John Kerry, C stu­dent still

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

When you get right down to it, the thought­less foot-in-mouth dis­ease of Sen. John Kerry is a strain unique to him. The sen­a­tor gives elitism a bad name. “Ed­u­ca­tion,” Mr. Kerry told a rally last week for Phil An­gelides, the Demo­cratic can­di­date for gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, “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.”

Stuck in Iraq — that’s what Sen. Kerry thinks hap­pens to peo­ple who don’t study hard. You end up in the uni­form, serv­ing your coun­try and get­ting shot at. Nice go­ing, Sen­a­tor Win­ter Sol­dier.

In a press con­fer­ence to ex­plain him­self on Oct. 31, Mr. Kerry re­jected calls by the White House and Sen. John McCain to apol­o­gize to the Amer­i­can sol­diers in Iraq. In­stead, he re­peated his litany of crit­i­cism of the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s han­dling of the war, ac­cus­ing Repub­li­cans of a po­lit­i­cal trick to ex­ploit his re­marks. He called his re­marks “a botched joke.” Some joke. Some botch.

We have news for Mr. Kerry, be­yond con­vey­ing our as­sess­ment that this ar­ro­gant, in­cred­i­bly elit­ist and de­featist and al­to­gether rep­re­hen­si­ble state­ment re­minds us why he isn’t pres­i­dent and never will be: Pa­tri­o­tism and self­less­ness are why young Amer­i­cans read­ily put them­selves in harm’s way for their coun­try’s sake. This C stu­dent is just plain wrong on the facts.

U.S. re­cruits are bet­ter ed­u­cated than the av­er­age Amer­i­can of equiv­a­lent age. In fact, 98 per­cent of U.S. mil­i­tary re­cruits have a high-school ed­u­ca­tion or G.E.D. Only 75 per­cent of equiv­a­lent-age Amer­i­can youths do. For sen­a­tors who can’t do the math, that’s 23 per­cent­age points past just plain wrong. The Her­itage Foun­da­tion’s re­cent study, “Who are the Re­cruits?” lays out th­ese num­bers and more. Who would com­pare what 19- and 20-year-olds do in com­bat to what the typ­i­cal col­lege sopho­more is do­ing. (Some­times best not to know.)

We un­der­stand that Mr. Kerry’s pri­mary aim on Oct. 30 was to bomb the White House to get at the com­man­der in chief. The troops were an af­ter­thought. Which, come to think of it, is the point — just as it was in the 1970s, when Mr. Kerry made a ca­reer of smear­ing Amer­i­can troops as killers on his re­turn from Viet­nam.

It’s one thing, bad enough, to be an elit­ist who knows the facts. It’s an­other to be an elit­ist who doesn’t know them. So thank you, Mr. Kerry, for speak­ing so can­didly. Peo­ple can see clearly who you are.

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