The art of deniability

Mark Steyn notes a pattern in John Kerry’s efforts to distance himself from certain of his statements, most recently his primary campaign theme attacking “Benedict Arnold CEOs” whose companies hire workers in foreign countries: “Kerry’s just parroting his speechwriters.” Kerry retracted that characterization in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

You know, I called a couple of times to overzealous speechwriters and said ‘Look, that’s not what I’m saying.’ Benedict Arnold does not refer to somebody who in the normal course of business is going to go overseas and take jobs overseas. That happens. I support that. I understand that. I was referring to the people who take advantage of noneconomic transactions purely for tax purposes — sham transactions — and give up American citizenship. That’s a Benedict Arnold. You give up your American citizenship but you want to continue to do business.”

Steyn comments:

When Kerry talks about ”any Benedict Arnold CEO or corporation that takes American jobs overseas,” he’s not referring to someone who ”takes jobs overseas.” Perish the thought! He’s all in favor of taking jobs overseas. It wasn’t him who attacked all those ”Benedict Arnold CEOs,” just his ”overzealous speechwriters.” And the minute he discovered it was going on, he called them to say, ”Look, that’s not what I’m saying.”
I mean, OK, it was what he was saying in the narrow technical sense of words emerging from between his lips, day after day, night after night, all through primary season. I had a quick rummage through the Nexis database, and found a mere 746 citations for Kerry and the expression ”Benedict Arnold.” I myself have personally been present on three occasions when he attacked ”Benedict Arnold CEOs” who ”take jobs overseas,” and on two of them he didn’t have a TelePrompTer or even a script. He just stood in front of us and the words came out of his mouth, almost as if they were what he himself believed.

Steyn concludes on a timely note:

Who is John Kerry? They weren’t his medals he threw away, just some non-name World War II vet he happened to bump into. Those aren’t his four gas-guzzling SUVs in the drive, just ones owned by his ”family.” They’re not his words coming out of his mouth, just words wholly owned and operated by employees of a subsidiary unit of his wife’s holding company, Benedict Arnold Heinz Kerry Campaign Rhetoric Inc., registered in Bermuda.
It takes a big man to blame everyone around him. Which is at last a rationale for the Kerry campaign: If you’re the kind of fellow who likes blaming your underlings, at least when you’re president there’s no end of underlings to blame.


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