October 31, 2004

BOB KERREY’S DEFENSE OF JOHN KERRY ON “MEET THE PRESS.” Read the whole transcript. Overall, it was a bumbling performance, but let me point out two things he said. First:

One thing we know about Osama bin Laden, his whereabouts, he’s not in Iraq. By the way, for the American people, this guy is a mass murderer. You know, he’s Jeffrey Dahmer times a thousand. So nobody should listen to him with any sympathy. Nobody should listen to him and try to make their decision about who they’re going to vote for based upon what he says. We need to track this guy down and arrest him or kill him, one of the two.

This is the old view that bin Laden is a criminal — like Dahmer, but with more victims — who needs to be arrested. Of course, this chimes with recent statements of John Kerry’s.


MR. RUSSERT: George Bush by going into Iraq has removed Saddam Hussein, has eliminated hundreds of thousands of tons of munitions, and if John Kerry was president, Saddam Hussein may still very well be in power.


MR. RUSSERT: So how can he criticize the president for having munitions that are missing?

MR. KERREY: Well, the problem is 400 tons of HMX and RDX are now in the hands of terrorists and they weren’t before. That’s the central point. Look, I supported the war in Iraq and still do, still believe it was the right thing to do. But, boy, I’m telling you this president tested my support for that war when he stands the Iraqi army down and now has our military over there acting as a police force and border security. You can’t sustain that, Tim. It’s become unpopular.

I was in Galena, Ohio, down in the southeastern part of Ohio. They don’t give a damn about the war in Iraq. They’re terrified about the loss of their job, health care, their pensions. That’s what’s bothering them and then wondering what we’re doing sending out Guardsmen over there to be a police force in Iraq.

I cried out in pain when Kerrey said “They don’t give a damn about the war in Iraq.” What a bunch of selfish louts Kerrey imagines the people of small town Ohio to be! In Galena, those people can’t even imagine the wider world. They’re all about “where’s my money .. where are my benefits?” I know how badly you want to win Ohio — really, Ohio is practically the whole game, now, isn’t it? — but in your eagerness to please them, you reveal your contempt for them!

UPDATE: (Posted by Glenn Reynolds) Several readers send emails like this one:

Mr. Kerrey needs to consult an atlas. Galena, Ohio is about 20 miles north of Columbus which is, the last time I checked, in the middle of the state. Also it is a bedroom community for Columbus with a lot of new homes starting in the $400,000 range.

p .s. I live in Columbus

I looked on MapQuest and, well, it’s true. It’s another “Lambert Field” gaffe.

ANOTHER UPDATE: (Althouse, here) How inconvenient that people who actually live in or around Galena actually exist! Did you not know that you were intended to be a mere rhetorical frill? Since when do figures of speech send email?

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: (from Glenn Reynolds) Reader Barry Dauphin emails: “If the Dems can’t find Galena, how can they help find explosives in Iraq?”

AND ANOTHER UPDATE: (Althouse, again) I received an email suggesting that Kerrey had meant to say Gallia, which really is a place in southeastern Ohio. So I went back to my TiVo’d “Meet the Press,” and there really is no “n” in the town name he says. It’s “guh – LEE – uh” on the show, not “Galena” as in the transcript, so I don’t think this is a case of not getting the geography. I do stand by my original point, though, which is that he is assuming that people in a small town in Ohio are only concerned about their personal economic situation.

STILL MORE: (Still Althouse) More email came in from overnight, after I posted that “Gallia” update. I’m told it’s “GAL – yuh” — though I’m not positive I’m not being tricked into mispronouncing it so I’ll look like an outsider, which I am. One emailer, who called herself “a Buckeye” (and you know I’m a Badger), added: “Ohioans have strange ways of pronouncing towns, Versailles is ‘Ver-sales’ and Rio Grande is ‘Rye-oh Grande.’  It’s a secret way to weed out outsiders who speak with a forked tongue. … As a lifelong resident I can tell you we’re all united in one thing around here: we can’t wait for this election to be over so people like Bob Kerrey will stop pretending to care about anything other than our votes.”

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