Spinning Kerry's "Joke Malfunction"
Former Democratic Party standard-bearer John Kerry has found himself in some hot water after making a joke that many interpreted as a slap against American military personnel serving in Iraq.
"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," Kerry told a California crowd on Monday.
The spin on this one is pretty simple: Republicans attack Kerry for saying our soldiers are stupid, Democrats attack Republicans for fighting a war they think is stupid.
Which spin you take depends on who you believe the joke was targeting. Was Kerry was cracking on our soldiers (as Republicans believe), our President (as Democrats insist) or both (as U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson has said)?
Of course, Wilson immediately put out a press release demanding that Kerry apologize, but then again Wilson immediately puts out a press release demanding an apology every time a Democrat opens his or her mouth, about anything.
The difference is that this time Wilson was joined (or rather eclipsed) by credible criticisms of Kerry's remarks coming from President Bush, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and basically every other Republican with a pulse. Bush even timed his criticism to coincide with the nightly news, and tipped off reporters that it was coming - a clear sign the GOP is looking to make Kerry's "joke malfunction" a bigger deal than it ordinarily might have been.
There's no doubt what Kerry said was incredibly stupid on multiple levels.
That stupidity was then compounded by a ridiculous news conference where Kerry sounded a lot like Justin Timberlake trying to explain what happened with Janet Jackson's bra during their Super Bowl duet.
But the fact that Republicans are treating the fallout over Kerry's "botched" joke like manna from heaven shows how desperate they are to get their core voters engaged in swing states.
We blogged recently about this dynamic, which was epitomized by Ken Mehlman's RNC recently reverting to the "Southern Strategy" in a Senate race in Tennessee - employing a less-than-deft and uniquely 20th Century method of campainging that basically consists of scaring white people silly.
Fortunately for Republicans here in South Carolina, the big-spending, race-baiting, agenda-deficient national GOP has kept its moronisitude out of our state. Well, with the exception of Ralph Norman's race, anyway.
Which effectively makes all of this a wash.
Just as the sordid details of the Foley page scandal didn't really do anything to hurt Palmetto State Republicans, it's doubtful Kerry's ill-conceived joke is going to do much to help them, unless of course you make your residence somewhere inside Joe Wilson's cerebellum.
The good news is that in about 120 hours, the people finally get a chance to speak for themselves.