I really don’t want to do that. Yet I want to offer a perspective that people don’t seem to be talking about. Ok, so the right-wing lunatics have jumped all over John Kerry for his remark that denigrates Bush’s handling of the war but sounds like a critique of the troops. In a typical fashion, they’ve twisted his words to make this a bigger deal than it is.

Howard Dean’s response has been the most appropriate. Call it what it was — a “blooper”, a mistake and re-focus on the Iraq quagmire and who’s really responsible. Jane Hamsher give Dems a PR 101 lesson: Pivot and attack a la

John Kerry’s inability to tell a joke probably should disqualify him from further appearances on Comedy Central, but I’m glad you brought up the topic of Iraq. What a f*cking Republican quagmire that is…

Call me crazy, but I think Democrats were right to distance themselves from Kerry’s comment a little even as most chose the wrong way to do it. When you watch the video of Kerry delivering the “joke” you can see right away on the faces behind him that it fell flat among the audience.

The fact is that Americans are not in the mood for jokes about Iraq. Especially when it appears we have lost so much control over the situation that the Bush administration takes orders from the government they installed, not the other way around. When we’re leaving soldiers behind. When it appears that our invasion has killed somewhere in the neighborhood of 600,000 Iraqi people at the cost of billions of dollars that might have gone to healthcare, education and security here at home. When almost as many Americans have died in Iraq as died on Sept 11, 2001 through the disastrous choices of Bush and Cheney. Almost as many — and counting.

Iraq just isn’t funny anymore. To anyone. Period. And hasn’t been for awhile now. That’s one reason why Kerry lost in 2004 — his failure to read the emotional pulse of American people. The key is to deflect away from Kerry’s insensitive blunder and focus on what people are truly upset about. And that’s the war in Iraq — how we got there and how we’re going to get out. People don’t like what Republicans are saying about either of those issues. Democrats who can echo the nation’s grave concerns about both of these questions will win on Nov 7.

This hullabaloo has the potential to mis-fire seriously against Republicans. Smart Dems will make sure it does.

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