The Massachusetts senator, who is considering another presidential run in 2008,had opened his speech at Pasadena City College with several one-liners, joking at one point that Bush had lived in Texas but now "lives in a state of denial."
Then he said: "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."
What this statement appears to say is obvious; what I think Kerry meant to say was,
President Bush is a loser who didn't apply himself in school, and look at the pitiful mess he made of the country.
Unfortunately, it didn't come out like that.
Debate is already raging over whether Kerry's statement was accurate, whether he was courageous in saying something so non-PC, and whether his career and presidential hopes are now over.
(No, no, and yes.)
What's intriguing to me is how the fuss over what is at best a lapse of judgment parallels the fuss going on in Canada about the writings and statements of a candidate for high office with similar educational credentials and demeanor: Michael Ignatieff.
From the time "Iggy", as he has not-always-affectionately come to be known, decided to leave his ivory tower (Harvard) and bestow upon us his presence and his genius after an absence of around 30 years, he has repeatedly come under scrutiny for just the sort of gaffe Kerry made.
In fact, Ignatieff, currently running for leadership of the Federal Liberal Party, has managed to alienate the following groups and those who support them:
those opposed to the war in Iraq and the use of torture in interrogations,
(ironically, aka "liberals")
(i.e., those opposed to Quebec separation, probably about 90% of the population.)
Since there is considerable overlap here, except maybe between "Arabs" and "Jews", it is pretty incredible that Iggy continues to be the frontrunner in the leadership race for the Liberal Party.
Either the field is that lame, or his mystique has carried him through thus far; if the latter, I suspect (and hope) that he will fare even less well than Kerry did; if he does make it through the convention and becomes Liberal Leader, it will be a big boost for the Conservative Party of Canada, and that is not necessarily a good thing.