The Fallout

Here is how the NYTimes and the Washington Post reported the Kerry distraction:

For at least a few hours on Tuesday, President Bush had a chance to relive his victorious campaign of 2004, taking a break from a bleak Republican campaign season as he attacked Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts over the war in Iraq.

Mr. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who was Mr. Bush’s opponent in 2004, is not running for office this year. But the president seized on what he said were Mr. Kerry’s disparaging remarks about the troops — and what Mr. Kerry insisted was a botched joke aimed at Mr. Bush — as he sought to make Mr. Kerry the face of the Democratic Party this fall.

In the process, Mr. Bush brought renewed attention to the war in Iraq, which he defended with vigor while campaigning in Georgia, at the very moment that a number of Republican Congressional candidates, following the advice of party strategists, were stepping up their efforts to distance themselves from the White House on the war as the campaign enters its final days.

Not bad at all for Democrats from the Times. WaPo is a different story.

President Bush last night accused Sen. John F. Kerry of disparaging U.S. troops in Iraq, echoing the 2004 strategy of ridiculing the Massachusetts senator to raise anew questions about Democratic leaders and their commitment to the troops. The highly coordinated White House effort came as Republicans sought to shift the focus away from an unpopular war and GOP scandals that are putting their congressional majorities at risk.

The controversy erupted after Kerry told a California audience on Monday: "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. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Yesterday, Bush, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the American Legion and many GOP candidates pounced on the comment from the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee to accuse him of insulting U.S. troops. The president said Kerry owes service members an apology -- echoing a parade of prominent Republicans who criticized the Massachusetts Democrat throughout the day.

After reading Kerry's comments to a GOP audience in Georgia, Bush said Kerry's statement was "insulting and it is shameful. The members of the United States military are plenty smart and they are plenty brave, and the senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology." The White House tipped off the networks to when Bush would attack Kerry, so the comments could be carried live and make the evening news.

In his defense, Kerry said that his comment was a "botched joke" and that he was referring to Bush's intellect, not that of American military personnel serving in Iraq.

In a statement released only moments after Bush spoke, Kerry said: "I make apologies to no one about my criticism of the President and his broken policy that kills and maims our heroes in Iraq every single day. This pathetic attempt to distort a botched joke about President Bush is a shameful effort to distract from a botched war."

The unusual back-and-forth that has little to do with the 2006 midterm elections comes as Democrats are planning to end the campaign by bashing Bush and GOP candidates for supporting the U.S. war policy. A senior Democratic strategist said the party will run Iraq-focused ads in at least 15 of the most competitive House races between now and Election Day.

If this is the end of it, no harm done. Senator Kerry needs to let this go now.

As Josh Marshall said:

Whatever Kerry meant to say, it provided plenty of grist for feigned outrage from Republicans. It certainly didn't sound good. But I take it as a given that it was a botched jab at President Bush because I don't believe a bunch of Republicans who never served in the military have more respect for the military than a Democrat who did. But that's life. Republicans are looking for everything they can get. Fine.

But it's important not to foget one thing. John Kerry isn't the Democratic party. And this election isn't about John Kerry. It's about Iraq. It's about the man who's actually president, the man whose policies have led to the disaster the country is facing. George W. Bush.

This whole national drama we're involved in is about the president's continued refusal to accept responsibility, or more properly speaking, accountability for anything. He wants the policies and politics of the country to proceed along as if his policies hadn't already led us into disaster after disaster. That's what this election is about, not the 2004 election or anything else.
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    thanks molly (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by cpinva on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 09:52:29 AM EST
    for sparing me the trouble of once again showing jim for the intentionally oblivious person that he is.

    you want links and context jim? turn your tv to CNN, there they are.

    frankly, this is nearly as pathetic as george allen's attempt to use jim webb's fiction against him. lacking anything substantive, sen. allen's campaign attacks fictional characters, from critically acclaimed novels, by a combat decorated author, in a pitiful effort to portray him as "sexist".

    "useless, useless"

    He meant it. (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 11:32:37 AM EST
    cpinva - Well, as I just explained to Molly, those of us who have looked at the tape can see him look down, even more proof that he was saying what he had planned to say.

    et al - Posture and excuse all you want. What he said, how he said it, where he said, how he said it all show that he meant it to be about the troops. The final proof is his previous horrible statements about the troops and the fact that he didn't immediately say, ooops, I didn't mean that.

    He meant it. You know it. I know it. The country knows it.


    Or he lost his place (none / 0) (#12)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 06:35:45 PM EST
    and fumbled his words. Looking down doesn't prove squat.

    I, for one, had no trouble following his meaning. To believe this nonsense you would have to believe someone who volunteered for duty in Vietnam, served honorably, was awarded 3 purple hearts, and a bronze star is anti- troops. It is inconsistent with his record.

    On the other hand, you actually believe the GOP is strong on national security, when their record shows they are generally stupid on issues of national security, so I can't say I am surprised.


