"It’s sad. So sad.
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad. So sad. Why can’t we talk it over?
Oh it seems to me
Sorry seems to be the hardest word."
-- Elton John
What is wrong with John Kerry? What is missing from the Massachusetts senator’s makeup that will not allow him to admit that he’s human? And why did he wait so long to clean up a political mess that hurt his party in the short run and damaged his own long-term presidential prospects?
This is, after all, a guy who called the secret service member assigned to protect his life a “son of a bitch” for colliding with him on a ski slope. When asked later by a reporter about falling down, Kerry angrily declared, “I do not fall down.”
Especially since Kerry has proven time and again that he falls down often, especially when tripping over his own tongue.
Yesterday’s gaffe is just the latest in a long line of dumb remarks the senator has directed toward U.S. troops. While only the most strident ideologue would suggest Kerry has something against our men and women in uniform, he has been his own worst enemy on such matters because he refuses to admit mistakes.
Remember when young John Kerry accused American troops of committing war crimes in Vietnam while testifying before the U.S. Senate? Long before he secured the Democratic nomination in 2004, I urged Kerry to apologize for those remarks or face the wrath of angry Vietnam vets.
He refused and because of it, Kerry saw his lifelong ambition sunk by a group of mad sailors who really didn’t care to be called war criminals.
Sen. Kerry and his camp should have seen the Swift Vets coming a mile away. Anyone seeking the post of Commander in Chief should have known those charges would come back to haunt the candidate. But all John Kerry would say about his 1971 testimony was that his hair was too long.
Another blown punch line. And another political crisis. But this one cost him the presidency.
The next year he told CBS News’ Bob Schaeffer that U.S. troops were guilty of committing acts of terror against Iraqi women. Kerry again refused to back down when confronted with that statement.
Which brings us to this week’s screw up.
The fact that John Kerry waited over 24 hours during the most critical time of the 2006 elections to apologize suggests that the man is too arrogant to admit he’s human.
It sounds a lot like the portrait Bob Woodward sketched of George W.
Bush in his latest book. Like Kerry, the president he wanted to replace has long believed that the best line of defense is keeping your head down, sticking to the script and never admitting that you are wrong—until it is too late.
It is too late now for Mr. Bush and John Kerry. Were the two men a bit more humble earlier in their careers, their respective political fortunes would not be in such dire straits six days before the 2006 election.
Memo to future politicians: Learn to say “I’m sorry.” It doesn’t hurt too badly and it saves you a lot of grief in the long run.