Monday, October 11


The right-wing talk yahoos were all on the same page this morning -- page six of the New York Times Magazine article about John Kerry that I posted on yesterday. They're taking his remarks completely out of context and distorting them wildly. Let me give you an example. From the article:

When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. ''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''

The yahoos are interpreting these remarks as equating terrorism with prostitution and illegal gambling. [emphasis mine] They're saying this is proof that Kerry just doesn't "get it" about how big and bad the terrorists are and how they want to kill all Americans, that he thinks it is "just another crime." This is such a disingenuous argument. They're not stupid, they're deliberately trying to mislead their audiences. They know that Kerry was using a prosecutor's analogy, saying some things just can't be completely eradicated as long as we have a free society, but you CAN effectively neutralize the scale of terrorist activities and bring a measure of security back to the American people. Note the writer's next paragraph, which none of them have quoted:

This analogy struck me as remarkable, if only because it seemed to throw down a big orange marker between Kerry's philosophy and the president's. Kerry, a former prosecutor, was suggesting that the war, if one could call it that, was, if not winnable, then at least controllable. If mobsters could be chased into the back rooms of seedy clubs, then so, too, could terrorists be sent scurrying for their lives into remote caves where they wouldn't harm us. Bush had continually cast himself as the optimist in the race, asserting that he alone saw the liberating potential of American might, and yet his dark vision of unending war suddenly seemed far less hopeful than Kerry's notion that all of this horror -- planes flying into buildings, anxiety about suicide bombers and chemicals in the subway -- could somehow be made to recede until it was barely in our thoughts.

Hooray for Kerry! Who wants to vote for unending war when a smart, tough prosecutor can send all those bad guys scurrying for their wormholes and let us go on with our lives?

I'm afraid, however, that we're in for another bout of Kerry-bashing on this issue. Lies and distortions are the Repugs' lifeblood. Kerry might not have wanted to spell all this out for the Americans during the race for the presidency, but he's told it to the NY Times now, and he'll have to re-explain himself ad nauseum.


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