My letter to Mr. Hewitt today:
a) Kerry is too clever by half, that is his problem, because it makes him an idiot. He was making a double entendre, taking a slap at the President - he doesn't have to name him for the audience to understand immediately who he is talking about - while at the same time taking a shot at the troops. He is counting on his audience laughing out loud at the first part and internally grinning grimly and slyly at the second. He thinks that the broader audience will brush it off as another "Daily Show" type insult of the President, not realizing - (does this guy never learn?) - that a large part of the broader audience will only hear the gross and disgusting insult of the troops. People say that Bill Clinton "compartmentalized" his mind - but I'll bet he never really forgot what was in the other compartments. John Kerry doesn't seem to recall that he has just a little bit of personal history when it comes to calling down brave Americans.
b) It is okay to recognize that Mark Halperin has a point of view that gives rise to a legitimate debate without agreeing with him. I expect that he would say that your reaction to John Kerry's idiot comment illustrates his point - he would likely say that your partisanship blinds you to the "joke" he was making at the expense of the President, and that if you belonged to the Journalist as Objective Observer School of Reportage you would have "gotten it". And you could counter with the legitimate point that the vast majority of the "Objective Reporters" out there just happen to be hiding liberal views and would write the whole thing off as a joke while burying the sick insult aspect of Kerry's comment. The put-all-your-points-of-view-on-the-table school of reportage is much more consistent with a free society; it engages the marketplace of ideas honestly. Mr. Halperin's theory of reportage is like marxism - sure, it sounds great in theory but it can't really work in the real world; everyone has biases and their biases matter.
This latest Kerry foot-in-mouth-moment is a great example of a false dichotomy. Kerry's comment isn't either (a) or (b), it is both (a) AND (b). To recognize that makes it no less disgusting, and gives the person who recognizes it as such more credibility with a broader audience. It is, in fact, even sicker that Kerry thinks he can get away with a double entendre like that - I expect he thought that most people would only hear the Presidential insult, as he lives in a world where that sort of thing is a staple, and that the "clever people" in his audience would be the only ones who would "get" the "deeper meaning" wherein he was speaking to his anti-military confreres. He makes the mistake many liberals make - he thinks he is the smartest guy in the room.