Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Paranoid Fantasies

Like Kevin Drum, I am loathe to comment on the whole John Kerry flap. Kerry's apologized...again, and there really wasn't any story here in the first place. It's self-evidently obvious that Kerry meant his comment as an attack on the Bush administration (that they, because they didn't concentrate on their studies, got us stuck in Iraq), which not only is a plausible reading of the text as is, but is verified by common sense and the original copy of the speech.

But the real reason I'm not commenting is because it's impossible to respond to the conservative argument here. I was on my political radio show, and it was quite clear. They genuinely, truly believe that Kerry--reflecting what they imagine is a common liberal belief--really disrespects the troops and finally let it slide in a moment of political weakness. The fact that Kerry is a vet? Irrelevant. The text of his actual speech which shows verifies his stated intended argument? Immaterial. The recognition that insulting the troops is political suicide for any politician any time, any where? Unconvincing. They've got a paranoid fantasy about what Democrats believe, and they'll stick to it through hell or high water.

There's nothing more I can say other than that they're wrong. And if they weren't so committed to their visions of the evil scary liberal demon, they might get that.


Disenchanted Dave said...

Having recently encountered similar denseness in the comments section of this very blog, I can relate.

Kerry was unclear, but it's hard to believe that he actually looks down on the troops.

Maybe I was unclear, but I find it hard to believe that anyone (even Mark Steyn) would say it's a good thing that 70 people were killed in order to secure a "nice bounty" for a warlord, an "improve[d] relationship" between warlords and the military, and higher profits for military contractors. I mean, there are people that really want to kill Afghanis, but they typically provide "better" reasons than those...

Superdestroyer said...

There is no way that the original quote can be interpreted as aimed at the current administration. Senator Kerry used the pronoun, "you" nine times while addressing a group of junior college students. No one can reasonably believed the last "you" referred to President Bush, when the first eight "you's" refer to the audience.

Also, Senator Kerry's people spun the story five times before the story died.

In the first few hours, the argument was that Kerry was correct and that only people with no other economic prospects joint the military. The unstated argument being that they are poor, uneducated, and did not “know better.” The same arguments have been made repeatedly by the left side of the American political spectrum. Just looked at all of the anti military recruiting websites. That initial justification caused the controversy to increase.

The second spin was that Senator Kerry left out one word, "us" and with that one word, meant to refer to President Bush. However, no where in the "joke" were there any nouns to which the pronouns could refer.

The third spin was to say that the controversy was a Republican straw man and that Senator Kerry had nothing to apologize before because the controversy was all the fault of the Republicans. That was the point of the press conference. That response was aimed at the Democratic base but failed to work. A reporter gave Senator Kerry the chance to apologize for any mistaken reference to US service members but Senator Kerry refused.

The fourth spin was to release a "text" of the speech that shows how the "joke" was meant to be aimed at the current administration. However, that spin showed how much more Senator Kerry mangled the "joke" that was claimed in a previous reponse. Most was missing than just one word. It also showed what a tin ear that Senator Kerry has when Senator Kerry failed to recognize that the joke did not work and he had grossly misstated it.

And finally you have the written apology to military service members. Of course this "apology" only came after the release of a picture of US soldiers in Iraq using a hand made banner to mock Senator Kerry. The picture became a big internet favorite. Of course I read one liberal website who could not resist making the argument that the soldiers made the sign because they did not know the full story and “did not know better.”

I liked Jeff Greenfield's idea that it was a Freudian slip on the part of Senator Kerry. I don't believe that he dislikes the military as much as he really dislikes blue collar and middle America. Senator Kerry's disdain for the middle class has nothing to do with his being a veteran but does not a lot to do with his upbringing, his political beliefs, and his social circles. Mr. Schraub, you grew up in a part of Maryland that has no blue collar and very few middle class whites. I bet you grew up in a place where “Rednecks” where repeatly mocked and held in contempt. Senator Kerry runs in the same and higher circles.

