Wednesday, November 01, 2006

As Iraq descends into chaos, GOP discovers new all-purpose talking point -- blame John Kerry


The news from Iraq has been devastating (click chart to enlarge), and with a week to go until an election in which the war is the main issue, Karl Rove's GOP spin machine was in desperate need of a new talking point to drown out the obvious. Fortunately, John Kerry's underwhelming way with a punch line gave them what they thought they needed. Now, now matter how bad the news, all they need to do to change the subject is, like the pod people in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," point at John Kerry and start screeching.

U.S Central Command charts movement of conflict in Iraq toward chaos. Blame John Kerry.

Conservative commentator charges that "The commander-in-chief has abandoned an American soldier to the tender mercies of a Shiite militia." Blame John Kerry.

October U.S. death toll in Iraq hits 104 -- fourth highest since war began. Blame John Kerry.

Sure, Kerry handled his statement and its aftermath clumsily, but it was pretty clear what he meant. Personally, I think the GOP has run out of ways to defend their abysmal track record and has gone to the Kerry well once too often -- too many Americans have made up their minds about Iraq. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." When the Rovian attack machine slimed war hero John Kerry in 2004, enough of the public gave their wartime leader George Bush the benefit of the doubt and the time to finish what he started. Now, not so much. Especially since he seems to have started turning over command of U.S. forces in Baghdad to Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

1 comment:

Dr Diablo said...

Funny you should mention the Pod People, because I've always thought that Kerry was one. The blow-dried stiff makes Al Gore seem as folksy and human as Gomer Pyle. When I see Kerry on TV, trying to blend in with us Regular Guys, I always think, "What have you done with John Kerry?"

Since I can't stand Kerry, it pains me to express sympathy for him, but express it I shall. U.S. media outlets create half the crises they cover. They dig around in a politician's past, publicize some sordid fact, and then report on how he handles the revelation. They circle overhead waiting for him to make an infelicitous statement they can headline; we then get days and days of reportage as his apology, or lack thereof, gets analyzed.

Journalists are equal opportunity predators and will savage a politician of any race, creed, or party affiliation. This is why a lot of capable Americans do not seek elective office. The demise of the informal press conference is largely due to the perils of an offhanded remark getting misinterpreted or grossly inflated in significance.

Kerry may have juggled his wisecrack, but do we really want politicos who are afraid to crack jokes? One way to tell pod people from real folks is that pod people lack spontaneity and have no sense of humor.

I can't believe I just defended John Kerry. Barkeep, another double.