- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 31, 2006

When you get right down to it, the thoughtless foot-in-mouth disease of Sen. John Kerry is a strain unique to him. The senator gives elitism a bad name.

“Education,” Mr. Kerry told a rally this week for Phil Angelides, the Democratic candidate for governor of California, “if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Stuck in Iraq — that’s what Sen. Kerry thinks happens to people who don’t study hard. You end up in the uniform, serving your country and getting shot at. Nice going, Senator Winter Soldier.

In a press conference to explain himself yesterday, Mr. Kerry rejected calls by the White House and Sen. John McCain to apologize to the American soldiers in Iraq. Instead, he repeated his litany of criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the war, accusing Republicans of a political trick to exploit his remarks. He called his remarks “a botched joke.” Some joke. Some botch.

We have news for Mr. Kerry, beyond conveying our assessment that this arrogant, incredibly elitist and defeatist and altogether reprehensible statement reminds us why he isn’t president and never will be: Patriotism and selflessness are why young Americans readily put themselves in harm’s way for their country’s sake. This C student is just plain wrong on the facts.

U.S. recruits are better educated than the average American of equivalent age. In fact, 98 percent of U.S. military recruits have a high-school education or G.E.D. Only 75 percent of equivalent-age American youths do. For senators who can’t do the math, that’s 23 percentage points past just plain wrong. The Heritage Foundation’s recent study, “Who are the Recruits?” lays out these numbers and more. Who would compare what 19- and 20-year-olds do in combat to what the typical college sophomore is doing. (Sometimes best not to know.)

We understand that Mr. Kerry’s primary aim on Monday was to bomb the White House to get at the commander in chief. The troops were an afterthought. Which, come to think of it, is the point — just as it was in the 1970s, when Mr. Kerry made a career of smearing American troops as killers on his return from Vietnam.

It’s one thing, bad enough, to be an elitist who knows the facts. It’s another to be an elitist who doesn’t know them. So thank you, Mr. Kerry, for speaking so candidly. People can see clearly who you are.

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