Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Who says that the leadership of the Democratic Party has contempt for the military?
Their 2004 nominee for president of the United States, that's who.
In a way, I feel sorry for John Kerry. How difficult would it be to go through life knowing that at any moment a genuine thought could slip out and destroy all you've worked for?
MORE: This story is all over the internets -- John Kerry must be scorched at Al Gore for inventing the damned things -- but even Kerry's fellow Senators are piling on. Glenn Reynolds: "It's a meltdown."
MORE, LATER, WHILE COVERING TRICK-OR-TREAT DUTY: So, I'm sitting in the living room waiting for the doorbell to ring, Guiness at the ready, finishing up Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance, when I hear a howl of outrage from Mrs. TigerHawk upstairs, who has apparently just turned on MSNBC: "Kerry! What an @sshole!. [Insert extended rant.]" No, it will sadden you to hear that she does not read this blog every day -- just as well, in that marriage already has many burdens -- so she was just seeing the clip for the first time. Duplicate that reaction 10,000,000 times around the country this evening, and Karl Rove's job just got easier.
On the very remote chance that you haven't seen the video, judge the erstwhile leader of the Democratic Party for yourself:
It is, frankly, deplorable that a sitting United States Senator would say this to a room full of students -- potential recruits for the military -- in a time of war. If it weren't so utterly and obviously idiotic, one would be tempted to conclude that he was trying to discourage young people from volunteering.
Linkage: Glenn has a new KerrySlur round-up, chock full o' outrage, and proposes contributing to Project Valour IT as a constructive response. Good man, right idea. I gave $200 to the Marines this morning.
As one who lives and works amongst children in an urban setting (and this is just as true in poor, rural settings, as well), I and my church know all too well about the reality of the poverty draft. Kerry stated the point poorly, but the reality for many of our children is that, if they don't do well in school, they will have limited choices - dealing drugs, low wage jobs and the military.
This is not to denigrate those who hold low wage jobs or who join the military, just pointing out the reality of not doing well in school.
Not all of us have wealthy families to bail us out if we're D students...
By the way, I'm no fan of Kerry, but it is a bit wearying to hear people denigrate him when he's verifiably NOT contemptuous of the military. (Or, at least, not any more contemptuous than many others who have served in the military and have seen firsthand its limitations.)
I'm not sure this quote is as much contempt for "our troops" as it is contempt for the situation they are in.
I've never considered IQ or whatever other measure of intelligence people have come up with is a judgement of someones worth. Perhaps Kerry doesn't either.
That said, I dislike Kerry as well, and I wish he made better use of his head.
But, since there's such outrage about this, I wonder if there's any data behind this thought? How about an average gpa of soldiers slain in Iraq? Is asking that blasphemous?
Kerry stated the point poorly, but the reality for many of our children is that, if they don't do well in school, they will have limited choices - dealing drugs, low wage jobs and the military.
The reason why this is contemptuous is that it amounts to a claim that the military will accept otherwise unemployable people. That is not true. There are plenty of non-criminal employers of last resort, and the American military is simply not one of them. Even the suggestion is asinine.
Obviously, the most troubling implication of Kerry's comment is that he views Iraq as a place one might be "stuck," and promotes that idea to an audience of students. Whatever the American people think of Iraq, and however the soldiers there think that things might be done differently, re-enlistment rates suggest that they do not regard themselves as "stuck" there.
The thing that the early commenters didn't key on, and the most contemptible part of Kerry's military opportunism, is the blatant classism that he exhibits in these unguarded moments. His comments reveal that he looks at military people - not the military generally, as below himself. He uses his military "experience" to broaden his appeal to people for whom he has only contempt. Unfortunately it's very common among those who consider themselves "liberal". Contrast JK with Harry Truman, for instance. How great a gulf there is between their philosophical outlooks, but, in particular, in their attitude towards military people.
From the same party? Perhaps.
Cut from the same cloth? Never.
Let me respond to these comments.
It is my opinion that the origin of this myth about people with poor prospects joining the military by default is a Bob Dylan song. I don't recall the title of the song, but one line goes:
'Get Jailed, jump bail, join the Army if you fail"
Nice rhyming pattern, but it's simply not true.
Dan is simply wrong. Those poor wretches living in urban plight don't have the military as a fall back. The Heritage Foundation has studied military enlistment carefully. Their original study was in response to that Ass Chollie Rangel's contention that America was killing blacks by sending them to Iraq, or some such.It debunked this myth then and the update further cements the truth concerning enlistment.
If Dan follows his standard practice he will attempt to impeach the credibility of the Heritage Foundation. Look for something like "That's just a conservative think tank, I have other data from my anti war sites" I would urge him to either refute the data Heritage provides or be silent about the quality of the men serving with my son.
Here's the address to the Updated Heritage study:
Here's a quote that speaks directly to Dan's point:
Indeed, in many criteria, each year shows advancement, not decline, in measurable qualities of new enlistees. For example, it is commonly claimed that the military relies on recruits from poorer neighborhoods because the wealthy will not risk death in war. This claim has been advanced without any rigorous evidence. Our review of Pentagon enlistee data shows that the only group that is lowering its participation in the military is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005.
Since Dan has decreed that there are only three choices available to his kids, they are quite clearly chosing drug dealing or low wage jobs because the data indicates they are not enlisting in the military.
I suppose that when they sing about soldiers in the rap "songs" they are talking about ganstahs. They certainly don't seem to be rushing to the recruiting station in the same numbers as the better educated kids who have more than the three options Dan provides.
And Kerry is clearly contemptuous of the military and the feeling is mutual. He's loathed by active duty service men and with good reason. It is my belief that they view Kerry with the same utter contempt that they reserve for Jane Fonda.
the saddest part of all this is how his careless, thoughtless words will serve to further divide our country. He lies or misstates or simply propagates the myths and insults those of us connected to the military in the process. I'm not OK with that and I see no reason to be OK with that. It seems to me that the famous quote about Bush applies much more directly to Kerry: He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.
"The reason why this is contemptuous is that it amounts to a claim that the military will accept otherwise unemployable people."
But what if they do?
“Lower Standards Help Army Recuit More
“About 17 percent of the first-time recruits, or about 13,600, were accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving. That is a slight increase from last year, the Army said.”
“Are Neo-Nazis Active In The Military?”
"He estimated it [the number of neo-Nazis in the military] could be thousands based on the investigation, which found racist Web sites giving advice on how to engage in white supremacist activity in the military while avoiding detection. "
You're right, Skip. We should always consider the source (Heritage Foundation?)
"Though Rangel is right that blacks and lower-income Americans still serve in disproportionate numbers, that fact misses another significant trend. While blacks are 20% of the military — compared with 12% of the U.S. population — they make up a far smaller percentage of troops in combat jobs on the front line."
USA Today (and other sources)
The Senator responds:
"If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.
I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq . It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.
The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.
Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they're afraid to debate real men. And this time it won't work because we're going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq ."
I must issue a correction. I did mention blacks. En passant to be sure, but I did mention them.
The thrust of my comment concern Heritage however has nothing to do with race, rather it was with family income.
OH NOES! Kerry is going to lose the election!
Suddenly Iraq is a success! The WMD have been found! The thousands and thousands of dead Iraqis and soldiers have come back to life! There are less terrorists instead of more! The Middle East is stable! Global warming has stopped! America has isn't a torture state! Bin Laden has been captured! The Anthrax mailer revealed!
Yeah kids, jump up and down on a lame joke by a lame jerk as if it matters a whit.
Wouldn't want to talk about anything real would ya?
Salvage makes a vain attempt at changing the subject.
No joy, sorry fellah. Kerry was born with a silver foot in his mouth and he proved it yesterday.
yes, Kerry said what he said and, well, Ice cream still has no bones.
Pudentilla (Nice name):
Stop getting away from the point. Kerry's words reveal his true convictions again and instead of apologizing or standing up for what he said he squeels.
You should be ashamed to be sticking up for him. In fact your comments sound like the exhortations of one who sees the truth but still reflexively strikes out in any direction.
"And Kerry is clearly contemptuous of the military and the feeling is mutual. He's loathed by active duty service men and with good reason. It is my belief that they view Kerry with the same utter contempt that they reserve for Jane Fonda."
Spot on. I can't even imagine having to take orders from that pompous cowardly patrician.
"In fact your comments sound like the exhortations of one who sees the truth but still reflexively strikes out in any direction."
Are you familiar with the concepts of denial and projection?
Why should I be ashamed of a man for misspeaking? What should I be ashamed about? Perhaps I should be ashamed about a President who meekly bows to Muqtada al-Sadr's demand that we cancel efforts to find one of our own kidnapped soldiers. I guess actual evidence of abandoning the troops is less compelling than Kerry's gaffe.
Or perhaps I should be outraged that aides to a Senator have shoved, put into a chokehold and thrown against a window a Marine vet and constituent who had the nerve to ask him a difficult question at a public event. I guess actual evidence of Republican contempt for veterans is less compelling than Kerry's gaffe.
Or perhaps I should be ashamed that Republicans can, in an instant, flood the media with feigned outrage at a verbal gaffe, but cannot, despite controlling both houses of Congress and the Presidency for almost six years pass legislation that would, actually, support troops. I guess actual evidence of refusing to use your political power to support programs that actually, you know, support the troops, is less compelling than Kerry's gaffe.
Trashing Kerry for booting a line in a speech is all you've got? Really? There's a certain Dickensian pleasure in listening to folks blame everything on Clinton, but trashing Kerry? Pedestrian. An utterly pedestrian effort.
What I am pointing out is that this is Kerry's underlying thesis. That he holds members of the military in contempt has been illustrated frequently. This is just the latest episode.
Further, be proud if you so chose. If supporting a man who denigrates the people who volunteer to fight for our country is your choice, by all means, spout about it loudly.
Just don't expect anything but contempt from those of us who do in fact support the military.
It is interesting to see how dishonest some comments are; Take as an example Pudentilla: “Why should I be ashamed of a man for misspeaking? What should I be ashamed about?”
As far as I can see nobody asked you to be ashamed for anything. But since you brought into the discussion the “concepts of denial and projection” maybe you already figured out the answer.
Any normal person apologizes for misspeaking; Kerry went on the attack instead! As you use the same tactic Pudentilla, I find it normal that you would be compelled to be ashamed. Maybe as a sign of atonement you could change your name to IMPUDENTILLA ;)
"You should be ashamed to be sticking up for him. By davod, at Tue Oct 31, 08:12:48 PM "
"As far as I can see nobody asked you to be ashamed for anything. y luc, at Tue Oct 31, 11:18:23 PM"
It must be nice to live in an argumentative universe in which you can literally refuse to see what is before your own eyes.
Watch the tape. Kerry was talking to college students at Pasadena City College (PCC) about their prospects. When he says that they should "make an effort to be smart" (an odd and revealing locution) or they'll end up in Iraq, it seems pretty clear what he meant. It's consistent with what he's said about the military from his earliest days of public notoriety, and it's consistent with what the Left believes about people in the military--that they are poor, deluded pawns who simply don't have the opportunities available to their moral and intellectual superiors in the peace movement (Hi Dan!).
But suppose you're right, suppose Kerry botched a lame joke about his old nemesis. (Admittedly, it wouldn't be the first time Kerry fumbled a stump speech.) Why can't he simply say "I made a mistake, I'm sorry," instead of going on the attack against the VRWC? That's the beauty part. John Kerry is the man who, in his own eyes, can do no wrong. If he falls on a ski slope, it was the Secret Service agent's fault.
Two other things I as a Californian find amusing about this. First, PCC is a community college, and though I know there are many bright and talented students there, like any community college it has its quotient of unserious young people drifting through. It also happens to be right around the corner from one of America's citadels of intellectual achievement, Caltech. No surprise that PCC was the chosen college venue for this speech. Kerry would likely have felt intellectually intimidated at Caltech, and his demagoguery might not have gone over so well with a student body largely devoid of the uncertain and the unmotivated.
Second, Phil Angelides has run one of the most inept campaigns for governor that anyone can recall. He was here in Santa Barbara last week and gave a speech about how Schwarzenegger wasn't making sure that public employee pensions were secure (this is a real winner with private sector taxpayers, most of whom don't have the option of retiring at age 50 at 80% of their salary plus health benefits). So who does Angelides bring in to rescue his dying campaign? John Kerry!