Yes, I know that “who” is correct here. I spent my youth diagramming sentences. But I couldn’t think of another way to work “who” into the title.
It was John Kerry, as the Boston Globe reports this morning:
Kerry caught even some of his advisers off guard late Thursday night by questioning Bush’s word that he would maintain an ”all-volunteer army” in a meeting with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board, arguing that… ”With George Bush, the plan for Iraq is more of the same and the great potential of the draft.”
After a week of concerted focus on his domestic goals, the Democratic camp found itself grappling with the fallout from remarks by a nominee who does not hew to the campaign script as closely as the incumbent does.
Michael McCurry, a senior adviser to Kerry, found himself trying to tamp down the original comment, saying the Democrats had no evidence — nor did Kerry mean to imply — that Bush had a ”secret plan” for a draft.
”We’re not putting this issue in play — he was just pressed pretty hard about what his positions were on Iraq,” McCurry said in an interview. Earlier, aboard Kerry’s campaign plane, McCurry insisted that Kerry was not guilty of the scare tactics that he ascribes to Bush: ”If you go and talk to any college kid on any campus, or report out what people are nervous about, you run into this — I mean, we get this all the time.”
The Globe’s observation that Kerry does not “hew as closely to the script” as President Bush is interesting. I’ve said repeatedly that most people do not recognize how careful the President is when he speaks. His extreme care and concentration account in part for his speaking style, and explain why he so rarely makes verbal mistakes. Kerry, on the other hand, is a classic Senator in his speaking style–glib, but often thoughtless and even incoherent. This explains, in part, why viewers generally say that Kerry “won” the debates, but it is Kerry, not Bush, who keeps having to explain himself afterward.
Kerry’s reference to the draft was a “gaffe” only insofar as the candidate himself wasn’t supposed to mention it. The Democrats, playing as always on the fears of the ignorant, are promoting the draft hoax for all they are worth among unsophisticated voters. But because the idea is so ludicrous, they didn’t intend for Kerry to make the claim himself, on the record. However, as so often happens with Kerry, the draft line just slipped out.
It’s similar to what happened with his ham-handed reference to Mary Cheney. Referring to her was a deliberate strategy, but it was supposed to be done the way John Edwards did it, as Bill Kristol explains in the article linked below. But Kerry doesn’t have the mental discipline to speak as carefully as Edwards and the President do, and his dragging of Miss Cheney’s name into his answer was a non sequitur that exposed the crass political motivation that lay behind it. Likewise, his careless blurting out of the draft hoax exposed the fact that it is the Democratic Party and the Kerry campaign who are behind one of the most contemptible political ploys in modern American history.