I received another comment from a reader on this story. I responded in in the comments section but I want to share my opinion (who, me?) about why this issue is an issue.
The reader correctly points out
Hugely nitpicky, I can’t believe we’re analyzing it this closely, but that’s what this whole thread is, hugely nitpicky. I’m amazed that you find this such an important topic.
In any event, you’re making a huge deal out of something that is perfectly explainable. And at the same time I didn’t see you devote nearly this much attention when Cheney told Sen. Leahy to go “fuck himself”. And that’s even in violation of senate rules. How can you be so hung up on this?
I guess I’m “hung up” on this because, while I expect politicians to behave badly at times and won’t get all up-in-arms over it, I don’t expect them to be praised for it. Here’s my response:
The reason I originally posted on this wasn’t so much to point out Mrs. Kerry’s words but to point out the reaction that Hilary Clinton had. My original post was a quickie with a quote from a story summarizing the incident and a quick quote and comment on what Clinton said. I then updated soon after when I saw that the NY Times was reporting the use of the word “un-American” more or less as heresay. I had seen the quote from Mrs. Kerry earlier but didn’t think it worth my time. It was Clinton’s reaction and the mood of Kerry apologists that made me post. And even when I did it certainly wasn’t an in-depth effort.
My second post was a response to another writers comments on my original post, in which I agreed that Clinton was right in the sense that many Americans are sick of pushy reporters, and I also noted that a senior Kerry campaign figure also publicly approved Mrs. Kerry’s treatment of that reporter. Again, it’s not Mrs. Kerry’s words (though pretty dumb, they’re just another example of bad form by politicians) but the near-praise she’s receiving from some folks that’s bothering me.
I felt compelled to post a third time, since commenters on my site had entered the fray and I wanted to make clear why I thought defense of Mrs. Kerry’s actions was actually worse than the actions themselves. Again, though I’m happy to take a slap at Mrs. Kerry, my main thrust is to point out what I see as overtime effort by Kerry supporters to not only keep Mrs. Kerry’s name clear of wrongdoing, but to turn her treatment of the reporter into something admirable.
Mrs. Kerry, IMHO, showed very bad judgment by saying what she said to that reporter, and it was underscored by the presence of video cameras which caught the whole thing. But instead of apologizing and trying to clear up the misunderstanding (if there was one), or at the very least ignoring the incident and hoping it just goes away, many Kerry supporters are holding up her “activity” as something worthy of praise.
The defense is pretty thin. And the hypocrisy of her saying this right after her speech is an important part of the story, such as it is. I agree that she doesn’t have time to debate every wacko from here to Timbuktu, but she stopped to listen to his question and she responded to him. At that point she’s more or less obligated to do more than tell a member of the press to take a flying leap. If she didn’t have time, she shouldn’t have taken the time. She did, so she was on the hook. (And the reporter wasn’t from FoxNews.)
As for Cheney and Leahy (or Kerry on MTV earlier in the year) there was a bunch of hype from the opposition but I’m not aware of any defenders standing up and saying “Well, done, Dick! That’s what Americans want to hear!” or Cheney denying denying denying that he said it, then when he heard the tapes saying “Yes, and I’d say it again.”
That’s the difference. Well, that and the fact that I’m biased.
There’s no doubt that there are more important stories out there. But a main argument from Kerry supporters has been that we just don’t know the guy yet. I think we got an introduction to his wife, and despite the best efforts of Hillary Clinton, senior advisers, and ardent supporters, I don’t think America wants more “activity” like what she pulled the other evening.
I’m disappointed with Mrs. Kerry, but I’m equally disappointed with those that are defending her without much of a leg to stand on. And I’m appalled at those who are trying to make her some sort of hero for what she did.
I am so tired of this campaign already. But I’ll nit-pick on as best I can.