Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Defying Logic

There is apparently quite a bit of fallout from the following remark made by Senator Kerry on Monday:

He said: "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, 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."

Part of the fallout involved this clarification:
A Kerry aide said that the prepared statement, which had been designed to criticize Bush, "was mangled in delivery."

Kerry was supposed to say, "I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."

Most of the fallout has been criticism of the Senator for saying that members of the armed forces services in Iraq are not smart, despite the clarification.

This fallout is misguided, even focusing on what he said initially. His critics are insisting that the members of the armed forces serving in Iraq are smart. I agree with their assessment, but their examples are not relevant here. These examples falsify the statement:
"If you are serving in Iraq, then you are not smart."

He didn't say this. He said:
"If you are not smart, then you get stuck in Iraq."

To falsify this statement, you need to find people who are not smart who are not stuck in Iraq. It's very easy to do that as well. You could start with people who don't understand the structure of if-then statements who are stuck in the Senate, if you wanted to.


Anonymous said...

The "critics" aren't interested in the nuance. They're interested in attempting to stir up the damp grey ashes of this verbal accident into a small fire of scandal, even a momentary distraction. Anything to get the focus off of a) the horrifying debacle that someone has gotten us stuck in Iraq b) the true nature of the economy sans-credit-bubble, c) gross mismanagement of the entire federal government at almost every level, for nearly 7 years.

If paid hack bloggers, Tony Snow, and the talk-show echo chamber can make this into anything resembling a scandal, then I guess they deserve to keep the oversight-free chokehold on the congress this election, due to sheer hustle and talent at distorting the issues.

spencerengland said...

Come on. You are a very well educated, well informed citizen.
Try reading the transcript of the entire presentation to put the remark in context and tell me you still believe this spin.

Even when I disagagreed with you I respected you. But if you try to sell this "bull" you no longer deserve any respect.

Meanwhile the administration is able to take advantage of this non-issue and keep the headlines from focusing on the fact that US forces pulled out of Baghdad yesterday and gave up searching for the missing US soldier. That certainly look like a major setback for anyone claiming we are winning in Iraq.

Now, as an informed citizen which is more important in determining how you vote, Kerry fluffing a joke or Bush pulling troops out of Baghdad ?

Andrew Samwick said...


Come on. You read enough blogs to know when a post is facetious, no?


ishmaelabroad said...

Apparently not.

spencerengland said...

Actually, things like sarcism do not come across very clearly in blogs with their quick first draft nature.

I guess my problem was that I was also listening to Larry Kudlow at about the time I read your comments. so I gave you the comments he deserved.

monkyboy said...

Aaron Sorkin left politics and tried his hand at comedy and failed miserably, too.

It's not as easy as it looks...

Anonymous said...

The 77 GPA Yale grad says he meant to say "If you don't, you get us stuck in Iraq." So, the "us" was left out -- referring to the President.

But the President got a 78 at the Yale. So...

If you make less than the most of it, you get elected to the Senate by spending your wife's ketchup money and constantly remind us that (1) how low the education bar is set to become a senator, (2) how doomed America is if we don't get better educated people into offices of government and (3) that the President got better grades.

So IF you make more of it (like the President) THEN you do put people in Iraq? Wow, I am so glad the high priority problems must be resolved in Washington.

Anonymous said...

Let's get really even for his uneducated remarks and lack of sensitivity to our troops:


PGL said...

In my view - this is the 2nd best post on this faux scandal. Best had to go to Andrew Sullivan post, which actually focused on a real story - that abducted American solider in Iraq.

Tom C said...

I'm actually a little surprised that no one has pointed out how far down the scholastic achievement level our recruiters now go to get people to don't even need to have graduated from high school anymore.

How I wish (as a Democrat) the dope would have just said something like, "With the way this war has been mismanaged, how can you expect to attract our top students to the effort?", or, "What can we do as a country and as parents to instill a duty to serve in our top students?" Instead, we get lame, butchered stump jokes. No wonder he lost.

Biomed Tim said...

You beat me to posting about the logic behind the criticism (or the lack of it). I liked your sentiments exactly.