War isn’t Kerry’s fault

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 6, 2006

What did Sen. John Kerry mean when he uttered those words? Was he, as Republicans claim, insulting American soldiers on the battlefield? Was he, as he claims, making fun of President Bush, a just average college student now chiefly responsible for the Iraq quagmire?

This is bad news for the Democrats, who have labored mightily to overcome the impression that they are culturally hostile to the military. Of course GOP spinmeisters are working overtime to frame Vietnam vet Kerry as a troop-basher. As improbable as that claim is, it resonates with voters who feel in their gut that Democrats are wimpy peaceniks.

Kerry, who has now left the campaign trail (presumably for the woodshed), could have saved himself and his party a tremendous amount of grief had he recognized that the negative interpretation of his words was at least plausible and apologized immediately to offended parties for his lack of clarity.

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He finally called in to radio’s &8220;Don Imus Show&8221;

Wednesday morning &045;ing his remarks &045; and offered that apology, but, at the same time, ripped repeatedly into the Republican attack machine. Imus, a Democratic partisan who understands the public mood better than the maladroit Kerry, pleaded over and over, &8220;Just stop it, I’m begging you.&8221; No doubt the radio talker spoke for many Dems.

Yes, Kerry botched the joke, and he botched the response, but &045; let’s be honest &045; he didn’t botch the war in Iraq. American troops are not stuck in a deteriorating situation there because a Massachusetts senator tripped over his tongue and his ego.

The real issue is not what John Kerry says about our soldiers in Iraq; the real issue is rather what all of our elected officials in Washington intend to do about our soldiers in Iraq. That’s the key question for voters as they go to the polls.