Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shooting Himself in the Foot

John Kerry's gaff should have come and gone in the news before anyone noticed it. In stead it keeps growing.

For those who missed it, Kerry was addressing the Pasadena City College. After making a couple of Bush jokes, he said:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
The White House and Rush Limbaugh said that Kerry should apologize for implying that the troops in Iraq are people who did not make an effort to be smart. Kerry fired back that it was a botched joke and that he was obviously referring to President Bush and that he was not going to be forced into an apology by "right-wing nut jobs" and a "doughy Rush Limbaugh".

Kerry's counter-attack made him one of yesterday's top stories. It also forced his to cancel most of his campaign stops and might have forced him out of the 2008 presidential race (not that he actually had a chance).

Kerry's supporters including MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olberman insist that it is obvious that he was talking about Bush. Anyone who says otherwise is just part of the Republican policy of "smear and fear" to quote Kerry.

So, which is it - a botch Bush joke or an insight into Kerry's opinion of the military? It is true that he told some anti-Bush jokes before making this one. A really generous person would assume that he meant to say:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If, like our President, you don't, you get the country stuck in Iraq."
That sort of works if you remember the official line that Bush did poorly in college. It doesn't work anywhere near as well if you remember that Bush, Kerry, and Al Gore all got a few "D"s and graduated with "C" averages.

It also fails when you remember that the left has been characterizing the military as victims - poor and minorities who have no where else to go. Michael Moore spent a segment of Fahrenheit 911 saying that military recruiters only went after the poor and minorities. Kerry himself has said many worse things about the military. Just last year he insisted that our troops were terrorizing Iraqi families with midnight raids on the innocent.

And of course, Kerry could have stopped the whole thing by apologizing for what he actually said.

Kerry's response is probably caused by his interpretation of the 2004 presidential race. As he sees it, he lost because he was not quick enough and forceful enough in attacking the Swiftboat Vets. The new Kerry counter-attacks swiftly and forcefully but not accurately.

In the engagement where Kerry won his first Purple Heart there is some disagreement about what happened. He says that they were fired on. Others who were there at the time say that there was no return fire. Kerry panicked, started shooting, and the others in the group followed suit. The sliver that stuck in his thumb came from a grenade that he launched.

It appears that once again, Kerry launched an attack and wounded himself. I wonder if he will claim a Purple Heart for it?

Michael J. Fox UPDATE:
In campaign ads, Michael J. Fox is swaying around. It has been suggested that he skipped his medication in order to have the symptoms of his Parkinson's disease. It now appears that the behavior was caused by his medication. Someone who has been taking the medications for a long time will over-compensate when the medication first takes effect. This fades in 20-30 minutes and they appear normal. When filming, Fox times his medications so that this effect will have worn off before filming starts. In this case he made sure to be filmed while still showing the side-effects.

Which brings us back to the original question - is it ok for an actor to alter his appearance from his norm when filming a political ad? From the rush to condemn Rush, it must not be. None of the attacks against Limbaugh seem to say that it is ok. They just condemn Limbaugh for attacking a sick man.

BTW, Fox's appearance on Boston Legal will no longer be an issue. His character was killed and the body sold on the illegal body parts market.

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