I find the Derb/Jay line, agreeing that Senator Kerry was making a joke about Bush, highly implausible. If you talk to Democrats of the middle-class and upper-middle-class and (in John Heinz Kerry’s case) the neo-Gulf-emir-class, you’ll have heard the same thing a thousand times: these poor fellows in Iraq, they’re only there because they’re too poverty-stricken and ill-educated so they couldn’t become Senators and New York Times reporters and tenured Queer Studies professors like normal Americans do. That is, in fact, what they mean by the claim that they “support our troops”: they want to bring them home and retrain them so they’re not forced into taking jobs as Bush’s torturers and thugs. It’s part of the same condescension as describing soldiers as “our children”. If a 22-year old intern wants to drop to the Oval Office broadloom, she’s a grown woman exercising her freedom of choice. But, if a 28-year old guy wants to serve in Iraq, he’s a poor wee misguided Grade Six drop-out who doesn’t know any better. John Kerry’s soundbite is interesting not because it’s the umpteenth self-inflicted wound by Mister Nuance but because it gets right to the heart of the Democrats’ “support” for the troops.