Theory: John Kerry planned the “botched joke.”
Try this on for size: Kerry made his “gaffe” with the certain expectation that the White House would respond. In his counter-response, the Senator gained the opportunity to flash his veteran status while highlighting the lack of experience by his opponents. I think Kerry further believed that by standing up to the White House, it would burnish his credentials among the left-wing of the Party as a “fighter.” It’s a win-win for Kerry who would dominate the news cycle heading into the midterm elections.
The problem is that Americans didn’t think the joke was so obvious (just like an Aaron Sorkin script) and resented Kerry’s elitist implication that we commoners couldn’t understand his intention. When Democrats across the country looked at the overnight poll numbers, the house of cards came down.
How can a semi-intelligent politician make such a disastrous miscalculation? Almost certainly it’s because John Kerry’s self-regard knows no bounds. Here’s a guy who has produced almost nothing after two decades in the Senate, yet believed he should be commander-in-chief based on five months in Vietnam. When the mask slips, it reveals Kerry’s elitism and disdain for those of us without yachts. Here’s a blast from the past with P.J. O’Rourke: “Kerry loves the mainstream media…and has contempt for the American people.”
Addressing the audience of tame Democrats, Kerry explained his defeat. "There has been," he said, "a profound and negative change in the relationship of America's media with the American people. . . . If 77 percent of the people who voted for George Bush on Election Day believed weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq--as they did--and 77 percent of the people who voted for him believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11--as they did--then something has happened in the way in which we are talking to each other and who is arbitrating the truth in American politics. . . . When fear is dominating the discussion and when there are false choices presented and there is no arbitrator, we have a problem."Kerry tried to ride the fightin’ Dems into the midterms and come out the other side as the presumptive nominee for 2008. Instead, he eradicated his own presidential aspirations, motivated the conservative base, and possibly tipped Congress to GOP control in the midterms. Snap.
America is not doctrinaire. It's hard for an American politician to come up with an ideological position that is permanently unforgivable. Henry Wallace never quite managed, or George Wallace either. But Kerry's done it. American free speech needs to be submitted to arbitration because Americans aren't smart enough to have a First Amendment, and you can tell this is so, because Americans weren't smart enough to vote for John Kerry.
Update – Kerry sends out a new “apology” via his web site. What, no press conference?