So the guy can’t tell a joke; I’ve not been known for my sense of humor, either (just ask my spouse).
I request anyone who is not familiar with the background of Kerry’s comment to read this:
MSNBC host Chris Matthews read from the AP article during the October 31 edition of Hardball, noting that Kerry “opened his speech … with several one-liners, joking at one point that Bush had lived in Texas but now ‘lives in a state of denial.’ Then he said: ‘You know, 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. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.'” Matthews further described the White House’s characterization of Kerry’s remarks as a “violent interpretation,” then later, during an interview with former House Republican Leader Dick Armey (TX), said:
MATTHEWS: [I]f you listen to the transition of words there, it clearly looks like he was talking about President Bush being in a state of denial, not realizing when he took us into Iraq what he was going to face because he didn’t study hard in school. President Bush says today, no, he wasn’t saying that. Isolating the few words in the middle of that statement, he said, he was trashing the military for being uneducated and the kinds of people who flunk out of school and end up in the military and then get stuck in Iraq.
Matthews then asked Armey which was the “correct interpretation,” and Armey concluded: “Look, I think John Kerry’s right. He’s making a defense of himself. He’s saying, ‘Look, I was not maligning the troops. I was maligning the president of the United States.’ “
Now, read the following exchange from the IMUS show this morning:
KERRY: …But on the other hand, it’s just a disgraceful thing when people try to assert that somebody like me, who has spent 35 years of my life fighting for veterans, standing up for veterans, fighting for their combat pay, fighting for Agent Orange recognition, fighting for their armor, fighting for their up-armored Humvees, fighting for them to have a strategy that wins, fighting to honor them that the notion that this comment was directed at them is an insult by these guys, and they know it. I mean, that’s really the bottom line here.
Look, this is a great volunteer army. And the word “volunteer” army means you have to be smart to get in it. They know that. Everybody knows. You can’t get in the military today if you’re not capable and not smart.
This comment couldn’t have been directed at them, because you can’t get into the military by doing badly in school. This was directed at the people who didn’t do their homework, didn’t listen to history, didn’t listen to their own advice, and they owe the American people an apology.
IMUS: I was talking to Charles last night about this, and it was my inclination to try to defend you in this. And I said, I think I know what he meant. I mean, it’s clear what he meant. But I had to acknowledge, in my conversation with Charles, that that’s not what you said.
KERRY: Of course, it isn’t what I said.
I left out one word. I left out the word “us.” “They got us stuck.” Instead of that, I said, “They got stuck,” and they’re taking advantage of it.
He never intended to insult the troops; he has apologized for his misspoken words:
“As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and never intended to refer to any troop. I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted… and I personally apologise to any service member, family member, or American who was offended,” he said.
Kerry misspoke and he has subsequently apologized for the mistake; however, there are going to be some out there who will refuse to accept his explanation and his apology. So what do you believe? Senator Kerry’s own words, or are you still sticking with your own perceptions? If you are still offended at this point, you probably believe that Kerry is a liar. No amount of explaining and apologizing is going to convince you otherwise. Afterall, it makes a great weapon against Democrats in general so close to the election, and its great fun, too (isn’t it?).
But, the bigger person will see the truth, let it drop, and not exploit it for political gain.
For the record: my spouse is a Viet Nam War Veteran, my father is a veteran, my uncle is a veteran, a close friend of mine’s son is an Iraq War Veteran, and several of my in-laws are veterans. They are not stupid or uneducated. I know them to be reasonable, intelligent, thoughtful people who would understand and accept this for what it is.