PS, I do not believe that mocking the troops is political suicide for many on the left. There have been many protests and actions take by the extreme left that were meant to denigrate and insult US service members. Just look at any protest held by ANSWER.

David said...

Sen. Kerry had certainly said lots of nasty things about soldiers in the past (c.f. the testimony he gave to the Senate), and that was well after his service in Vietnam had ended. He has not had a tremendous number of positive things to say about the US military since then either, and has generally been dovish on foreign policy.

Given that history, I find the idea that he would have said something glib which would be nasty toward the US military quite credible. Whether or not he intended to say that is another matter, and he has said he didn't.

Ok, but I'll say this: I'm completely thrilled that he lost in 2004, and hopefully this torpedoed his desire to run again in 2008.

Anonymous said...

superdestroyer, Yes the original "joke/quote" can be interpreted as a shot at GWB . You just don't want to hear/see it that way.
Should the President then apologize to the troops for his "mission accomplished" photo op?
How about Cheney apologizing to them for his "last throes" comment or his "greeted w/ roses/flowers/hugs" comment?
How about Rummy for "you go to war w/ the army you have, not the army you want?"
If anyone, and I mean anyone has disdain for the middle and lower class, its the current crop in the white house. Cheney is loaded, and GWB hasn't had a real job in his life.

Spin, you want to talk spin, how about Cheney's "It's a no brainer for me" when referring to water boarding? Snow then tries to spin out of that, and did poorly.
Or the spin of what the war is really about? Saddam is a bad fighting them over there instead of here....
Or how about "stay the course"? Spinmeisters..we never said stay the course!..oh wait the tape shows that we did.
It was downright idiotic of Kerry to say, no doubt about it. But don't sit there and tell me our dear leaders haven't done the same.
Question, how many lives has Kerry's joke cost the US?
Now how many lives has it cost the US w/ the failed policy put out by GWB, Rummy, and Cheney?

He was speaking to college students at a rally for Angelides, he should have talked about getting involved locally which turns into global involvement. It was Cali for pete sakes, he didn't need to drone on about the war, we know most there probably don't support it anyways. Talk about what your audience needs to hear, not about what you want to say.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhh. I have always wondered why people despised Kerry so much. Now I see: It is class envy. The man is a veteran. He volunteered to fight in Vietnam. He served admirably. He did not dodge the draft like the president and vice president (and pretty much everyone else in the administration).

He does not "hold the troops in contempt". He holds them in the highest of esteem. He does not think they are a bunch of cannon fodder to throw at the enemy during a little game of "git the A-rabs". He actually takes war seriously.

Thank you, to the two previous posters for enlightening me on what your major malfunction is. Now I know that it is not Kerry that pisses you off, it is not his "contempt for the soldiers" because he IS A SOLDIER. It is because he is rich. He is rich, cultured, bright, and yet he still did what your chimp cowboy would not do: He served with honor. That is enough to piss any beergutted GOP armchair warrior off.

Anonymous said...

To Lisa,

B-I-N-G-O !!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much this controversy really matters as tt seems like those who choose the negative interpretation didn't care much for the senator in the first place.

Superdestroyer said...


Senator Kerry was not a "soldier." He was a sailor because he served in the Navy. Soldiers serve in the Army. Since you did not know that, it shows how little you actually know about the military. Before you call anyone an armchair warrior, I suggest you learn more about the military.

Also, none of the compliants about Kerry are about his being a veteran. Look at the mocking banner that members of the Minnesota National Guard who are currently in Iraq at Talil Air Base. They are veterans, they are serving in the military, and they think Kerry is a classist snob who looks down on their blue collar and middle class backgrounds .

Remember, Senator Kerry, during the 2004 election was for free tuition for all high school graduates. It is obvious that Senator Kerry is against an all voluntary military and that Senator Kerry, as shown through his actions, believes that any one who volunteers for the military is a loser.