I wonder if this is a side-effect of spending a good chunk of one’s childhood in Swiss finishing schools:

On Sunday and into Monday, Kerry hit Michigan, where he attempted to use the same Ohio jokes. Clearly, the sports humor has to be taken out of his hands before he really embarrasses himself.

“I just came here from Bowling Green,” Kerry told the crowd to subdued applause. “I was smart enough not to pick a choice between the Falcons and the, well, you know, all those other teams out there. I just go for Buckeye football, that’s where I’m coming from.”

At that point, before all the boos began raining down upon him, Kerry seemed to realize his error. In an attempt to silent the angry crowd of University of Michigan supporters, Kerry said, “But that was while I was in Ohio. I know I’m in the state of Michigan and you got a great big M and a powerhouse of a team.” Then his face, presumably, the Botox permitting, turned Big Blue.

Now granted, I’m not exactly normal on this particular issue, having lived and breathed college football virtually from the womb (I’m also a freelance sportswriter, and wrote a book about the game ten years ago), but it’s just hard for me to grasp that level of cluelessness about such a primary aspect of American life and culture.

This is not real hard to understand, for normal humans: You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don’t boost Buckeye football in front of Michigan fans.

On the other hand, Kerry should probably be thanking his lucky stars that he isn’t campaigning down South. If he’d gone and said, “I just go for Volunteer football, that’s where I’m coming from,” in front of a crowd of Alabama fans, he probably wouldn’t have survived the aftermath.