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Denenberg: Kerry's 'Joke' Is No Laughing Matter


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Jul 11, 2004
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This is long, but sums things up point by point...

By: Herb Denenberg, Special To The Evening Bulletin
John Kerry succeeded in one thing: He packed more slander and stupidity into one sentence than perhaps anyone in American political history. His critics haven't even begun to unravel the full extent of his disgraceful and disgusting comment.
Here's what he said, and try as he may, he won't be able to spin it or dance and dodge away from his clear, unambiguous words: After saying we're here to talk about education, he said, "If you make the most of it, study hard, do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

1. Now first of all, his attempt to claim this statement was directed not at our troops in Iraq, but at Bush is totally ridiculous. If it were directed at Bush, he would have said something like, "Poor George, if he had made the most of it, if he had studied hard and done his homework and made an effort to be smart, he would have done well. But he did not, so he got us stuck in Iraq." He claims this was directed at Bush and that it was a "botched joke". Now that claim is the best joke he's ever told. If his command of the English language (in a prepared speech, mind you) is not better than that, perhaps you can say the comment was more stupidity than slander.

2. Even if it was a botched joke, you have to wonder about his sensibilities to even be joking about the men and women who are fighting and dying in Iraq, men and women who have volunteered to fight for their country, and many of these men and women who have volunteered to take multiple tours of duty. It doesn't sound like these people were "stuck." It sounds like they were among our most praiseworthy patriots.

3. His statement also shows he doesn't know anything about the military, although he parades his military credentials ad nauseam. Remember, his line at the convention, "I'm John Kerry reporting for duty." He says the American military are uneducated. That is simply not true. The American military now has educational credentials equal to or greater than that of the rest of the population of the same age group.

4. But what's worse, this statement not only insulted the military, but also insults all Americans who, for one reason or another, did not go to college. Of course, Kerry and his fellow practitioners of elitism think that, unless you go to Yale or Harvard, you have no talent or intelligence or career choices. The world is full of people who did not go to college yet displayed talent, intelligence and achievement second to none. There were generations of immigrants who came with little formal and typically no "higher" education, and yet achieved greatness for themselves and their country. Kerry has insulted every one of them.

5. Kerry forgets something else about those who don't go to college. Everyone doesn't have to go to college to succeed and even excel at their chosen vocation. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers and a host of other craftsmen don't need to spend time in the Harvard Yard to learn their trades and to do great work. In fact, we may need more of such trained craftsmen and fewer Harvard lawyers, to mention just one vocational group of the hyper-educated.

6. Kerry, when reporting for duty, did not learn much about the military. Anyone who has ever served (including this writer, who served for over three years and three months in the U.S. Army) quickly learns that the military knows how to train, teach and educate far better than most civilian organizations. They train and teach all the time, and give every one in the service all kinds of other optional opportunities for training and education. Even if you are not trained and educated when you go into the military, you soon will be, whether you like it or not. I had a chance to compare the military's approach to training and teaching with that of two of my employers of about 30 years (two network-owned television stations). The comparison is embarrassing to CBS and NBC. The military can be described as training and teaching virtually all of the time; many of our major corporations, such as the two mentioned, know almost nothing about what it means to train and teach their people.

7. This insult to the military and the country is not a one- time aberration, but fits a pattern of Kerry's that goes back to the Vietnam War. In front of a U.S. Senate foreign relations committee, he accused our troops of rapes, of disemboweling the innocent, of behaving like Genghis Khan. More recently, he said our troops in Iraq terrorized women and children in the dead of night. So Kerry made no mistake; he merely repeated his long-held feelings about our troops. And now, the man who has a long history of slandering our troops says that anyone who thinks he would do so is crazy. I'll leave it to others to decide who is crazy.

8. What's perhaps worse about this is that this is not just another Senator, but a former candidate for President of the Democratic Party. What's more, his views are not his alone but represent much of the leadership of the Democrats, who have long been anti-military and anti-defense spending, and all too willing to slander our servicemen and our American heroes. Remember Sen. Dick Durbin's comparison of American servicemen to Nazis. Remember not only the Democratic Party's anti-military/anti-defense views, but also its consistent opposition to the tools necessary to fight the war against terror. Most recently, by substantial majorities, the Democrats voted against the extension of the Patriot Act, the surveillance program, and the Cia interrogation and detention approach. The Democratic Party's only plank in fighting the war against terror is to cut and run, retreat and surrender and leave Iraq and the whole Middle East to the kind of terrorists responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center and a whole list of atrocities against Americans and others. In addition, the defeatism that permeates Democratic Party pronouncements can do nothing but demoralize our troops, energize our enemies and put the American military and civilian population at risk. Note well that not a single Democratic leader or prominent Democrat immediately dissociated themselves from Kerry's slander or otherwise repudiated his statement.

9. Finally, instead of apologizing for his inexcusable slander, he launched ad hominem attacks on his critics. He called Tony Snow and others "stuffed suits in the White House," "hacks and liars" and suggests no one can criticize him unless they served in the military.

The Democratic Party has simply lost its way. The party of Roosevelt, Truman, Scoop Jackson and other first-class leaders has become the party of Howard Dean, Dick Durbin, Al Sharpton, Cynthia Sheehan, Michael Moore, John Kerry and Jimmy Carter. The party can't be trusted on national defense and the war against terror, which now means they can't be trusted in elective office. If they gain control of Congress, that will be the equivalent of flying a giant white flag in the direction of our enemies. Everyone should understand what is at stake in this election, and act and vote accordingly.
Sen. Kerry's latest slander is a new low. But it is just a continuation of a long downward trajectory of the Democratic Party.

Herb Denenberg, a former Pennsylvania insurance commissioner and professor at the Wharton School, is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. His column appears daily in The Evening Bulletin. You can reach him at
Kerry is a elitist snob and a dolt..And to think he could of become President of the United States.......Scary


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