Who is handling Kerry?
Seriously, who are his advisors these days? Who thinks that these were the right things to say in response to his gaffe yesterday? Let's look at a transcript—that originated with Kerry's staffers—to see what he said. And yes, I'll be breaking in to comment.
Let me make it crystal clear, as crystal clear as I know how: I apologize to no one for my criticism of the president and of his broken policy.All anyone heard is "I apologize to no one." This is one of the dumbest things politicians ever do. Just say you're sorry that you stumbled over your words and that you're sorry you offended people. THEN turn the tables and say "What I had intended to say is..." But apologize first, jackass.
If anyone owes our troops in the fields an apology, it is the President and his failed team and a Republican majority in the Congress that has been willing to stamp -- rubber-stamp policies that have done injury to our troops and to their families.This should have come after a real apology. "Now I have apologized and I am truly sorry, but I am not the only one who owes an apology," or something like that.
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.So apologize for screwing it up.
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 in America to 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 at which they have not told the American people the truth.Actually, Senator, your "true statement" was a slurr about the troops. Your intended statement may have been different, but you are the one spinning your "true statement," not the White House. Oh, and, by the way, someday you're going to figure out that bloggers don't take their cues from the White House, and they got to this party long before the President's staff even knew you'd said something stupid.
I'm not going to stand for it.Then sit down and shut up.
What our troops deserve is a winning strategy. And what they deserve is leadership that is up to the sacrifice that they're making.Okay, John, lay it on me. What is the winning strategy? What do you propose? Any ideas? Remember: withdrawl is not victory, unless it truly is strategic and to accomplish other goals. So, Senator, what is your proposal for a winning strategy? Surely you're about to criticize the President for failing to have one, so you must have one of your own, right?
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.No proposal yet...
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.Ah! So it's not that you think the troops deserve a policy for victory, then, is it Senator? No, you want leaders who admit that we've failed. And that's fine, if that's what you believe. But I have to ask: why do you try and pretend like you're after a victory strategy if you think it's a lost cause. The least you could do is admit you were wrong. Some people who supported the war like you did have admitted their mistake and proposed ways to go about fixing the situation. (More on this link later, but you should absolutely click it and read it in full). But you cannot bring yourself to say that you think we've failed because you're afraid you'll take a dip in the polls. So you stand up and say "Our troops demand a plan for victory!" while trying to convince the rest of us that victory cannot be achieved. You, sir, define hypocrisy. And I'm having a premonition... you'll do it again before the end of this press conference.
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.Oops! There it is! This is ostensibly a press conference about what you said yesterday. And you've spun it to be about the President and the White House. I don't have a problem with that. As a student of political strategy, I can agree that it is an incredibly effective tactic. But don't you dare say it's a Republican tactic while you're in the middle of taking advantage yourself. Do you think we're idiots?
Well, everybody knows it's not working this time, and I'm not going to stand around and let it work.This is akin to saying "Everybody's going over there, so I'm going to lead them over there!" It's what Kerry does. He tries to sniff the air and determine the prevailing wind before ordering the wind to blow in that direction. A lot of politicians do that—Kerry's problem is he's not any good at it.
If anyone thinks that a veteran, someone like me, who's been fighting my entire career to provide for veterans, to fight for their benefits, to help honor what their service is, if anybody thinks that a veteran would somehow criticize more than 140,000 troops serving in Iraq and not the president and his people who put them there, they're crazy.I invite you to remember that Kerry began his political career by accusing Vietnam soldiers of having "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads... randomly shot at civilians... in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan." (Source)
It's just wrong. This is a classic GOP textbook Republican campaign tactic.Now you're hypocritical and redundant.
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.Then lead by example. Take responsibility for the mistake you made yesterday morning and stop trying to make other people the "butt" of that mistake. (I don't even know what that means, but we'll go with it for parallelism's sake.)
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.The first criticism of Kerry's statement came from Senator McCain. Did he ever wear the uniform? I can't seem to remember. And who else has joined the chorus? Well, lots of non-partisans, including, for example, The American Legion.
Enough is enough. We're not going to stand for this. This policy is broken. And this president and his administration didn't do their homework. They didn't study what would happen in Iraq. They didn't study and listen to the people who were the experts and would have told them.And how many of these experts did you talk to, Senator? It must have been a lot, since you voted against the war to start with. Of course, then you voted for it. But now you're against it, and that's what's important, right?
