Poor John Kerry. Everyone is blaming him for a joke gone awry. Admittedly it was a joke that could be seen as being in poor taste -- get a good education or you'll end up stuck in Iraq -- implying that only dumb kids end up in the Army. No doubt, there are some kids who end up in the Army because they can't get a job anywhere else. But there are also a lot who end up there because that's the only way to pay for a college education. Or because their family has a history of military service. Or they went to the USMA.
Still, it isn't the first (nor I suspect the last time) that I've heard the comment that you'd better get good grades because the only thing you can do with a high school diploma these days is work at McDonalds or Walmart or join the Army.
The original joke which, according to Kerry, went something along the lines of "get a good education or you'll end up like Bush, sending kids to Iraq," was even worse. If anything we should be crediting Kerry for some quick thinking that turned a nasty and somewhat nonsensical jab at Bush into a humorous poke at Republicans who've sent pretty much anyone they can to war, including reservists who were sorely needed at home.
Honestly, the Republicans deserve some needling on this point.
As for the original joke... Bush's lackluster academic career has a lot less to do with him getting us into a war with Iraq than his spoiled little rich boy, oil tycoon, evangelical materialist ethics. The failure in his education seems to be not an academic failure, but a moral one.
Whether the whole thing is being blown out of proportion or not, it is certainly the case that John Kerry is getting a bum wrap. He most surely didn't write the joke himself -- some speech writer did. He probably didn't even vet the speech prior to reading it outloud, his staff members would have been responsible for that. I suspect that is one speech writer who is looking for a job right about now. Either way, it's sad to see Kerry having to take the fall.politics