Deliberately obtuse

Okay, quick test of cognitive ability. John Kerry was recently caught on a live mike making the following comment:

“We’re going to keep pounding, let me tell you. We’re just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I’ve ever seen. It’s scary.”

To whom was he referring?

If you answered, “Why, obviously the crooked, lying sonsofbitches in the White House,” congratulations! Your basic reading comprehension skills, at minimum, rival that of the average third grader — which is apparently more than can be said for William Safire, who asks:

Was it wise for a candidate for president to characterize Republicans — tens of millions of American voters, including even veterans — as thieves and liars?

Okay, I’m being a little harsh. I’m sure the former Nixon speechwriter’s reading comprehension skills are at least at a third grade level. He’s just a hack. There’s no way that someone who spends as much time thinking about the meaning of words as he does could so blatantly misinterpret Kerry’s comment. He’s being deliberately obtuse in order to score a political point. He may have an independent streak, but as this site has documented on previous occasions, he’s usually willing to carry water for the Bush Administration.

Kerry himself has subsequently claimed that his comment referred to “the attack dogs.” It’s too bad he can’t just come out and say, “Yeah, I meant those crooked lying sonsofbitches in the White House, you wanna make something of it?” — but that’s beside the point. It’s painfully clear that he’s not referring to “tens of millions of American voters…even veterans,” and it’s a cheap rhetorical trick to pretend otherwise. Safire should be ashamed, but I don’t imagine that he is.