Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Botched rationale

As Election Day in the 2006 midterms was approaching, it appeared Republicans were going to lose complete control of Congress. Such a coup would render GOP President George W. Bush moot in his final two years in the White House. While the Dems ultimately were able to wrest control of the House and Senate, it wasn't due to lack of effort by the GOP, especially when they attempted to use then Senator John Kerry's ill fated attempt at humor against Democrats.

"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. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Hearing the statement, one would ascertain that Kerry was implying our soldiers were dumb. He attempted to explain it away as a "botched joke."

Kerry said yesterday that he meant it as a dig at Bush, and his office released a copy of the prepared remarks he was supposed to deliver: "I can't overstress the importance of a great education. 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. Just ask President Bush."

While Kerry's party wasn't harmed at the polls in 2006, it effectively ended any aspirations he may have had to once again run for President in 2008. Heck, even his fellow Democrat Senator (and '08 presidential hopeful) Hillary Clinton threw Kerry under the bus, calling his comment "inappropriate." Conservative writer Jonah Goldberg piled on, calling him a "human toothache with the charisma of a 19th-century Oxford Latin tutor."

Fast forward nine years to Tuesday where Kerry still demonstrated verbal ineptitude.

Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Tuesday that there was a “rationale” for the assault on satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, unlike the more recent attacks in Paris.

“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that," Kerry said in Paris, according to a transcript of his remarks. "There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, OK, they’re really angry because of this and that.”

“This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people,” he continued.

Of course, many on the political right were quick to jump on those remarks, essentially saying that Kerry was insinuating the staff at Charlie Hebdo had it coming. Personally, I don't believe that is at all what he was attempting to say, especially given his reputation for rhetorical missteps.

With all that said, I can hardly be critical of those who believe Kerry implied the CH employees were "asking for it." After all, the Obama administration has a recent history of not standing firm on the tenets of free speech, particularly in the aftermath of both the Charlie Hebdo and Benghazi incidents. Heck, as part of the butt-covering exercise in blaming a YouTube video for the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, the filmmaker of said video was arrested.

The bottom line is jihadists don't draw any distinctions when wreaking havoc. Whether people are mocking the prophet Mohammed or partaking in western culture indulgences, radical Islamists don't seem to concern themselves with what is the greater affront to their cause.


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