Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kerry Recriminations Are a Waste of Time

Hey, fellow Democrats. I know you're frustrated and upset about watching the last three news cycles being dominated John Kerry's botched joke about Bush and Iraq. But the point of this episode--contrary to what I've seen on so many liberal blogs and heard from some liberal friends--is not that Kerry is an idiot. It's that the Republicans are prepared to seize and twist anything and everything into a phony "issue"--such is their utter disrespect for the intelligence of the American people--and that the media are, sadly, all too willing to assist them in the process.

Those Democrats who are squandering their energies in denouncing Kerry's stupidity should ask themselves: Do you really believe that, if Kerry hadn't made his lame joke, the Republicans wouldn't have found some other "shocking" factoid to generate horror and outrage on the part of their base, and to distract and titillate the media? If it weren't a Kerry joke, it would be a vote by Pelosi . . . an interview with Charlie Rangel . . . a speech by Hillary . . . a soundbite by Howard Dean . . . or an obscure, out-of-context sentence from Obama's new book.

We know this is true because it happens like clockwork every election. Remember Kerry's "I voted for it before I voted against it"? Remember the "Dean scream"? Remember Gore's "Internet invention" and "Love Story" claims? Remember Clinton's "I didn't inhale"? The list goes on and on, back at least to the phony attacks on Ed Muskie's manhood because he supposedly wept on stage during the 1972 New Hampshire primary. If you're looking for a pretext to gin up fabricated attacks on someone's character, you can always find one.

Of course Kerry is flawed. So what? The assumption that we can find somewhere a perfect candidate who will never botch a line, use a questionable metaphor, or utter a statement that can be wrenched from context and distorted to appear mean, disrespectful, or even treasonous, is absurd. And if we ever did find such a candidate--Hillary comes close--the Republicans and the media would simply shift to Plan B: They would denounce her as "too perfect," "robotic," "packaged," and "phony."

We have to stop obediently forming a circular firing squad whenever the right-wing blowhards start taunting some Democrat. Instead, we have to treat them like the schoolyard bullies they are. Hit back--fast and hard.

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