The Corner

Kerry!

Here’s what we say about him in Window on The Week:

John Kerry apologized for his “botched joke,” but only after fellow Democrats had pulled him off the campaign trail and distanced themselves from his remarks. It appears that Kerry actually was attempting a notionally humorous, if arrogant and obnoxious, jab at Bush when he told a crowd of students that if they didn’t do well in school they’d get “stuck in Iraq.” But he left out any mention of Bush, and the “joke” came across as a slam of the military. Any other politician would have deserved the benefit of the doubt, but not Kerry. Calling soldiers dumb is mild compared with what he did during Vietnam, when he accused his comrades of routinely committing war crimes. Outrage at that smear, of course, is what motivated the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to go after him in 2004. Unfortunately, all Kerry learned from that experience was to viciously attack any of his detractors, a mistaken lesson that he applied in the immediate aftermath of this week’s gaffe, only stoking the controversy. We doubt the incident will have any long-lasting effect, except to convince Democrats never, ever again to permit him to “report for duty” as their presidential nominee.

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