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Senator Kerry Python

November 2, 2006
by

John Kerry’s explanation of his remark earlier this
week about getting “stuck in Iraq” if you don’t get an education as being
merely a “botched joke” about President Bush reminds me of an old Monty Python
routine.

The Python sketch was a
historical bit in which the King of England is surrounded by the great wits of
his day at a dinner party. Each bard in turn nakedly
insults him, then summarily backtracks with a ludicrous explanation. The one I’ll always remember went something
like this:

 

BARD: The King is a
stream of bat’s piss!

 

[GASPS all around the room.]

THE KING: How dare you..?!

BARD: I merely meant that, like a stream of bat’s piss, the
King shines out like a shaft of gold, when all around him is dark!

[SIGHS of “Ohhh!” and DELIGHTED APPLAUSE sound around the room with calls of
“Hear, hear!”]

Which makes me think that in all the coverage of this story, the one question I’ve yet to hear posed to Kerry or his defenders is: What exactly was the correct joke?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2006 5:20 pm

    Keith — You ask what the “correct” joke was. I assume you saw the text Kerry was meant to deliver. As columnist Clarence Page notes,

    >> He meant to say that people who don’t succeed in school “get us stuck in Iraq.” Instead, he omitted the “us” and said “get stuck in Iraq,” making it sound like he was ridiculing U.S. troops who, sad to say, are stuck in Iraq.

  2. November 9, 2006 12:51 pm

    When I first saw this clip, even before Kerry’s explanation was issued, I got the gist of what he’d meant to say, and cringed at his failed delivery. I was also shocked that he failed to correct himself immediately.

    Kudos to the GOP for managing to make so much of it, given that our president is so notorious for his own verbal gaffs.

    What the whole thing illustrates, more than anything else, is Kerry’s hopelessly bad sense of humor. The guy couln’t tell a good joke even if it could get him into the Oval Office. Not long ago, when asked what he was getting his wife for her birthday, he replied, “I’m not getting her ketchup.”

    Get it? Ketchup. She’s heiress to the Heinz fortunue. Heinz. Famous for fine ketchup. That’s hilarious, Kerry.

    Bush, even when his jokes are frat-boy ilk, at least has decent comic timing.

    I wish Kerry would stop trying to tell jokes altogether. Or better yet, just go away.

  3. Duke_Ray permalink
    November 17, 2006 10:51 am

    Hey, Rob and Ken, thanks for the comments; sorry for the tardy reply.

    Rob, of course I doubt that either of us has seen the actual text of Kerry’s speech, but your comment led to me to find articles such as this one from AP:

    [Kerry] Aides said the senator had mistakenly dropped one word from his prepared remarks, which was originally written to say “you end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq.” In that context, they said, it was clear Kerry was referring to Bush, not to the troops.

    So, taking the aides at their word, the correct joke was:

    “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 end up getting us stuck in Iraq.”

    Oy.

    Considering that college records reportedly show that Bush got better grades in than Kerry, the “joke” tells me that either (a) Kerry is suffering from his own case of Bush Derangement Syndrome (“It doesn’t matter what the facts are, I *feel* Bush is an idiot!”), or (b) he was making some tortured reference to the Bush administration not educating itself about Iraq enough before the invasion (a criticism not without merit).

    In either case, I think the most loving, truthful statement I can make is to agree with Ken’s analysis: the senator needs to quit the stand-up comedy business.

    In any event, the “joke” didn’t turn out to be the October Surprise that the GOP was obviously hoping it would be, did it?

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