Apparently, John Kerry has grown jealous of Howard Dean’s record-setting propensity to say stupid things that help Republicans. I was going to write a detailed post about the stuffed shirt Massachusetts Senator’s comments, but then I read Jonah Goldberg’s column on the topic:
Kerry insists he was making a joke about President Bush, not a joke about students who aren’t smart enough to do better than the military. While there’s virtually nothing in the text or video of his remarks to lend support for this, save for a wan smile he offered to the mute audience, it’s possible that was his intent. After all, Kerry is an awful politician, a human toothache with the charisma of a 19th-century Oxford Latin tutor. One can’t rule out the possibility that he simply botched a joke.
If it was a joke, it was a pretty bad one, even for him. First, Bush got better grades than Kerry at Yale. More relevant, if launching the Iraq war is a sign of stupidity and a failure to do one’s homework, Kerry should avoid calling attention to the fact that he voted to approve it and defended that vote throughout his 2004 presidential campaign.
But whether or not it was a joke, it certainly sounded like Kerry was talking about the troops, because that’s the way Kerry talks about everything. Kerry’s a bit like one of those cavemen from the Geico commercials, only he’s a throwback to a slightly more recent era: Vietnam. All of his ideas were formed from his experience as an anti-Vietnam crusader. He may have run as a born-again war hero in 2004, but his political career was founded on his activism against a war he repeatedly labeled a crime.
That’s why few gave Kerry the benefit of the doubt. The idea that the military is the last refuge for the lumpen-proletariat is a Vietnam-era chestnut that continues to pop up in liberal talking points. It wasn’t very accurate during Vietnam, and it’s even less so now. A timely study of the demographics of enlistees in our all-volunteer military found that the share of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods has declined steadily since 1999 and throughout the war.
Spot on, Jonah.