Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kerry misfires

Safe mouth handling, like safe gun handling, means not firing off a comment before you've had a chance to really consider its implications.

The GOP is doing a devil dance of glee after John Kerry's remarks yesterday about how young people who lack education might end up in Iraq. Obviously he was saying that an education would provide more employment options to young people than just joining the military, it wasn't a shot at the intelligence of the troops. (Although, while there are some well-educated servicepeople, they're the exception.) Kerry's point was that for young people without an education, often their only employment option outside of flipping burgers is to enlist in the military. He wasn't insulting the troops, he was stating a fact. But it matters not, because what the GOP is pushing is that John Kerry, liberal elitist, called the troops a bunch of dummies.

Kerry's always been a little too loquacious for the folks in flyover country and the south. He sounds like what he is: a rich, Yale-educated northeasterner. And although his statement yesterday was true, it takes some depth of thought to understand the whole Orwellian concept of the poor being forced to fight wars for the rich. Students in California might get it, but Bubba and his fellow Nascar fans will have trouble grappling with the idea. It's so much easier just to hear it as a rich liberal slagging the troops. And there's good-ol'-boy Georgie with his simian smirk, telling them all about it in his idiotic down-home way, kind of the polar opposite of Kerry.

It's not clear if this little non-event will "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" for the democrats, but it isn't helpful. It's a gift for the GOP unless the audience they're playing to can overlook the supposed slight in favour of the more urgent question of why, regardless of intelligence, so many of them are coming home dead.