    Fallout? <em>Fallout?</em> (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:54:14 PM EST
    The highly coordinated White House effort came as Republicans sought to shift the focus away from an unpopular war and GOP scandals that are putting their congressional majorities at risk.

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2006

    (CBS) President Bush's National Security Adviser showed up unannounced in Baghdad Monday to meet with Iraq's Prime Minister al-Maliki -- who, according to U.S. intelligence, is telling his inner circle the situation is "nearly out of control," CBS News correspondent David Martin reports.

    Nearly? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 01:14:18 AM EST
    telling his inner circle the situation is "nearly out of control"

    Ummm...how many dozens of people have to be killed per day before things are "totally out of control"?

    I have no problem.... (none / 0) (#3)
    by demohypocrates on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 01:19:43 AM EST
    Keepin the big issues 'Big'.  Is Libby?  This blog was once the 'let's get Rove blog' because of Plame.  How many posts were devoted to that?  Is 'macaca' one of the important issues?  Is Foley?  

    The Dimmocrat nominee for prez in '04 insults vets yet again and it is a non-issue.  Stupid soldiers for a war he authorized.   It is the rapist, terrorist, United States soldiers the world needs to know about.  

    Now, Sen. Kerry, tell the American Legion to shut up, because they are a part of the right wing groups out to attack and have never served their country.  And if you dont like the American Legion, ignore them.  It is not out of character.  At least you show yourself as the unpatriotic rat you are, and the public is done a great service.

    Who is a hypocrite here? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 03:46:17 AM EST
    Kerry insults Vets? Really? Bush insults vets everytime he opens his mouth by the fact that he used his family connections to avoid combat in Vietnam, and then went AWOL from his cushy stateside assignment. Then turns around and cuts vet benefits while sending thousands to die for a bunch of lies. And don't get me started on Dick "Other Priorities" Cheney...

    Oh please.. (none / 0) (#4)
    by phat on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 01:39:06 AM EST
    Save the histrionics and "fake outrage" for someone who's dumber. And calling Kerry unpatriotic is as unoriginal as it is ignorant and hate-filled.


    lions and tigers and kerry, oh my! (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 06:33:39 AM EST
    i happened to catch the kerry "faux pas" on CNN last nite. both my wife and i watched, having heard all the republican screeching about it, and i having read it as well.

    as soon as the words were out of sen. kerry's mouth, both of us, no geniuses, knew exactly what he meant, and who he was referring to.

    those who claim not to, are either really, really stupid, or merely mendacious. we both laughed, because it was so transparently obvious what he meant.

    we concluded that the republicans, and pres. bush in particular, are pretty damn desperate, to have latched on to this, in the mid-term's final days, as their last, best hope of avoiding a slaughter at the polls.

    what struck us as particularly amusing, ironic almost, was the sight and sound of a guy (bush), who took great pains to avoid service in vietnam, haranguing a combat decorated veteran (kerry) of that same conflict. give bush credit for chutzpah, if nothing else.

    xx (1.00 / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 07:04:16 AM EST
    as soon as the words were out of sen. kerry's mouth, both of us, no geniuses, knew exactly what he meant, and who he was referring to.

    Oh really? Were you channeling?

    Let's see the context.

    He was speaking to students about education. He tells them to get educated or "you" will wind up in Iraq. How plainer does it need to be?

    He now claims it was a botched joke. Then why didn't he immdiately apologize?

    No way cpinva. Your man is the joke and an embarassment to the Senate. The Demos should censure him and strip of all perks. Since they will not, then it is obvious that the leadership agrees with him.


    I dunno Jim (1.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 07:40:30 AM EST
    I saw the video in context and I had no trouble understanding what he was saying- essentially if you don't apply yourself, you could end up like Bush in a quagmire.

    Its pretty clear to me, you haven't seen the video. In any event, this is just a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

    (And just to be clear, the idiot in this sentence is the Bush Administration)


    Re: sound and fury and signifying nothing (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 08:00:47 PM EST
    Molly, he thinks he's found himself something he can get his teeth into, and in his delusional state he figures that it will somehow offset all the unbearable reality of all of his false heroes being  shown up for the insubstantial ghosts they really are. It can't be happening, so he grasps onto the thinnest wisp of a straw to try to shore up a psyche dependent on keeping the fantasy alive and stave off an unbearable breakdown of his reality.

    IOW, he's got nothing, his heroes are nothing, he's nothing, and the game is over on Tuesday.

    It's all over but the crying...

    There's nothing left he can do except to go out with a bang:

    Chop out the hormones, turn them into eunuchs with fat little hands and glistening eyes and wispy hair on their necks who don't mind admitting they're wrong.
    --from Songs Of The Doomed, HST

    Gawd this gets fun sometimes. ;-)


    Watch his eyes (1.00 / 0) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 11:27:38 AM EST
    Molly - Nope, I have seen the video. And he didn't misspeak. Look again and you will see his eyes look down just before he uttered the words that may beat the Demos. He was reading.

    And he had not previously mentioned the President, the word was  "you."

    But keep on assuming that everyone who disagrees with you are always misinformed. I am sure it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling.