Kerry Fumbles Iraq Comment

John Kerry flubbed a live statement on Iraq. Here's the video.

What Kerry meant to say:

"I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just Ask President Bush." - Senator John Kerry.

What Kerry said:

If you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well, if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.

Here's Kerry's official statement castigating those who are castigating him.

Of all people it would be wrong to accuse of not supporting the troops, John Kerry is at the top of the list. It's a side issue people, a distraction, let's move on.

Republicans and their supporters will jump at anything this last week to mitigate their upcoming losses. Balloon Juice explains how it works.

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    So... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by roy on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 03:50:43 PM EST
    He's saying if you don't do good in school, you'll become President?

    GW Was no Student (1.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 03:59:48 PM EST
    George Bush didn't do too well in school.

    I got a C in Orientation, can I be a senator? (1.00 / 1) (#9)
    by roy on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 04:12:30 PM EST
    I know Dubya was mediocre, I just think it's funny that Kerry intended to send such a weird message.

    Study hard, or else... you'll become the leader of the free world.

    I hope Kerry runs in '08, I miss his screw-ups.


    Better grades (2.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 05:01:37 PM EST
    Did Bush have better grades?

    I think he did...


    You're a Republican right? (1.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 04:19:31 PM EST
    Then you are overqualified.

    Nope (3.00 / 1) (#14)
    by roy on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 04:33:18 PM EST
    Independent.  Glad to support the GOP when I think they're right, glad to support the DNC under the same conditions.

    Y'know, not everyone who says something you don't like is a Republican or on the "other side" in your partisan war.


    So...Proof the remark is wrong (1.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Patrick on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 04:15:50 PM EST
    Is that Kerry's excuse too?  Or is just more proof that Kerry doesn't know what he was talking about.  

    I like John Cole's take (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 03:56:37 PM EST
    Balloon Juice:

    See- you just have to vote Republican now:

        John Kerry said what?!

        By Michelle Malkin · October 31, 2006 12:32 AM

        **10/31 7:35am updated with more reax below...

        ...909am update San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Pasadena Star News reports on the Angelides campaign event at Pasadena City College where Kerry trashed the troops..."Kerry then told the students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," he said to a mixture of laughter and gasps."**

    A general rule of thumb regarding controversies like this is to count how many posts Michelle Malkin has about the issue, and to note that there is a positive correlation to how trivial the matter is and how many posts she has about it. At my last count, she had four on her site, two on her spin-off site Hot Air (who I still think ripped their name off from me). That would tell me that this issue would be somewhere between Cindy Sheehan and crescent-shaped 9/11 memorials and Terri Schaivo in importance, but the possibility is there for a new record.

    Predictably, lamentably, the right-wing blogosphere is grievously insulted and has put the grass-roots outrage machine in high gear. Expect record levels of umbrage from all corners.

    I wish Kerry had not made the remark (even though he was trying to insult the President and not the troops), but I do find it a little amusing that the people who are `upset' about this remark managed (if my memory is correct) to remain completely silent about this:

    I am sure we all remember the Bush supporters wearing fake purple heart stickers at the 2004 RNC to mock Kerry's service. Additionally, I note that Malkin and company have not yet moved to condemn the treatment Vietnam war hero Jim Webb is getting at the hands of Red State, where he has been compared to John Mark Karr and today called a pervert.

    Yep, one misstatement by Kerry = all of bush's (3.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Sailor on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 04:44:13 PM EST
    For all those who say Bush is a moron let us now put to rest the idea that Kerry is smarter then the president.
    Here's bush and here's Kerry:
    My statement yesterday -- and the White House knows this full well -- was a botched joke about the president and the president's people, not about the troops. The White House's attempt to distort my true statement is a remarkable testament to their abject failure in making America safe. It's a stunning statement about their willingness to reduce anything America, the raw politics. It's their willingness to distort, their willingness to mislead Americans, their willingness to exploit the troops as they have so many times at backdrops, at so many speeches in which they have not told the American people the truth.

    I'm not going to stand for it. What our troops deserve is a winning strategy, and what they deserve is leadership that is up to the sacrifice that they're making. Sadly, this is the best that this administration can do in a month when we have lost 100 young men and women who have given their lives for a failed policy. Over half the names on the Vietnam wall were put there after our leaders knew that our policy was wrong, and it was wrong that leaders were quiet then, and I'm not going to be quiet now. This is a textbook Republican campaign strategy: try to change the topic, try to make someone else the issue, try to make something else said the issue, not the policy, not their responsibility.

    Kerry's misspoken joke isn't the issue, but rethugs who have trashed the economy, persist in an illegal war and can't find OBL is.

    Kerry's supposed "gaffe"? (3.00 / 1) (#23)
    by oldtree on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:36:07 PM EST
    it seems pretty clear now he was referring to the chimp.  Is that the fact?

    What ever (2.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Patrick on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 03:41:19 PM EST
    I guess he said it before he didn't say.  

    This is so not a story anyway, but now it might get some attention.  

    Telegenic nitwit (2.00 / 1) (#13)
    by jaf on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 04:29:50 PM EST
    I have trouble now remembering why I supported (and contributed 3X to) John Kerry. He is a stiff. When everyone who was paying attention saw that '04 would be decided in Ohio, Kerry couldn't be bothered to send extra poll watchers in to assure an honest count. When the Swiftbags slimed him, he tried to ignore them and was perceived to be weak and ineffectual. And rather than putting everything into the campaign, he held on to $8M, FOR WHAT?????

    Just stupid (1.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Slado on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 03:44:50 PM EST
    For all those who say Bush is a moron let us now put to rest the idea that Kerry is smarter then the president.

    Like all things if he just says it was a mistake and then ignores the firestorm it will go away.

    Instead he will issue silly partisan responses and this will take on a life of it's own.

    Nobody misquoted him.  Why shouldn't republicans get mad about this?

    Save the comments that what he says is true etc... and admit that this was a major screw-up and the words can't be taken back.  

    Time for "smart" damage control.

    Re (1.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 03:45:52 PM EST
      Come off it. He meant exactly what he said. Study and you can have a good career or goof off and you'll be one of the unfortunates for whom the military is the only way to get out.

      Rather than telling absurd lies why not defend what he said as while perhaps not being the most politic thing to say as containing more than a kernel of truth.

      It only  compounds any problem caused by the original statement to tell woefully transparent lies about what he meant.  I'd much prefer someone who has the guts to stand by an unpopular truth than a mealy-mouthed politician who lies to me when he realizes some  take offense.


    Could be (1.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 03:58:12 PM EST
    In which case, Kerry is truly an idiot.

    But the case might be as Jeralyn describes.

    In which case, Kerry proves himself a fairly inept politician again.

    In either case, who cares?


    Who cares? Millions (2.00 / 1) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 05:00:32 PM EST
    Who cares?

    How about all those military people who did study, who did work hard and who did join up to defend the country.

    You know Big Tent, you don't even understand that some people think it important. So important they will die for it.

    That is who cares and the millions like them who know that Kerry was calling them stupid for doing what they do.


    Like you give a crap about the victims (none / 0) (#24)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:53:59 PM EST
    How about all those military people who did study, who did work hard and who did join up to defend the country.

    Indeed, how about 'em? Let's take a look:
    If they are killed, their remains will be snuck back home under cover of darkness, to be given a free funeral only if their families agree to have some Pentagon propaganda emblazoned on their tombstones. If they survive they will see veterans benefits cut again and again by the same weasels that tell us to support the troops.

    In short, they are getting royally screwed by you and the rest of the Republican Party.


    The payoff (1.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 03:51:01 PM EST

    Don't you wonder what Rove had to pay Kerry for that?

    In response to Decon, folks in the military are better educated than their age cohort.  BTW, same is true for Vietnam vets.

    Yes (1.00 / 1) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 06:47:25 PM EST
    I'm not sure about Vietnam era, but that is definitely true about present day military folks.

    No matter what he said damn if he ain't right. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Lww on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 05:08:55 PM EST
    He's a stiff and a fraud, who lives in a cocoon of hundreds of millions of dollars, yet he tells the truth.

    From his initial statement to his defense of his remarks he was telling the truth, they were both true.

    Is anyone in here gonna deny that alot of people who go into the military and die in Iraq are victims of missed opportunities or a lack of money to pursue a college education?

    Is anyone in here gonna deny that Iraq is the cluster&uck of the new century and Bush and his cohorts are responsible?

    nailed it (2.00 / 1) (#21)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:07:53 PM EST
    Couldn't agree more lww.

    Kerry blew it again...he should stand by the statement.  If you're from limited means, get good enough grades to get a scholarship, lest you join the military for college funds and have your service misused and abused by a crooked govt. and end up dead or maimed.


    So he should stand by the statement? (none / 0) (#30)
    by Slado on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 09:43:19 AM EST
    So LWW and Kdog your position is that Kerry was correct when he didn't say what he said?

    You theory doesn't account for the fact that many use the military to attend college.  Unless you are talking about Harvard or a host of Ivy League schools who discourage military recruitment and ROTC programs.

    At my alma mater Vanderbilt Universtiy the ROTC program allowed several of my classmates not only to attend the university for free but military experience allowed them to get better jobs after their military service, attend graduate school on and on...

    That some in the Military don't attend college is obvious.   That some use it as a tool to improve their lives because they can't afford or don't qualify for college is also obvious but that is only part of the equation and your comments only show to me that you either don't respect the military or you don't understand the people that "choose" to join it.

    But you support the troops right?


    No he's not right. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 09:56:52 AM EST
    The research has been around for years showing that military recruits are, on average, better educated and wealthier than the average civilian. The idea that recruits are poor, dumb dupes ("sent to war by their chickenhawk parents," no less) is demonstrably false.
    For example, it is commonly claimed that the military relies on recruits from poorer neighborhoods because the wealthy will not risk death in war. This claim has been advanced without any rigorous evidence. Our review of Pen­tagon enlistee data shows that the only group that is lowering its participation in the military is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005.


    In summary, the additional years of recruit data (2004-2005) sup­port the previous finding that U.S. military recruits are more similar than dissimilar to the American youth population. The slight dif­ferences are that wartime U.S. mil­itary enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and more rural on aver­age than their civilian peers.

    Recruits have a higher percent­age of high school graduates and representation from Southern and rural areas. No evidence indicates exploitation of racial minorities (either by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). Finally, the distri­bution of household income of recruits is noticeably higher than that of the entire youth population.

    Hey Daaark Avengier (none / 0) (#22)
    by Lww on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:20:57 PM EST
    Who do you think you're talkin to?

    Are anyone in here going to deny that Irag is the cluster&uck of the new century and Bush and his cohorts are responsible?

    I'd rather be a grammatical idiot than a political one.

    Boy (none / 0) (#26)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 01:03:25 AM EST
    The spooge must be a foot deep over at the RNC.

    Kerry's gaffe (none / 0) (#27)
    by Richard Aubrey on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 06:54:43 AM EST
    Kerry slimed two million soldiers in his bogus Winter Soldier stuff in the early Seventies.  If he had not done that, this current issue would not look like a pattern.
    He earlier tossed off a comment about US soldiers terrorizing Iraqi families for no reason.
    Again, even if this was merely a botched reference to Bush, the suspicion of a pattern exists.  If the earlier comments did not exist, this would have less impact.

    Frank Schaeffer and John Schaeffer, father and son, wrote a book called "Keeping Faith", about the latter's enlistment in the Marines.
    One surprising thing comes from the book, IMO.  That is, Frank is a writer.  Of fiction.  He's supposed to know about people--isn't he?--or to be able to understand and put himself in others' shoes so as to write believably.  But he had, as he says, no clue about the people whose kids served. None at all.  He was from the excessively-educated, tree-hugging, Volvo-driving well-off microdemographic, as he says. He, whose job required knowing about people, unless his recurring plot was a middle-aged writer having writer's block, knew squat about a large number of his fellow citizens.
    What was not surprising was that his precious friends acted and spoke exactly as Kerry is being understood to have spoken and thought.
    There are people who think like that, may they rot, and that's another reason Kerry is being understood to have slimed the troops again.  He's not the first.  There's plenty of precedent.

    Anyway, I did some work for a family recently where hubby is a cement laborer. He'll make $55,000 this year, and the wife works for the DMV.  Between them, they'll gross about $90k.  The cost of living isn't that high where they live--flyover country--so that's pretty good.  No college.
    The Maytag guy, should anything Maytagish actually break, gets $85 an hour and we stay home to greet him when he deigns to arrive.

    The presumption that if you don't go to college you're hosed is false, but you guys have to pretend to believe it so as to pretend to believe that the military is these folks' only chance up and out.

    Aubrery's gaffe. (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 08:35:51 AM EST
    Aubrey! We missed you. Well... I can't really speak for anyone else of course, but I missed you, anyway.

    Everybody else here is probably so thoroughly stomach churningly sick of your diseased psychotic bullsh*t by now that they'd be happy, if you'd finally found that metaphorical tarpit and fell into it whimpering and crying and screeching at the unfairness of life and flailing in vain as you slowly sink into the sticky muck sucking down the rest of the republosaurs, to just crack a beer, fire up a bauma, pull up a lawnchair, smile and grin and watch the centipedes eat your eyeballs out as you gasp and choke on the hot ooze, while they poke you with sharpened gaffs.

    Here's a project for you to celebrate your return. See if you can point out for me all the lies and evasions and strawmen and self delusions you packed into that post, and your older ones here... But this time you'll have to do it yourself. It's become glaringly obvious that it does not sink into your brain when others do it for you. We're not doing your work for you anymore. It's time for you to write the finals exams, and graduate, or not, on your own ability. It's sad, I know, but from here on in buddy, you're on your own.

    You can handle it Aubrey. I have faith in you! I know you just dropped in to ease the pain of your comrades in tar.

    P.S. This only looks like ad hominem attack. If you really need me to I'll dig up links for you on the "diseased psychotic bullsh*t".  You'll need to be patient though. It'll take me at least ten seconds, maybe even 15. But just say the word.

    Thanks for being you, Aubrey! :-)


    Re (none / 0) (#28)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 07:56:39 AM EST
      Obviously, politically speaking, it was not a smart thing to say and, per usual, Kerry's timing was impeccably bad, but it actually was good advice to the kids.

      I'll accept (without knowing it's actually true) that statistically, the military cohort is in aggregate "better educated" than its overall age cohort, but that doesn't really refute Kerry's observation.

      MANY kids from comfortable circumstances can get mediocre grades and SAT scores and have no problem paying for college (or rather having tyheir parents pay). For them it's not do well in school, flounder in the economic underclass or join the military. But, for many kids of limited means it is much more difficult unless they have above-average grades. it's not just the financial aid aspect either.

      Kids from relatively disadvantaged backgrounds receive less attention in their high schools, from college recruiters, etc., unless they stand out from the crowd. Often lacking the family support and sophistication more well to do kids have,  they might miss out on opportunities that are actually available for them because no one guides them through the rather cumbersome process of applying to school and for financial aid.

       I'd presume that it is mostly the "best and the brightest" of this disadvantaged class that has the motivation and determination to join the military to get ahead. That doesn't change the fact though that if they had focused on school more at a younger age they might have reached young adulthood with a broader array of opportunities.

       What Kerry should have said is that he in no way intended to disparage those in the military (and I don't think he did-- not even he is quite that dense and tone-deaf) but merely was pointing out to young people the advantage of having options for upward mobility that don't involve a high risk of injury and death and that because he cares about the young he wishes more of them had safer options. It's not putting the military down to implore kids to expand their options. (at least if you choose your words a bit more carefully).

       I think Kerry's excuse made it much worse. He was "joking" and screwed up the punchline? I feel safe in saying more people will be offended by having their intelligence insulted by a really bad lie than by what he said initially.

      That lame ploy is just another example of behavior that makes him seem simulataneously weak and duplicitous.

      The problem is it's not irrelevant because he is a United States Senator and our most recent nominee. It might be a widely shared wish (on both sides of the aisle) but he is far from irrelevant.


    Who cares what Kerry meant to say (none / 0) (#32)
    by Patrick on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 10:20:53 AM EST
    Who cares what Kerry meant to say.  My problem is with the reaction of those he said it too.  His comment (Whether intentionally or not) called into question the intelligence of the citizens serving in the military.  The audience cheered and shouted, and THEY did not know what he "Meant" to say.  THAT is concerning.  

    Sound + Fury = Nothing (none / 0) (#33)
    by Dadler on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 10:21:18 AM EST
    The Heritage Foundation is about as credible a place for independent information as the White House.  

    Anyone who thinks the military is peopled with the educated and affluent, or even the marginally so, lives in complete denial.  A small segment of the military comes from some money and learning.  The majority are those who felt they had no other choice.  Come to a real military town where I live, see how many are living on welfare, food stamps, and other forms of government assistance.  Talk to my dear friend who works at the school on base at Camp Pendleton, ask her how easy it is to teach the children of such privilege.  Why it's just like teaching kids at the Dalton School in NYC.

    S.O.P. (none / 0) (#34)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 10:58:40 AM EST
    Dadler, I know you don't like what their study says. But that doesn't mean that anyone who thinks it's a valid study must "live in complete denial." They have numbers, you have anecdotes.

    Maybe you could point us toward a study which has a different conclusion? Otherwise, your response is just one more ad hominem: "Ignorant!"


    Kerry (none / 0) (#35)
    by Richard Aubrey on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 11:22:33 AM EST

    You want uncheckable assertions?

    Here's one.  Over the last twenty years or so, I have encountered five or six teachers who've taught at DOD schools here and abroad.  Without exception, they all thought the schools did well and the kids were easier to teach than in some other systems they'd taught in.

    I know some public school teachers who've been in different systems holding different demographics.  The most affluent systems have the best facilities and an excess of whining, entitled snobs whose parents are bullying and want all kinds of nutty exceptions for their kid.  The poorest systems have lots of kids with problems and poor facilities.

    The best system demographic, according to my friends who've taught all around, is the far 'burbs, into the rural areas.  Facilties are adequate to adequate-plus, the kids are far less snotty than their affluent peers and don't have the baggage the inner-city kids have.

    And what demographic to the DOD schools have?  Most like the latter.

    According to my sources, most kids who go to college have only a high-school diploma.  Sort of like the military.