Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In which, for some strange reason, I try to bail out Senator Kerry's rapidly sinking swift-boat

The leading story today concerns a remark of Senator Kerry's that went like this:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
Conservatives, such as Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewett and the President have spent the day expressing understandable outrage over the apparent meaning of the remark: that the U.S. Military is made up of slackers and ne'er-do-wells who had nowhere else to go. If we were discussing a print remark, this reading of what Kerry said would be inescapable.

However, I think it is important to recall that Kerry has a history of blurting out his thoughts before coming up with effective or even competent words in which to clothe them.

Consider, for instance, his famous "I was for it before I was against it" remark. If only he had said something such as "It seemed like a good idea to me also when the circumstances were such and such." Voila! No famously cloddish remark.

Consider also his remark about killing the "real bird" at Pennsylvania Avenue. Notice there that in the "set up," campaigning for president in a certain place was referred to as killing a bird. So killing the "real bird" would be attaining the goal of the campaigning immediately and going straight to the oval office and assuming the office of president. Quite a convoluted thought-process to try to summarize in the words "kill the real bird," but there you are: where on-the-spot eloquence is concerned, Kerry's boat just isn't as swift as he wants it to be.

So what did Kerry mean by his "stuck in Iraq" remark? I have given it a great deal of thought, and the meaning seems to be this: "If you don't [work hard in school, you will do something in the realm of career-seeking that is analogous to the bad presidential decision of starting the Iraq war and becoming, figuratively speaking] stuck in Iraq." Again, convoluted and rhetorically hopeless, but that's Kerry for you. While Kerry does move in social circles where people express thoughts such as the one attributed to him, and while most of his political career has had an anti-military thrust, and while it was a thoughtlessly blurted-out remark in any case--it does seem to run completely counter the image he has been trying to construct all this time of “John Kerry reporting for duty.” It just seems unlikely that he would take leave so completely of his political senses and take a nasty swipe at the very same G.I. Every-Joe he has been impersonating.

So: While I would not recommend anything so rash as voting for the man for public office, I think we can cut him some slack on his latest remark and accept his explanation that it was a spectacularly botched quip at the President's expense. After all, Conservatism and Republicanism stand for nothing, if not for magnanimity.

Reader Comments:

"Figuratively speaking"... i.e. John Kerry needs Maimonidean apologetics.
Sholom | Homepage | 11.01.06 - 3:20 pm | #

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