John Kerry seems to be having a little bit of trouble with his campaign presence lately. He's single-handedly thrilled countless Republicans and given his campaign managers ulcers with his statement regarding the aid package for Iraq and Afghanistan last year ("I actually did vote for his $87 billion, before I voted against it"). Then there was the whole, "Argh, I'm tough on Castro. I voted to make things tougher on businesses dealing with him." "No you didn't." "Whatever."
Kerry has also been drawing heat for his mysterious "foreign leaders" comments. At a town hall meeting in Bethlehem, PA on Sunday, Kerry was quoted (I'm not making this one up) as saying, "I've met with foreign leaders for any -- I never said that. What I said was that I have heard from people who are leaders elsewhere in the world who don't appreciate the Bush administration approach and would love to see a change in the leadership of the United States."
He did not say foreign leaders, he said leaders elsewhere in the world. Get it right, people. Anyway, this meeting was also the one in which John Kerry took a spite to citizen Cedric Brown and refused to clarify which "leaders elsewhere in the world" he had spoken with, as Mr. Brown asked. Instead, Kerry demanded to know how Mr. Brown voted in the last election. Yes, the ballot is supposed to be private, and that was a rude question, but you have to cut Kerry some slack. Prior to the town hall meeting, he had a major disagreement with his childhood imaginary friend, who threatened to cut campaign contributions from lobbyists and special interest groups like the Fairies for Kerry and the Little Green Men from Democratic Mars.
Yes, these above instances make Kerry sound a little less intellectual than the voting public might want from someone who may potentially control the most powerful military in the world. But I don't want to be judgmental. After all, sound bytes can be taken out of context and with the proper P.R., anyone can be made to sound like a genius or a fool. I happened to favor Dubya in the last election, despite him being a few horses short in the corral. So rather than be too critical of Mr. Kerry, what I'd like to do is offer him a few tips on etiquette. There are certain things you shouldn't ask people in a public forum. Some questions are just rude. Since his momma didn't tell him what they were, I've compiled a short list.
- John Kerry's List of Questions Not To Ask People In Public:
- Don't ask people what they voted on a private ballot.
- Don't ask ladies how old they are.
- Don't ask anyone how much they weigh.
- Don't ask anyone for their credit card number and expiration date.
- Don't ask anyone anything or give out any information about your positions, your voting records, or anything else until your campaign manager and speech writer have both had their second cup of coffee for the day.
- Furthermore, just in case the situation arises:
- Don't ask Dubya if George Sr. was really his daddy.
- Don't ask Conan O'Brien how to get in better with your "leaders elsewhere in the world" friends. Especially if any of them are Canadian.
- Don't ask Kobe Bryant what he plans to do next Friday night.
- Don't ask Gov. Schwarzenegger how to shake hands with starlets or female extras on movie sets.
- Don't ask Michael Jackson to baby-sit for you.
I'd also like to recommend a question he should feel free to ask. When confronted with questions about that pesky voting record, Mr. Kerry should feel free to ask the audience in general, "Does anyone here remember?"
But since I'm dispensing campaign advice so freely, I thought maybe I should address a few pointers to the other half of the brain trust that's vying for the Presidency this year.
- Dubya's List of Campaign Reminders:
- Don't ask when you'll get the big shiny belt buckle for winning the war in Iraq. It was a humanitarian mission, not a rodeo. Wasn't it?
- Don't use the phrase, "What's the use of havin' toys if you never play with 'em?" when discussing our nation's military technology.
- Ditto on the phrase, "Let's tie one on and blow something up."
- Don't mention the renewed interest in space and missions to Mars for at least thirty minutes after anyone brings up the S-3B Viking ride to the aircraft carrier. I'm good with your penchant for hitching kiddie rides on government equipment, but Democrats just don't get it. Plus, they're counting on the little green men electoral votes, and they wouldn't appreciate you wooing constituents there.
- Don't ask Michael Jackson if you can pet the monkey. It means something different to him than it does to you. Ask Cheney to take you to the zoo so you can see the monkeys there. Trust me on this.
I know, I know. So many rules to remember. And if both candidates manage to follow them all, the last few months of the campaign won't be nearly as entertaining. I won't be paying attention, though. Since Al Sharpton didn't make it past the primaries, I've already started to throw my weight into that limbo for disenfranchised voters they call, "Haters for Nader". We may not have a chance at the White House, but the votes we draw away from the other candidates will definitely be felt. Especially for the Democrats. Our illusory prospects of winning are a big draw to Kerry's imaginary constituency. We have supporters on Mars, too. You've perhaps heard of the "Invaders for Nader"? Their campaign slogan is, "This year the White House, next year the world!" Oh, wait. That's the Republican motto. It's so easy to get confused in an election year. Just ask Kerry.
This article first appeared in the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin