in defense of John Kerry...

Ok, set flamethrowers to 'torch'. Generally, when I write anything political, I find out much later that I offended people. It's the funniest thing - they reference a post from a year back and say "that really ticked me off....but I've been dealing with it." Hooray for adult communication. Anyway, this may assuage the anger of some that I've usually frustrated and stir it up in those who usually cheer, but in the interest of fairness, I've gotta say this.

John Kerry got jacked.

I'm referring, of course, to his horrible attempt at humor a few days ago. In trying to make fun of the President's intellect, he botched the line. Addressing a group of students, he meant to say:
"Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."

Instead, what came out was:

"You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

To be honest, the joke was lame. Some people should not even try to be funny. John Kerry is at the top of that list. Actually, very few politicians should every try to be funny. The very fact that you need to try says a lot. Either you are or you're not, and it's painful to watch people try. We haven't had a lot of funny politicians in recent years. Bill Clinton was funny when he was behaving himself. Lee Atwater was wickedly funny. Ronald Reagan was endearingly funny. John Kerry, you're no Reagan, Atwater, or Bubba.

At the same time, being not-funny is not a crime. It's just a tragedy. Rather than recognize this as a mispeak, the Republicans took the quote and ran with it, insisting Kerry was bashing our troops. For all his inadequacies, John Kerry is not dumb enough to bash our troops. He's awkward, not stupid. To take this quote and misrepresent it is just plain wrong.

Anyone who speaks in front of people says things screwy once in a while. There are a series of books on George Bush's goof ups, with no end in sight for the series. Once, while describing our Burning Man efforts at a conference of a few hundred pastors, I said "We raised $6000 and spent it all on camping beer." I meant camping gear. It just happens.

All that to say that this was unfair. Again, it's not immoral to be goofy. Republicans, please let Mr. Kerry implode on his own.


Anna Blanc said...

Thanks for giving me an "aha!" moment. I thought it was odd that a politician would say something like that on purpose, obviously digging his own grave. Nice to know it was a mistake.

Brent Steeno said...

Wow! For once I really disagree with you!! This could make for some awkward times in the prayer room.

I do not think what Kerry said was a lame attempt at a joke. Whats in his heart came out and we found out what John Kerry really thinks. I find the fact that you buy the idea that it was a botched joke a bit strange as well.

Look at what Kerry said back in 1972 "a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown." "During a Vietnam-era run for congress three decades ago, John Kerry said he opposed a volunteer Army because it would be dominated by the underpivileged, be less accountable and be more prone to "the perpetuation of war crimes." - courtesy of the Drudgereport!

I think, Randy, Mr. Kerry did implode on his own without the help of the republicans.

I love you Randy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brent Steeno said...

in spite fo this I will continue to read your blog. One bad post out of 1000 thousand is ok with me I guess!

Brent Steeno said...

One more thing...

If this was a blotched joke why did it take Kerry so long to apologize? In fact if I remember he refused to at first saying he did not say anything wrong.

Randy Bohlender said...

Steeno...there is a line by Shakespeare that says "methinks thou dost protest too much...". I think this is the first time I have generated comments longer than the post.

He refused to apologize at first because he insisted it was an error, not an offense. I'm not saying he was smart. I'm just saying that in this one instance, he was probably sincere and is getting railroaded.

How did I end up defending John Kerry? Surely these are the end times.

Brent Steeno said...

Thats what I am saying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HA! HA! HA!

I love it!

cathy said...

I'll jump in here and say that when Kerry let those words out of his mouth, joke or no joke, it was like an early Christmas gift in our house! This is politics - and the Republicans have every right to run with it. The Democrats are currently crucifying poor Joe Lieberman, who they used to support, and have called Bush everything from a loser to Hitler. I think it's not too much to go with an obvious bad statement on Kerry's part (and an intial refusal to apologize!) and use it to bring up Kerry's statements in 1972, as well as remind the American people that HE was almost POTUS! A very scary thought! We thought it was hilarious!

Randy Bohlender said...

Brent - how's that Debate Team scholarship working for you? :)

Cathy - I still believe the end does not justify the means. Did I laugh when I realize what he did? Uh, yeah. But to intentionally mislead people about what he meant is just wrong. I'm a republican. But before I'm a republican, I'm honest.

utech said...

Randy I have to whole heartedly disagree with you. John Kerry has over a 30 year history of loathing the US Military. Kerry's speech prior to the 'statement' in question was barrage of criticism of the President he then paused and began addressing the students that were his audience.
The insistence that the 'statement' was a botched joke aimed at the President is an insult to the thinking public of America.
Once Kerry's records were released after the 2004 campaign, it was shown that President Bush was a better student (by 1% in CGPA). If Kerry's insistence that Bush is "stuck" because he did bad in school then wouldn't Kerry be more "stuck" due to his worse grades?
Kerry's latest "apology" isn't even an apology. He apologized for those of us who were offended because we didn't "get it".
Heck, even Hillary Clinton said, “What Sen. Kerry said was inappropriate” - Kerry should take a hint from Clinton and Imus and just shut up.
Fortunately this will all stop for a few hours after next Tuesday.

cathy said...

Well, no one can ever know what's inside John Kerry's mind, but our wonderful Lord himself. Perhaps he did flub the joke, but perhaps, he also thinks exactly what he said. :)

I'm quite sure the Republicans actually thought initially that he meant what he said, and hence they used the chance to jump on it. I don't think they were intentionally misleading anyone at the time. But for those who work in this arena, it was a chance to show the American people exactly why he should not be elected for anything. Joke or no joke.

As for John Kerry's arrogance and refusal to initially apologize, it's interesting to me that he in fact, was the first one to demand that Trent Lott resign (with no chance to apologize) when all he said was something nice about a guy who was a segregationist waaaaaaaay back when he was a DEMOCRAT running for president.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have a former KLANSMAN they elected to be their leader in the senate, third in line to president. They can apologize and atone, but according to them, not Republcians - they must resign. It runs both ways in politics.

I don't think there was any misleading initially by the Republicans. I do think, however, that once he apologized, he should be forgiven for that incident and then it should go out with yesterday's newspapers. However, there is an election in less than a week and a huge fight for power and I can at least understand it. Most of them are sinners after all. Especially the media people in both parties who are putting this out there. (That's my Canadian 2cents! hahaha...)

Jenny Powell said...

John kerry and political stuff aside - I oughta tell you sometime what i accidentally said when I first met all of caleb's extended family. We were at one of our wedding showers and I don't think I've ever turned that red before. fortunately, caleb and alisha were the only ones who heard it, or i would have NEVER lived it down. :)

Randy Bohlender said...

OK, just so I understand everyone...it's ok to run with this because the Democrats would have done the same thing given half a chance? That's the kind of rational that gets my kids grounded.

In order to take the high road, one occasionally has to actually do the right thing, not just talk about it.

Agreed: Kerry is not qualified to be a dog catcher in a one horse town. But that alone is not enough to warp a guys' words. Should he have addressed it right away and clarified? Absolutely...but this guy is an arrogant, boorish person. No use in suddenly expecting decency or humilty from him....however, I still expect it from the rest of us, and the political capitalization on his goof was lame.

I say we do better or lose trying. Sometimes the win is too costly.

Sean MacNair said...

"In order to take the high road, one occasionally has to actually do the right thing, not just talk about it."


When Christians get involved in politics, sometimes they forget to be Christians.

jen said...

Interesting comment: "When Christians get involved in politics." Are we not allowed? And is politics something that should be a separate part of who we are that we have to "get involved" in it? Shouldn't it just be an extension of who we are? Hmmm...

Sean MacNair said...

"Interesting comment: "When Christians get involved in politics." Are we not allowed? And is politics something that should be a separate part of who we are that we have to "get involved" in it? Shouldn't it just be an extension of who we are? Hmmm..."

Theoretically it should just be an extension of who we are. In actuality, when people get that first little rush of power, that first little taste of the "win at all costs" mentality that is a part of all political parties, then they forget that first and foremost they need to behave like Christians. The operative word in the phrase "a Christian witness in the political arena" should be Christian.

Should be, but not often is.

cathy said...


I'm certainly not saying because the Democrats would have run with this, that it's ok for the Republicans to do so. I'm saying that initially I don't believe the Republicans thought John Kerry botched a joke. Initially, it looked like he insulted the troops. And the Republicans had every right to respond to a statement like that. I do however think that since he has apologized for his misstatement, the Republicans should just let it rest, already. You don't expect Kerry to have decency or humility but you seem to expect everyone in the Republican party to act according to our Christian beliefs. As I said before, they aren't all Christians and I can certainly see why they are taking advantage of the misstatement and running with it during this last week before the election.

However, Republicans take the high road all the time! They forgive and don't fight back on so many issues that it almost makes them wimpy when it comes to the political arena.

This goof by Kerry is surely not going to win or lose the election for the Democrats. I also believe the Republicans will win by doing better.

Sean MacNair said...

"However, Republicans take the high road all the time!"

Certainly you forgot the smiley emoticon? That's pretty funny. But since this is Randy's electronic living room and not my own, I'll refrain from commenting.

cathy said...

I knew someone was going to jump on that! hahaha... Well, not all the time, but more often than most people realize, actually, was my point.

It is politics, and they're not perfect by any means....but I'd say they're not overall as hateful and harsh as some of the Democrats in the way they fight for what they believe. As I said, just my Canadian 2 cents - from a person who can't vote for either!