Kerry comment won’t blow over anytime soon

By Freedom Newspapers

John Kerry is the gift that just keeps on giving — to the Republicans. He did come around with an apology Wednesday to any service members who might have been offended by his remarks at Pasadena City College last week. The question is whether that will be enough to make this episode go away.

Even if you give him the full benefit of the doubt — that the immortal words he uttered to a student audience, “Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq” were aimed at President Bush and not a disparagement of U.S. troops — it was a flat, unfunny and thoroughly mean-spirited “joke.”

Simply to say it, whether it was off-the-cuff or something written in his notes, reflects the thoroughly unearned sense of superiority that many found so troubling about Kerry the last time he ran for office.

The most astounding (and perhaps revealing) aspect of the episode was Sen. Kerry’s cluelessly self-righteous refusal to apologize immediately for what could have been seen as a minor gaffe if he had treated it intelligently.

The statement obviously can be seen as a slam at the educational attainments of U.S. troops in Iraq. It’s also difficult not to wonder whether there’s a subconscious kind of time warp in operation, with Kerry stuck in a Vietnam-era set of attitudes that just doesn’t fit in the era of the all-volunteer military.

He could have said something like this: “I know some thought I was disparaging our troops. It certainly wasn’t meant that way, but I take full responsibility for this ambiguous faux pas and apologize to any members of the military who felt offended. Our troops are fine, well-educated and well-trained young women and men who are ill-served by our top leaders.” If he had, we probably wouldn’t be discussing this now.

Instead, his immediate response was petulant and immature, blaming everybody but himself for the words that came out of his mouth. In the process he probably hurt his party’s prospects in the upcoming election.

At least Democrats can be grateful that he has probably torpedoed any chance of being taken seriously as a presidential candidate in 2008.