The Kerry brouhaha; a pep talk

I see the Kerry brouhaha is spinning out of control. It’s sort of dispiriting, isn’t it? A lawmaker — who’s not up for election, by the way — botches the punch line of a joke, then is flamed far and wide by friends and enemies alike, spurring an intense focus while other, legitimate targets — like the President who started the war and bungled it, then implies anyone who dissents is a traitor — are portrayed by the media as the moral bastions in this argument.

Incidentally, Kerry’s initial reaction to the criticism was spot-on:

“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy,” he said. “No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut-and-run policy in Afghanistan and a stand-still-and-lose strategy in Iraq.”[snip]

“I’m sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won’t take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes. I’m sick and tired of a whole bunch of Republican attacks most of which come from people who never wore the uniform and never had the courage to stand up and go to war themselves. Enough is enough. We’re not going to stand for this…. I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed-suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. No way. It disgusts me.”

It was an excellent turnaround — and quite accurate. The issue isn’t John Kerry. And Kerry also set up the best possible spin for fellow Democrats to follow. We’re seeing a whole lot of bluster from the people who actually created the real problems. Forget Kerry, let’s talk about the war.

You know the rest: Democrats threw Kerry under a bus. And I think Jerome Armstrong pretty much summed it up my feelings:

Game over. So much for showing strength in the face of attack. Once again, we are weak, divided, and groveling for forgiveness from the unforgiving Republican Noise Machine. The triangle is officially closed on this now. Well done, Democrats. My only remaining hope is that this story goes away quickly.

Seems like a lot of Democrats, faced with a roaring blather from the right fell back on the tired routine of the establishment Democrats by running away from a fight. I guess it’s understandable, considering there’s less than a week before the elections and the first impulse is to play things safe and listen to your Democratic consultant — who, by the way, has lost more elections than he’s won.

You can almost understand the reasoning, can’t you? Ask Kerry for an apology, because it makes you look like you care about the troops, which makes you look strong on defense (goes the theory), and if everyone agrees that Kerry should apologize, then it’ll blow over quickly. Right?

Of course, as usual, the reverse has happened, and now people are jumping over themselves to say mean things about Kerry, and suddenly that’s the focus of all the news in the country. H*ll, it’s even being featured on Charlie Rose tonight. Six days before the election, and John Kerry is the headline! Oops.

In the end, and as usual, I’m with Digby. The media — and Democratic candidates looking to keep their base motivated with their GOTV efforts — should be focusing on stories that symbolize the actual issues of the day. You know, perhaps they should be examining the leadership of the country and the execution of presidential duties during an armed conflict. Like, for example, the President’s decision to surrender control of U.S. troops to a foreign leader and leave a man behind, in the hands of insurgents:

How very convenient for the administration that the press is concentrating on irrelevancies when a story like this breaks, eh?The Maliki government is playing Bush for the cowardly loser he is, apparently threatening him with more bad headlines, so the Americans backed off and left a soldier behind.

But look no further, citizens. John Kerry blew a punchline and that requires a full-on media frenzy. Nothing is more fun and exciting to the kewl kidz than going after a simple meaningless anti-Democrat story that pleases the GOP establishment. Everybody wins. Except the American people, of course. Or that abandoned soldier in Iraq.

So it’s not too late to actually make some good noise about this whole brouhaha, and to expose the weaknesses of the ruling party and its leadership. In fact, I urge the Democrats to seize the high ground here. You do have the truth on your side. Use it.

As for my hopeful brethren who wish to make real change in the country and are fighting to win back government from big money and the tepid, and who were understandably disgusted by your candidates’ reaction to the controversy, take heart. This is a small step backward. Remember, we’re building a movement. We weren’t even supposed to be in the position of threatening to take over both houses of Congress this year. We’re working long term, and we still need to pry the old, hesitant habits from the party.

It’s a learning process. And we’re still a helluva lot better off than we were, say, six months ago. Our candidates aren’t perfect, and they won’t always say the things we want them to. And they’ll make mistakes. So don’t lose faith, because it’s you we depend on, not just the candidates. So let’s keep this thing going.

Update: Kos has an excellent post up on this issue. Read it.

Posted by touchstone

  1. Ed Kemmick

    I think Kerry’s only mistake was calling it a botched joke. Even without that one word — “us” — it’s perfectly obvious he was referring to Bush. Obvious, that is, unless you’re determined to twist his words for political gain. Thank God that would never happen.

  2. Net5

    “My hopeful brethren…”

    What a nutcase. You sound like Alex in “A Clockwork Orange.”

  3. Hey, that’s cool. Go after my vocabulary. Better yet, my mental stability! I’m beginning to see a pattern from conservatives…you guys are losing it, aren’t you?

  4. I’m still stuck on 655,000. Pesky number that is – it’s 4.67 dead Iraqi’s for every “hero” we sent over there, 225 dead Iraqis for every dead American – a number that dwarfs even our efforts in Vietnam, where the ratio was more like 60. Must be our advancing technology!

    The Democrats concentrated on putting “war heroes”up where real candidates would have been useful, so now we know that no matter the outcome of the election, we’re stuck in Iraq. It’s more than just Kerry that leads the parade of wimps – it’s the entire Democratic leadership. They are unable to voice opposition to the war becuase they support the war, even as 70-80% of Democrats oppose it. The Democrats have done what they’ve always done – take the spirit of a movement and squelch it. And there’s no squelcher of human energy more effective than John Kerry.

    $5.00 is still on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,693,484 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,734 other subscribers
  • November 2006
    S M T W T F S
  • Categories

%d bloggers like this: