I honestly don't believe Kerry was joking when he warned students they better stay in school lest they wind up in Iraq, nor do I believe, based on his initial reaction of indignation, that he was sincere in the apology that he was browbeaten into giving. Those questions aside, the more important point is that Kerry's statement has had the effect of placing the Democrats' approach toward defense, the war on terror and the military under a microscope, and nothing could be worse for them -- politically.
That Kerry doesn't share a high opinion of our military is born out by his categorical defamation of his fellow Vietnam vets upon returning from Vietnam. Indeed, he launched his political career on the backs of those soldiers, whom he fraudulently alleged had routinely committed atrocities. Very recently he reaffirmed his remarks by emphasizing that he had "told the truth" when he came back from Vietnam.
Kerry also wildly accused our troops in Iraq of terrorizing women and children in their homes. Viewing his remarks in the light most favorable to him, he was "throwing the soldiers under the bus" for the sake of trashing our operation in Iraq. The reputation of our troops was an acceptable casualty for him when he returned from Vietnam. Why not today as well?
Kerry's remarks and his intent are relevant, not only because he still has presidential aspirations, though he's pretty much sabotaged those, but because he was the Democrats' presidential nominee in 2004. The party chose him well aware of his proclivities, and its own.
Kerry's statements might well mark a turning point in the campaign, following which Democrats will no longer get a pass from voters on their notorious softness on national security and the war and their arrogant refusal to offer an alternative agenda on Iraq.
This heightened voter scrutiny will remind voters that it was the Democrats who conspired to disqualify military ballots in 2000. It is Democrats who embrace far-left anti-war groups like Moveon.org and leftist blogs like Daily Kos. It is Democrats who have glorified Michael Moore, who publicly rooted for the enemy in Iraq. It is Democrats who have rushed to judgment to presume the guilt of our soldiers in Iraq accused of crimes. It is liberal professors who sneer at the military and the ROTC. It is Democrats who have essentially indicted the military by saying we haven't done enough to train Iraqi troops and haven't wisely conducted the Iraq war, since President Bush has largely delegated the running of the war and the training of the troops to the generals.