Ah, It Was All Looking So Good
Ooops. John Kerry took the perfectly good frame in which we have been discussing politics (Iraq, corruption, messing with pages, the unitary executive, it was pretty pimped out, I can tell you), busted it to pieces and replaced it with the one that looked hip in the nineties and early part of this century (Democrats are stuck-up, pointy-headed elitists). But it's kind of daggy and dated.
But damn it if it doesn't look strangely familiar to our friends in the media. You might listen to the readers of Talking Points Memo, who believe, variously, that John Kerry mangling a sentence to utter something that sounded condescending to soldiers is no big deal, or is going to doom the Democrats in military districts. Gilliard sez deep breath, as does the the Bunchster.
Kerry has come out fighting, saying that he does not insult the military, and is more on their side than the president. Which is quite possibly true. And to be honest, if Kerry had come out and said that given what the US has subjected its soldiers to of late, kids with bright futures really should look twice before joining the army right now, he'd be fine ("It breaks my heart to see what the president has done to our wonderful military").
But he didn't. He came over as snooty. He provided a gaffe-driven process story to a media that has struggled to stay awake covering death, violence, racism, and the usual mechanics of a 21st century campaign. There's probably a find-and-replace macro in the newsroom of the Washington Post that can update stories from Kerry's 04 utterances and get them up in seconds.
It's a stupidly easy remark for the press, and the president to seize upon. Bush looked more animated saying "our soldiers are plenty smart" than he has all year. More importantly, this nonsense is leading on New York Frickin' One as I type this. If Kristen Shaughnessy can get her head round this, you can be sure the meme is zinging round the coffee tables that Democrats are pointy-headed elitists. Is not good.