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The Unbearable Lightness of Kerry Continues

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P. J. O’Rourke is of the opinion that Kerry ended his political career last month, and he may be right, though I doubt it. In the Weekly Standard, O’Rourke notes that Kerry was at the Kennedy Library accepting some sort of award, and made some sort of speech in which he essentially abandoned the principle of free speech:

Addressing the audience of tame Democrats, Kerry explained his defeat. “There has been,” he said, “a profound and negative change in the relationship of America’s media with the American people. . . . If 77 percent of the people who voted for George Bush on Election Day believed weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq–as they did–and 77 percent of the people who voted for him believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11–as they did–then something has happened in the way in which we are talking to each other and who is arbitrating the truth in American politics. . . . When fear is dominating the discussion and when there are false choices presented and there is no arbitrator, we have a problem.”

America is not doctrinaire. It’s hard for an American politician to come up with an ideological position that is permanently unforgivable. Henry Wallace never quite managed, or George Wallace either. But Kerry’s done it. American free speech needs to be submitted to arbitration because Americans aren’t smart enough to have a First Amendment, and you can tell this is so, because Americans weren’t smart enough to vote for John Kerry.

This is nothing new. In Massachusetts, all liberals pay lip service to the First Amendment but no more than that. For them, free speech is gauged by the level of agreement their interlocutor has with them. The less agreement, the less entitled to free speech. It’s a rather simple equation that not one of them has ever noticed, and I’ve summed up their attitude as “free speech for me, but not for thee.” It is an irony that they at the same time hold the opinion that Fox News ought to be suppressed but the Administration is stifling their ability to exercise their own free speech by not doing so. O’Rourke also quotes this classic Kerryism:

Kerry was led back to the main point by a question from the audience: “How [do we] stop the media from creating and perpetuating the divisive red state/blue state situation?”

Kerry looked sympathetically at Oliphant–a representative of the mainstream media–and answered as if Oliphant himself had asked the question.

“Tom, I swear I don’t have the answer to that. And I’m looking for it just like everybody else is. . . . I think part of what we have to do is have an impact on the economics. The corporatization of the media in America has taken away some of the willingness of the media to do the great muckraking they used to do and to be the accountability folks they used to be. And so you have so many different media outlets that are just bottom-line, and they go where the ratings tell them to go. And there’s a top-down hierarchical administration of what they’ll go after and what they’ll do, and it’s driven by the economics more than anything. I think if we were to change the economics a little bit through grassroots effort, then you might begin to see a shift.”

Kerry did not elaborate on the nature of this grassroots effort. Do we smash the windows of Rupert Murdoch’s headquarters? Do we nationalize the Drudge Report?

“Now, beyond that,” Kerry said, shrugging and pausing, “an epiphany of some kind?”

Or do we just get in touch with our inner mainstream? Kerry smirked at Oliphant. Oliphant smirked back. Kerry went on:

“A lot of the mainstream media were very responsible during the campaign. They tried to put out a balanced view, and they did show what they thought to be the truth in certain situations of attack. . . . But it never penetrated. And when you look at the statistics and understand that about 80 percent of America gets 100 percent of its news from television, and a great deal of that news comes from either MTV, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Jay Leno, David Letterman, you begin to see the size of the challenge.”

(Those were all Kerry supporters or, at any rate, Bush opponents, but this thought–if any thinking occurred–didn’t slow Kerry.)

“And so I don’t have the total answer. I just know it’s something that we’ve really got to grapple with.”

A perfect non-answer that meanders on and on and ends up exactly where it started leaving the questioner thinking that Kerry is brilliant without realizing that Kerry has told him exactly nothing. If ever there was an answer to why Kerry lost here it is. The junior senator’s political career didn’t end last month, it ended last November.


Written by martinipundit

March 14, 2005 at 10:43 pm

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