John McCaslin

Ever since 2000, Slate has poked fun at George W. Bush for his "torture" of the English language, saying its "Bushisms" collection "captures the president's ignorance, incuriosity, laziness and thoughtlessness expressed in frequent gaffes."

Democrats, meanwhile, say they have a candidate who speaks more clearly than Bush.

Does he?

"Now that Democrats have settled on a presumptive presidential nominee," Slate's editors write, "it's time to cast a cold eye on the pomposity and evasiveness of John Kerry."

They even explain "how to read a Kerryism," presenting one new caveat each day (or until such time the likely Democratic presidential nominee stops trying to explain his policies).

A few of our favorite Kerryisms:

-"I would never reduce the happiness of any two people. I've been to a commitment ceremony," he said when asked whether he'd attend a homosexual "wedding" if invited by someone close to him.

-"Even the generals in Iraq said the money in that bill had no impact on their ability to continue to fight. We had money all the way, and you know that we would have sat down at a table, we (would) have worked out exactly how we were going to do this intelligently, and we would have had a better bill," he said when asked by NBC's Tim Russert if he would vote a second time against a bill to provide additional money for U.S. troops.

-"I would be against that. I don't think we need it. (The president ought to) reduce the overexposure of America's commitments. A proper approach to the Korean Peninsula, for instance, should include the deployment of troops, the unresolved issues of the 1950s, and could result in a reduction of American presence," he said when asked whether the over-extension of U.S. troops around the world will ultimately lead to the reinstitution of the draft.

-"I will not appoint somebody who's about to undo Roe v. Wade. I've said that before. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn't be prepared to appoint somebody who has a different point of view. I've already voted for people like that. I voted for Judge (Antonin) Scalia." (A self-explanatory comment, we think.)


Rep. Joe Taggart of Kansas, his family at his side, thought he'd picked out the best spot on the East Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to plant a pin oak in his honor in 1916.

Surely the congressman, who died in 1938 at 71, never thought his tree would have to be chopped down years later to make way for an underground U.S. Capitol Visitors Center (not to mention a large bunker to keep members sheltered from terrorists).

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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