Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kerry vs. Bush - Double Standard

Today's big news story is about a speech John Kerry made yesterday. First, the details.

This is what Kerry had scripted to say:
“I can’t overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq.”
And this is what Kerry actually said:
You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, 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.”
So his intended target was George W. Bush, but not saying those two words does make his statement seem like he was talking to the students about their behavior and actions. A simple mistake easily corrected, right? Not a chance.

This coming a week before mid-term elections, every Republican near a microphone began attacking John Kerry as "insulting and shameful" (George W. Bush), "an insult to every soldier serving in combat" (Sen. John McCain), and "absolutely insulting" (Press Secretary Tony Snow).

Kerry held a press conference today to defend the meaning of his remark, if not the actual delivery. He stated that his remarks were clearly intended as an attack on the President and his administration and their failed policies in Iraq. Personally, I find it hard to believe that anyone truly thinks John Kerry would attack the troops when the President is so easy and obvious a target.

So what do I mean when I write "Kerry vs. Bush - Double Standard"? Let's take a look at a few of George Bush's infamous public statements:
"People don't need to worry about security. This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America." --George W. Bush, on the deal to hand over U.S. port security to a company operated by the United Arab Emirates, Washington, D.C., Feb. 23, 2006
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --George W. Bush, Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005
"It's in our country's interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm's way." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 28, 2005
"You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." --George W. Bush, to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005
"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." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004
"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption." --George W. Bush, Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002
"Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." -- George W. Bush, discussing Osama bin Ladin, Washington, D.C., Mar 13, 2002
"But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me." --George W. Bush, summing up his first year in office, Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 2001
So where was the right-wing machine when President Bush was making these comments? They were completely silent as our own President says:
  • We are not thinking about national security
  • We're promoting sheer propaganda
  • We want to help those who would harm us
  • Working three jobs to make ends meet is a good thing
  • We should work to harm Americans
  • We should consume more resources
  • He's not concerned about the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks
  • 2001 was a fabulous year
Now let's be real. I do not believe that the President meant any of these things. He is not exactly a polished public speaker, and these statements did not reflect the actual message he was trying to convey. In fact, oft times they stated the exact opposite.

So why are we now attempting to crucify John Kerry for his statement, when we know from the context of his speech - and his later clarification - that the words were directed at this President and this administration?