when he flubbed a joke directed at President Bush. Study hard and stay in college or you'll end up "stuck in Iraq" he told students at Pasadena City College.
It is unclear if Kerry's statement has led to increased casualties in Iraq but the administration's response was so swift you'd think Kerry had sent the troops to Iraq with inadequate body armor.
"Senator Kerry not only owes an apology to those who are serving, but also to the families of those who’ve given their lives in this,” White House press secretary Tony Snow said. “This is an absolute insult.”
Kerry pulled a Nolan Ryan, met the charge, and bashed Snow's face in.
"This is the classic GOP playbook,” Kerry said in a harshly worded statement. “I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did. I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium.”
Kerry suddenly felt better than he had in years. "He really needed to get that off my chest," an aide reported. But Republicans were quick to point out the sensitive nature of our marines.
"Our soldiers need John Kerry's support, yet John Kerry offers nothing more than disparaging commentary," said House Majority Leader John Boehner.
This hits on an important topic. Discouragement of any type of criticism on how the war is being executed is pedestrian at this point. We are reminded almost daily that the troops need our support and many of us have responded with ribbons on the back of their cars, and flags on the 4th of July. The White House says our troops need not only this but also absolutely no sign of uncertainty as we commit more money and more lives in Iraq. While there seems to be no correlation between war criticism and US casualties rates in Iraq the previous 2,816 deaths have all been absolutely linked to the flawed decision to invade Iraq in the first place. And that is, ironically, the very thing we are not allowed to even think about. Kerry's comedic timing might suck, but he refuses to apologize because the greater evil was perpetrated three years ago, and has been since effectively been perpetuated.
But how much political damage has been done by Kerry's remarks?
"He has already cost us one election. The guy just needs to keep his mouth shut until after the election," a top Democratic strategist said Tuesday.
This certainly seems like a badly needed opportunity for the Republicans to wrap themselves again in nationalism and question the Democrat's commitment to "win" in Iraq. It's certainly a chance for someone to defend the troops honor, which the President did today by calling them "plenty smart." Yes, even his compliments are built from ruins of poor grammar. But, as in all things for the last six years, it's the spirit that counts, right?
Kerry's statement is the most recent in a string of emboldened Democratic attacks.
Jim Webb, who now leads in Virginia, easily fended off negative comments by faltering incumbent George Allen. Allen read some sexual passages from a book Webb wrote. Webb pointed out that was nothing compared to the raunchy lesbian sex in Lynn Cheney's book Sisters.
President Bush has been out stumping but his poll numbers have actually fallen. Bush has become the star of numerous Democratic campaign adds since it was discovered that very few Americans like or trust the President.
Republicans are trying desperately to find a foothold as the mountain comes down around them. They carefully painted these elections around two issues: taxes and terrorism. Now that both are blown they've raised an old specter to aid them--gay marriage.
"For decades, activist judges have tried to redefine America by court order," Bush said Monday. "Just this last week in New Jersey, another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and should be defended."
Man, first desegregation and now this?
Republican strategy over the last week can be summed up as such: The infamous "plan" to keep America safe is now on hiatus for re-tooling. And, on Halloween, they're up to their old tricks trying to convince people that their sacred marriage is under attack by gays, lesbians, and activist judges...oh my! Uh, let me clue you: your marriage is falling apart because you suck at being a husband or a wife. OK? Get over it.
The Democrats have clearly learned though. They too have found a marginalized group and pinned the fears of a nation on them. Yes, they've got the Republicans against the ropes with a week left before the elections. It almost doesn't even seem fair, a guy like Kerry tossing Snow out of the ring like that. But it is incredibly fun to watch.