by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
Kerry surely must be one of the saddest Democratic liabilities around. Some afterthoughts about his latest gaffe, which is one of those rare glimpses into an entire troubled ideology:
(1) How could John Kerry, born into privilege, and then marrying and divorcing and marrying out of and back into greater inherited wealth, lecture anyone at a city college about the ingredients for success in America? If he were to give personal advice about making it, it would have to be to marry rich women. Nothing he has accomplished as a senator or candidate reveals either much natural intelligence or singular education. Today, Democrats must be wondering why they have embraced an overrated empty suit, and ostracized a real talent like Joe Lieberman.
(2) How could Kerry possibly claim that he was thinking of the uneducated in the context of George Bush, who, after all, went to Harvard and Yale?
(3) Some of the brightest and most educated Americans are not only in the military, but veterans of Iraq. Two of the best educated minds I have met — Col. Bill Hix and Lt. Col. Chris Gibson, both Hoover Security Fellows — were both Iraqi veterans. What is striking about visiting Iraq is the wealth of talent there, from privates to generals. Without being gratuitously cruel, the problem of mediocrity is not in the ranks of the military, but on our university campuses, where half-educated professors and non-serious students killing time are ubiquitous. Personally, I’d wager the intelligence of a Marine Corps private any day over the average D.C. journalist. Every naval officer I met at the USNA, without exception, seemed brighter than John Kerry, whose “brilliance”, after all, has managed to offend millions of voters on the eve of a pivotal election. If the Democrats lose, it will be almost painful to watch the recriminations against Kerry fly.
(4) This is not the first, but third, time he has denigrated soldiers in the middle of a war-and there is a systematic theme: John Kerry’s assumed superior morality allows him to pass judgment from on high about supposedly lesser folk who become tools of a suspect military: thus we go from limb-loppers and Genghis’ hordes to terrorists to dead-beats. The only constant is that the haughtiness is always delivered in the same sanctimonious, self-righteous, and patronizing tone.
(5) The mea culpa that Democrats are blaming the war and not the warriors is laughable after Sens. Durbin, Kennedy, and Kerry have collectively compared American soldiers to Nazis, Pol Pot’s killers, Stalinists, terrorists, and Baathists.
(6) The problem is that Kerry is not just a senator, but the most recent presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, and thus in some sense, especially given the diminution of Howard Dean, the megaphone of the entire party.
(7) His pathetic clarification, as he blamed everyone from Tony Snow to Rush Limbaugh, displayed the same Al Gore derangement syndrome, and thus raises a larger question: what is it about George Bush that seems to reduce once sober and experienced liberal pros to infantile ranting?
(8) And why is the supposedly lame Bush so careful in speech, and the self-acclaimed geniuses like a Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, or Howard Dean serially spouting ever more stupidities? For all the Democrats’ criticism of George Bush, I can’t think of a modern President who has so infrequently put his foot in his public mouth, and, by the same token, can’t think of any opposition that on the eve of elections seems to have an almost pathological death wish.
The Democrats should use this occasion to have an autopsy of Kerryism, or this strange new tony liberalism, that has turned noblesse oblige on its head. It used to be that millionaire FDRs and JFKs felt sympathy for those of the lower classes and wished to ensure that the hoi polloi had some shot at the American dream. But today’s elite liberals-a Howard Dean, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, George Soros, Ted Turner — love the high life and playact at being leftists simply because they are already insulated from the effects of their own nostrums that always come at someone poorer’s expense while providing them some sort of psychological relief from guilt. Poor Harry Truman must be turning over in his grave — from bourbon, cigars, and poker to wind-surfing and L.L. Bean costume-of-the-day says it all.
©2006 Victor Davis Hanson