I Just Can’t Get Enough…Kerry*

meatballs.jpgI could be wrong, but I think John Kerry apologized for his insult to the troops juuuuuust in time to let the Democrats regain the momentum toward a positive outcome on Tuesday.* So I think it’s safe to have more fun at his expense! From Newsweek, some choice bits of Kerry lore:

First, how did Kerry go from his fist-shaking defiance of the “stuffed suits” on Tuesday to his “personal apology” on Wednesday — delivered impersonally as text on his website?

Chuck Schumer got right to the point. On Thursday afternoon, the New York Senator, who’s leading the Democrats’ efforts to win back the Senate, called John Kerry and let him have it. The Massachussetts Senator’s supposed “botched joke” about the president’s handling of Iraq had become a feast for Republicans—sucking up tons of airtime and knocking Democrats off message in the crucial remaining days before the midterm election. Kerry’s attempts to fight back, by calling the Republicans “stuffed suits” and “right wing nutjobs,” was only prolonging the story and making things worse. Apologize now, Schumer told him, according to a high-ranking party official who didn’t want to be named talking about a private conversation. (A source close to Kerry said the exchange was cordial.)

This was, of course, after Kerry ignored the pleas of…Don Imus! Delivered during his interview with the candidate:

Imus flat out begged Kerry to cease and desist. “Stop talking. Go home, get on the bike, go windsurfing, anything. Stop it. You’re going to ruin this.”

For the Republicans, this was a little shot of tequila after a long campaign guzzling flat beer. For Democrats, this was a crisis that had to be fixed – now – and was. But for Kerry, who dreams of another shot at the presidency in 2008, this was probably the final act:

For the moment, at least, Kerry is simply radioactive among Democrats. Mark Gorenberg, his former finance chair for California, told NEWSWEEK he would definitely be with Kerry if he ran in ‘08. The influential Daily Kos blog tried to make the best of the gaffe with a post saying, “I haven’t been shy to pile on Kerry when warranted, but what a load of bulls— this is. And showing that he has learned from his Swiftboating days, Kerry hit back hard.” But not everyone was feeling so generous. On the ground in New Hampshire, some activists who’d been open to him pre-blunder, were now shutting their doors and turning out the lights. “It’s not that this gaffe was so bad,” says Ann McLane Kuster, a prominent New Hampshire activist, “But it plays into all the traits he has that are out of touch, like using intelligence as a way to distinguish himself rather than compassion. The underlying joke wasn’t funny.”

She nails it. The problem with Kerry is, he’s basically one of the stupider politicians out there, but he combines his cluelessness with an insistence not only that he is man of intelligence, but one blessed with rare intellectual gifts. Bush was the deadliest sort of foil for Kerry — a man who didn’t think IQ was all that important, and who didn’t seem to mind if other people called him dumb. Thus, whenever he outsmarted Kerry, the impact was twice as big.

“Brilliant” Kerry losing to “Stupid” Bush, when the election day polls mostly picked him to win — that should’ve finished Kerry off politically then and there. But not according to him:

On a recent Saturday in Lewiston, Maine, Kerry mused about the problem over lunch at an Italian restaurant. “They’ll just have to make a measurement of whether or not they think any of the other people who think they’re running would have done better against George Bush,” he told NEWSWEEK as he worked his way through a plate of spaghetti. “I mean, that’s an initial threshold question people ought to ask themselves. Would anybody else have beaten a wartime president—this wartime president—under those circumstances?” As he spoke, Kerry absentmindedly jabbed at his meatballs with a fork.

“Is America a country where you can learn from something or isn’t it?” he asked. “Why did Ronald Reagan get to run four times for the nomination? Why is John McCain running for the second time? Didn’t he get his ass kicked around South Carolina by George Bush for not being patriotic enough?”

Kerry put down his fork. His meatballs lay in ruins. “I always thought that in America you do get a second chance,” he said.

That’s right, John. The one trait America values in its presidents even more than feigned intelligence is a guy who really knows how to cry in his meatballs.

*(Update: Or, maybe not.  This poll suggests Kerry might want to start packing for his long-delayed fact-finding trip studying the glaciers of Antartica.)


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