I wrote a summary column about Kerry’s slander on the military here, and I discussed the column, and Kerry’s non-apology on Thursday’s program. I am certain that Mark Steyn did yesterday as he filled in for me. (The audio is here. My e-mails tell me that MS did the predictable superb job.) The disgust with Kerry and his enablers in the Democrats has not subsided, but you would not know that from MSM.
But Christopher Hitchens got a sense of it. From today’s Wall Street Journal:
On Wednesday evening, on Hugh Hewitt’s high-octane radio show, I accepted his challenge and gave out my private email. I had said that my emails from soldiers in Iraq were generally relaxed about the Kerry flap: He wanted me to hear different.
I have since had the chance to read about 500 or 600 messages. Almost all of them politely phrased (I exempt one from “the Riordan family” who evidently have not forgiven the long history of British depredation in Ireland) and almost all of them appending the list of college degrees as well as of medals and citations held, these letters show a very deep and interesting rift in which Mr. Kerry plays only a secondary part. Many of my respondents agreed that his words may not have meant or intended quite what they first seemed to mean, but they also felt that the klutziness was Freudian, so to speak, in that the senator’s patrician contempt for grunts and dogfaces was bound to come out sooner or later.
I think if Mr. Hitchins had more paragraphs, he’d be certain to report that while “[m]any of my respondents agreed that his words may not have meant or intended quite what they first seemed to mean,” many more believe Kerry quite certainly intended the slander. And my guess is that if his e-mail is like mine, very few of the men and women in uniform have accepted Kerry’s “apology.”
I am not the complete optimist Dean is, though I think there are excellent reasons to believe the campaign winds had shifted even before Kerry issued his slur. One reason Dean and I are both feeling like Tuesday could carry some major surprises is that the MSM (and the pollsters they employ) appear to have lost touch with the American public (or at least the desire to find out what that public feels/believes.)
The surprise that arrived in Christopher Hitchens’ in-box was the data that talk radio hosts and bloggers with easy-to-find e-mail addresses gather every day. That data allows us to know not only that the military heard Kerry’s remark as a slander and that a large portion of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and their families and friends have not accepted Kerry’s apology, but also that evangelicals are going to vote, that President Bush’s approval rating is higher than the the Beltway-Manhatten media machine believes, and that, crucially, great numbers of Americans understand that it is all one war, and not a war of choice.
The picture above may have run in only a handful of newspapers, but it has been seen by hundreds of millions of internet users, all of whom instantly understood its message. The indifference or ignorance of the photo displayed by MSM is similar to the gaps in knowledge that pollsters are going to discover clouded their vision in crucial races.
I think Americans prefer to support the soldiers above and their hundreds of thousands of colleagues, and not John Kerry and his colleagues. Tuesday will tell.