Larry Elder

In the wake of the Democratic congressional victories, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. -- perhaps more than any other Democrat -- heaved a sigh of relief.

Speaking to students at California's Pasadena City College on Oct. 30, 2006, the former presidential candidate said, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and 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."

As for the number of those offended, let us count the ways.

A straightforward reading of his remarks makes it pretty clear that John Kerry considers people in the military stupid, devoid of other options. Kerry attempted to dismiss the remark by calling it a "botched joke," an attempt to take a swipe at President Bush. You know, President Bush equals stupid, equals improperly analyzing the situation in Iraq, equals the U.S. getting "stuck" in Iraq.

Question: As between Bush and Kerry, which one actually made better grades in college? Answer: They both attended Yale as undergraduates, with Bush's GPA at 77 to Kerry's 76. Kerry received four D's in his freshman year, in geology, two history classes and political science.

What about Kerry's assertion that, in effect, called today's military enlistees dumb? The facts do not support Kerry's slam. Today's average recruit is more likely to have graduated from high school than a non-recruit. Many officers have graduate degrees.

Bill Carr, acting deputy under secretary for military personnel policy, said in December 2005 that more than 90 percent of recruits have a high school diploma, compared to 75 percent of civilian youth. And on aptitude tests, says Carr, today's recruit scores much higher average aptitudes than do non-recruit youths. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test is designed so that the average young person scores at 50 percent. Yet in fiscal 2005, 67 percent of recruits scored above the 60th percentile on that test.

The "Today" show's Matt Lauer attempted to help the senator. After all, said Lauer, surely Kerry, a vet, did not intend to demean the military. Over at ABC, Charlie Gibson, too, offered up that damage-control opinion. But when it comes to demeaning the military, however, Kerry is a serial offender. Last year, he accused soldiers in Iraq of " . . . going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing women and children. . . . "

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit