.

  11. emerson,

    The joke by those soldiers was funny.

    It wasn’t fair, but it was definitely funny.

  12. Does this officially kill off Kerry’s 2008 run?

  13. I’m tired of the John Kerry nonsense already, he just needs to go away. I honestly don’t think that there’s anyone that believes that he intended to insult the troops, simply because although he may not be the smartest, he is a politician and would know that a joke like that would not play well with the country. Even those who claim that his comments were directed at the troops know this but they’ll keep using it against him because it gets people all riled up. Hell, if I were them, I might even do the same thing.

  14. It wasn’t fair, but it was definitely funny.
    Well I wonder if it was fair or funny to note that Flipper and Bush went to the same school at about the same time; completed nearly the same course work and still dumb ole Bush got better grades.
    Must have been Bush’s family connections…or maybe flipper is as dumb as a box of hammers. Could be both but still no one in the media seems to mention their respective transcripts.

  15. I’m tired of the John Kerry nonsense already, he just needs to go away.

    Why should HE go away, and not those who are knowingly misinterpreting his words and intent? I am no Kerry fan, but he certainly would have been a much better President than Bush. I think hindsight’s better than 20/20 on that one. Even if Kerry had purposefully unleashed a whole series of vicious anti-military diatribes this week, insulting the troops is better than sending them to their deaths needlessly, wouldn’t ya say?

  16. “Why should HE go away, and not those who are knowingly misinterpreting his words and intent?”

    Ethan, I wish those would go away too but that’s not very likely. Kerry laying low for the time being is the only thing that that may shift attention back to the actual issues that are at stake in this election. As long as he hangs around, “he insulted the troops” is the only thing the Republicans are ever gonna talk about.

  17. That soccer pic of Kerry is too much…why oh why do politicians put themselves in pictures doing things that they look so uncomfortable and out of place doing?

  18. This just proves we need politicians who can actually tell a joke. Al Gore, for instance.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.