After President Bush's terrific speech at the Republican National Convention, John F. Kerry decided he wasn't the type to take a piece of political shrapnel in the rear without fighting back. And so he rose to his feet, took a hit of botox and stepped to the microphone. "I have five words for Americans," he boomed imperiously. "This is your wake up call!"
Except that this was six words. Or, as columnist Mark Steyn put it, "It's all very nuanced, according to whether you hyphenate the 'wake-up.' Maybe he should have said, 'I have four words plus a common hyphenated expression for Americans.' I'd suggest the rewrite to him personally, but I don't want him to stare huffily at me and drone, 'How dare you attack my patriotism.'"
But Kerry wasn't finished making a purple-hearted ass of himself. Punch drunk, he explained to the crowd: "Tonight in America, something very important in the fabric of our life took place. Very, very important. The Red Sox pulled to two-and-a-half games out of the Yankees. Now, I think that's important!" Except that the Red Sox had not pulled to within 2.5 games of the hated Yankees -- they remained 3.5 games behind them.
This may sound nitpicky, but there is a point: When John Kerry commits a gaffe, the media ignores it. I searched LexisNexis for the word-counting slip, but not one mainstream newspaper noted it. No one noted the baseball blunder, either.
Yet when President Bush made this error on Aug. 5: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we" -- it received huge media play. It garnered a mocking story from the Associated Press: "President Bush offered up a new entry for his catalog of 'Bushisms' on Thursday ... " An op/ed in the Chicago Sun-Times commented, Bush "can't think on his feet. The stuff that pops out of his mouth continues to amaze." The New York Times characterized the mistake as a "Freudian slip."
Books written about President Bush's gaffes fill shelves. President Bush even ridiculed his penchant for silly mistakes in his nomination speech: "People sometimes have to correct my English -- I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing it."
Meanwhile, John Kerry sails along, leaving in his wake a string of errors easily as impressive as those of President Bush. So since the mainstream media hasn't covered them, let's review just a few.
In July 2003, Kerry uttered this lulu: "The obligation of the United States government is to rapidly internationalize the effort in Iraq, get the target off of American troops, bring other people, particularly Muslim-speaking and Arab-speaking Muslim troops, into the region." I've looked everywhere for classes in speaking Muslim, but I just can't seem to find any. No wonder Muslim speakers are in such high demand! (Note: Associated Press reported this ridiculous gaffe with no comment at all.)
During his nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention, Kerry made the boo-boo of announcing that under his administration, "We will double our special forces to conduct terrorist operations," before correcting himself. If Bush's statement about damaging America was a Freudian slip, why was this far more visible slip simply ignored? Could it be because John Kerry is a liberal? Just a thought.
In August, Kerry delved into football with equally disastrous results. While speaking in Michigan, he noted that "We just came from Bowling Green, and I was smart enough not to pick a choice between the Falcons and the, you know ... all the other teams out there. I just go for Buckeye football, that's where I'm coming out." Except that the Buckeyes are from Ohio State University, and they're bitter rivals with the University of Michigan. Oops. But should this be a surprise coming from a man who holds ears of corn upside down while traveling through Iowa?
Again revealing his knowledge of the common man, last month in Wisconsin, Kerry hilariously referred to the Green Bay Packers football stadium as "Lambert Field." Anyone who knows anything about football knows that the Frozen Tundra is called Lambeau Field. But perhaps Kerry was thinking of his servant Egbert at the time.
Only three gaffes have truly bitten Kerry in his medal-winning posterior. His statement that "I actually did vote for the $87 billion -- before I voted against it" has hurt him. His comment that he would fight a "more sensitive war on terror" has damaged him. And going back a few months, so did his words about foreign leaders backing his candidacy.
Yet Kerry still gets press about being articulate, while Bush is labeled a dumbbell. But if Kerry is articulate, then I speak Episcopalian.