By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

He said what he said

Jay Fitzgerald on the Kerry snafu: “The guy’s a first-class dork. We all know it. We all know he didn’t mean what he said. We all also know he didn’t mean what he said what he said when he was defending what he said. We all know his criticism of the Bush adminstration’s criticism of his criticism and his counter criticism of the Bush adminstration’s criticism was total BS. We all know it.”

Jon Keller: “The Republicans apparently believe Sen. John Kerry’s typically obnoxious ‘joke’ about President Bush, bungled in the delivery to sound like a slap at the educational achievements of our troops, is a blunt instrument they can use to beat the Democrats bloody … We’ll see what the next few days bring. If this story has legs, backlash builds, and it winds up demonstrably hurting the Democrats on November 7, Kerry can pretty much kiss his 2008 presidential hopes goodbye. Even if it doesn’t, Kerry’s grating, self-serving gracelessness has once again been exposed to an appalled electorate.”

Interesting. Neither Fitzgerald nor Keller likes Kerry particularly — in fact, I think it’s fair to say that Keller loathes him — yet each immediately understands that Kerry’s ridiculous joke was meant to be aimed at President Bush, not the troops. Yet neither Fitzgerald nor Keller is inclined to cut Kerry any slack, either. Kerry just hasn’t engendered any good will over the years, so there’s nothing he can fall back on now this side of the Daily Kos.

Two anecdotes.

This morning, someone from the heart of Kerry’s political base — a liberal professor who was, yes, wearing a bow tie — told me that he immediately took Kerry’s “joke” as an insult to American troops who weren’t smart enough to go to Yale and live in Louisburg Square. Wow. I disagree, but, on the other hand, Kerry said what he said, didn’t he?

On the other hand, Don Imus (yes, he’s still on the air) slapped Sen. Rick Santorum when Santorum tried to claim that Kerry was insulting the troops, telling him that not only did he not believe it, but he didn’t believe Santorum believed it, either. For what it’s worth.

The subhead on the Boston Herald front page today says it all: “Gaffe may cost Dems … and KO his prez bid.”

Jeff Jacoby reminds us of a column he wrote two years ago on Kerry’s uproarious sense of humor.

Finally, a Media Nation request: If you find the full transcript of Kerry’s remarks from Monday, please pass it along — I’d like to post a link.

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  1. Anonymous

    Two thoughts:Why is a successful, accomplished gazillionaire so obviously insecure in his jokes and comments?I had missed the Jacoby piece first time around. He was right, we do shoot people in Lynn.

  2. mike_b1

    Keller and Fitz again demonstrate that the press and truth are two concepts that don’t go together.Don’t those egomaniacs realize that by exploiting this, they are just undermining the media’s credibility on everything?No, they don’t.

  3. Anonymous

    Jon Keller is an example of how personal relations in the media can inflate a reputation and preempt criticism. One should ask of him that he apply the same “standards” to both left and right wing politicians. Imagine if he applied his “standards” for Kerry to Bush. After all, was any “joke” more offensive or awkward than Bush’s skit — before the laughing media, no less — about looking for WMD in the White House. Jon Keller has been a velvet-gloved right wing hit man for two decades. He should not be protected by his friends in the media from fair criticism.

  4. Peter Porcupine

    Who is helping John Kerry with his apologies? Deval Patrick?A quick – I misspoke, I am very sorry, I MEANT to mock the school credentials of the guy who had a higher GPA than I did at Yale – would have killed the whole thing.It’s his snotty, patrician attitude that caused the problem.

  5. Anonymous

    Ugh. Please drop out now. Why is he even considering a run? He will undoubtedly lose again and cause Democrats endless trouble while he ruins everything he touches. And we have to win this time. Really, the Republicans ought to lay off him for now in hopes that he runs. Loser. Loser. Loser.Whit

  6. Anonymous

    Irony, thy name is Peter Porcupine.

  7. Anonymous

    It’s one of the things that is left unspoken…but believed by many people……that if you don’t have a good academic run, or a bright future….you go into the military service.Many more people believe that than are willing so say it.I think what came out of Kerry’s mouth, was an impromptu line…..not well thought out or delivered….but saying something that a lot of people believe.No, about it being a “bad joke”… How was it supposed to be delivered so it could be funny?I can’t imagine that line being part of a joke.

  8. Anonymous

    11:53,I’d be careful what I wish for, unless you want to go about proving the existence of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy in the media. Keller is on in Boston. Katie has a whole country.Whit,Line of the day goes to Letterman, “Kerry has figured out how to lose elections he’s not running in yet”.

  9. o-fish-l

    John Kerry is the gift that keeps on giving for us Republicans. Sometimes I think he is remote controlled by Karl Rove since we couldn’t ask for better gaffes. Keep it up Johnny, we hardly knew ye.

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