And they know that's what I was talking about yesterday. I'm not going to be lectured by a White House or by the likes of Rush Limbaugh who's taking a day off from mimicking and attacking Michael J. Fox, who's now going to try to attack me and lie about me and distort me.Okay, this is one I love. It calls to mind Kerry's initial press release in response to his gaffe, in which he called Rush Limbaugh "doughy." Which is just hilariously stupid.
Now, as for the "attacks and lies and distortions." Well, Senator, they're just quoting exactly what you said. They are not distorting it in any way. I'd say it sounds like you're trying to distort your actual words in favor of your intended words. But, while we're at it, I've read reports that W did better at Yale than you did. So was this actually a self-deprecating joke for your failure to vote against something that you now believe was such a horrible mistake? It must be, right? You wouldn't play off of the stereotype that a man who did better in school than you is an idiot just to get a laugh, would you? No, of course not.
No way. It disgusts me that a bunch of these Republican hacks who've never worn the uniform of our country are willing to lie about those who did.But those who wore the uniform are invited to lie about those who didn't. And disregard those (McCain, among others) who did.
It's over.So what do we do now, John. Propose something, for heaven's sake. One thing. ANYthing. But no, you want to rehash the mistakes instead of moving forward. Because you don't have any ideas. You don't know where to go from here. And the only way you have a prayer at winning votes (and you'd be doing a lot better if you weren't such an idiot with such apparently tasty feet) is by focusing on moot points.
This administration has given us a Katrina foreign policy: mistake upon mistake upon mistake; unwilling to give our troops the armor that they need; unwilling to have enough troops in place; unwilling to give them the Humvees that they deserve to protect them; unwilling to have a coalition that is adequate to be able to defend our interests.
Our own intelligence agency has told us they're creating more terrorists, not less. They're making us less safe, not more.They also said that North Korea is years away from developing nuclear weapons and that Iraq had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. Oops! But by all means, let's listen to them when they back up what we want to believe and disregard their general failure to do anything right.
I think Americans are sick and tired of this game. These Republicans are afraid to stand up and debate a real veteran on this topic. And they're afraid to debate -- you know, they want to debate straw men because they're afraid to debate real men.Yes John, you are a real man. So, um, where's the outrage that he just attacked the masculinity of all Republicans? How is this any different than calling the opposition "girlie men"?
Well, we're going to have a real debate in this country about this policy. The bottom line is: These Republicans want to distort this policy. And, this time, it won't work because we are going to stay in their face with the truth.What policy are we debating? Whether we should have gone to war in the first place? Whether we should stay there now? I thought you were demanding a policy for victory, not demanding to debate a policy for victory. Which is it?
And no Democrat is going to be bullied by these people, by these kinds of attacks that have no place in American politics. It's time to set our policy correct.Hah. No Democrat will be bullied, because they're too busy bullying. What was John Kerry's allegedly intended joke? It was a slight at a man's intelligence. Is this the kind of high-minded debate that the Senator would prefer?
They have a stand-still-and-lose policy in Iraq and they have a cut-and-run policy in Afghanistan. And the fact is, our troops, who have served heroically, who deserve better, deserve leadership that is up to their sacrifice, period.Obviously he'd prefer that we stand-still in Afghanistan and cut-and-run in Iraq.
Seriously, folks, and I want you to understand this clearly: I have been a fervent supporter of the Iraq war from the start, and I have been having plenty of doubts lately. I linked above to a piece that my brother recently posted on Diet Coke For Breakfast about where we stand in this war and where we should be going from here. I encourage everyone to read it clearly, and to comment on his post or here with your thoughts. This is an important question that is not getting coverage in a broad audience.
Instead, we have asshats like John Kerry who want to talk in platitudes about failed policies and crack jokes about dumb presidents instead of sit down and come up with solutions. It is men like John Kerry that are the reason government will never be the solution to most of life's problems—because they rise to the top by worrying about their own image, rather than by showing the qualities of leadership and grace that would allow government to act with restraint and allow individuals to thrive, while intervening only where absolutely necessary. Instead, to a man like Kerry, it is better to lend half-efforts that look good and in the meantime destroy the possibility that people can rise up and succeed themselves. I know that has nothing to do with the war, but it's the same problem.
Kerry would rather look like he cares about victory in Iraq and the war on Islamofascism than actually take a stand for something that might make the situation better.
He's not just a flip-flopper, he's a pussy who's afraid to be wrong.
Now, I'm not going to go onto the Q&A section, because it's largely repetitive. But I invite you to click over to the full transcript and read that section too.
Most importantly, get over to dcfb and let us know what you think about my brother's proposals.
UPDATE [11/2/2006 - 0:03]: James Taranto has similar thoughts.