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"I seem to have tapped into some deep vein of insanity here"

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Saith the Derb, in the midst of the kind of circus that compels him to be the voice of reason. Let’s take increasingly pathetic Republican hatchet-woman Ann Althouse, who claims that “Kerry is outrageously lying when he says he wasn’t referring to the troops.” Needless to say, she doesn’t deign to share the evidence underlying that conclusion. Is it Kerry’s tie? Has he put on a few pounds? Based on her commenters, it would seem to be a sort of endless last-refuge-of-a-scoundrel feedback loop: when you start with the evidence-free assertion that John Kerry hates American troops, then all statements made by John Kerry become further evidence that he hates the troops, QED.

Anyway, this is just nonsense. Kerry–a decorated veteran–doesn’t hate the troops, and it would be obvious to a reasonably bright five-year-old that Kerry’s statement was a clumsy joke about Bush. Since others have already quoted the Derb’s first argument, I’ll cite this one:

…from several readers — and, obviously some of my Corner colleagues — that I would dare to suggest that John Kerry was not slandering our troops.

But he wasn’t. He may regard them with contempt (my personal impression is that JK regards most of the human race with contempt); he may despise them; he may think they’re dumb crackers; but T-H-A-T-‘-S N-O-T W-H-A-T H-E S-A-I-D.

What he said was: “You 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.”

Who is stuck in Iraq? Not the common soldier, who just does a tour of duty, as Kerry himself knows from (sorry to bring it up) experience. Who’s stuck in Iraq? George W. Bush is stuck in Iraq. That was the point of Kerry’s joke. Which he botched. No fair-minded person, watching Kerry deliver those lines, could think otherwise.

I’m not carrying any water for John Kerry. I wrote this about John Kerry, and a good deal more uncomplimentary stuff besides. I don’t like John Kerry. I didn’t vote for John Kerry. Truth is truth, though, even when applied to John Kerry. If you can’t handle the truth, that’s your problem.

This couldn’t be more straightforward; in John Cole’s words “he was trying to insult the President and not the troops.” You’ll note that even the Cornerites who want to push the story concede that Kerry’s explanation is “plausible” or “likely.” And this non-story is being pushed by the likes of Glenn Reynolds, who couldn’t spend enough time pushing the Swift Boat Liar’s smearing of Kerry’s military service during the campaign. What’s “outrageous” is the likes of Althouse and Reynolds using the troops being put in harm’s way for a disastrous war they’ve both uncritically supported as a prop to allow them to return to their personality-based obsession with John Kerry. What a disgrace.

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