There is a distinct possibility that John "Magic Hat" Kerry just single-handedly severely damaged the Democrats. Even if Kerry made a mistake, he completely blew it when he went on the nearly deranged sounding attack in his press release. Tom Bevan over at Real Clear Politics calls this an absolute gift to the Republicans.
Nowhere in the statement does John Kerry address the substance of what he said. I understand that Kerry has been eager to show off his tough new, "I WONT BE SWIFT-BOATED AGAIN!!!" strategy that he thinks will help convince Democrats to give him another chance at the brass ring in 2008, but to trot out this tripe to defend an insult against U.S. troops is breathtakingly arrogant – and it's an absolute gift to the GOP seven days before an election.
Kerry over the top response assures that he'll dominate the news chatter for the next 24 hours or more. And you can bet that Republicans in Congressional and Senate races around the country are prepping press releases as we speak (if they haven't already been sent out), calling on their Democratic opponents to disavow Kerry's remarks. It'll be interesting to see how that little drama plays out in the coming days.
Well, Diana Irey has already done so. Kerry is finished as a presidential contender, no matter what. But if the Dems do not win either chamber, he will be a good candidate to be run out of town on a rail – by his fellow Democrats.
This is a disaster for the Democrats. And it's still October!
(H/T Diva for pointing to the RCP post).
UPDATE: This is interesting. I've been looking at comments in a number of places and it struck me that the Left has almost no idea what damage this does. There is a lot of admiration for how hard Kerry struck back. Just as they misjudged the impact of the Foley matter because they thought they knew how people would react, they are misjudging this. They are not understanding how people will react to this one completely. Had Kerry apologized, it would have gone away. Now, I don't think it is going to.
UPDATE: The Anchoress linked with this gem:
There is an art to good politics and there is a rule, too – and it’s a really simple one, but so many politicians can’t follow it, particularly if they have delusions of genius. The Rule goes like this: If you screw up, whether because you’re an idiot, or you’re just having a bad day, or a mic was left on – whatever – and you say something deplorable (even if it just sounds deplorable but you meant it well…) you admit it, you make a joke at your own expense and you apologize – even a half-assed apology will usually do.
Anchoress expects that Kerry WILL be the scapegoat if the Dems fail to gain control. I suspect that is spot on.
UPDATE: Courtesy of an email from Diva, ABC News is reporting that at least some people in the Democratic party get it.
What's unclear is if Kerry's comments will help rally Republican voters or help their party portray Democrats as against the troops to score victories next Tuesday. A Democratic congressman told ABC News Tuesday, "I guess Kerry wasn't content blowing 2004, now he wants to blow 2006, too."
Kerry now has lots of admirers on the hard left, but he has lost the center. His career is done. The question now is how bad did he hurt the Dems in one week. I think he did a lot of damage.
UPDATE: And it keeps getting worse. Bush has been given a club and he is using it. Effectively. The American Legion has demanded an apology. This one is really going to hurt. (Video at STACLU via the link).