Campaigning with California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides Monday, John Kerry told a crowd at Pasadena City College: â€œYou 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.â€
Kerry’s folks say he was talking about W. and not belittling the troopsâ€”many of whom are indeed â€œstuckâ€ there longer than their tours were supposed to last. I can buy it, if for no other reason that Kerry served in Vietnam and hasn’t ever insulted the troops.
The GOP’s response? In addition to the RNC issuing a knee-jerk press release and John McBushAsslickerCain calling the comment â€œinsensitiveâ€, the White House Snowed in with this (also from Salon):
Tony Snow said today that Kerry â€œnot only owes an apology to those who are serving, but also to the families of those who have given their lives in this.â€ Snow said that Democratic candidates like Jim Webb and Tammy Duckworth should be asked whether they’re in accord with Kerry’s â€œabsolute insult.â€
This is the point, I thought to myself as I read the article, where John Kerry will take 15 minutes to ramble on about the niceties of rhetoric and political stumping and end up with the GOP being the final voice anyone was actually listening to.
But no! Kerry speaks up in the way he spoke up after serving in Vietnam, with conviction and passion. Here’s the remainder of the article:
Kerry will hold a press conference later today. In the meantime, he has issued a statement in which he pushes back hard. â€œIf 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,â€ Kerry said. â€œThis 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.â€<br/> <br/>Kerry said he won’t be â€œlecturedâ€ by a â€œstuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podiumâ€ or by â€œdoughy Rush Limbaugh,â€ and that he’s disgusted when â€œRepublican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country, lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.â€ If anyone owes the troops an apology, he said, it’s â€œGeorge 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.â€
Wow. Snow = stuffed suit White House mouthpiece. Rush Limbaugh = doughy. And the current reality stated more baldly than any Democrat has been able to do so far.
Is this the tipping point?