Monday, May 03, 2004

Meaningless Sophistry

Or, how to destroy your credibility in short order. Does John Kerry really expect anyone to buy this line?

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Does John Kerry, who supports higher automobile fuel economy standards, own a gas-guzzling SUV? He does, but says it belongs to the family, not to him.

During a conference call Thursday with reporters to discuss his upcoming jobs tour through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, the Democratic presidential candidate was asked whether he owned a Chevrolet Suburban.

``I don't own an SUV,'' said Kerry, who supports increasing existing fuel economy standards to 36 miles per gallon by 2015 in order to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil supplies.

Kerry also has made rising gasoline prices an issue in the campaign against President Bush. In Houston on Thursday, Kerry said the president broke a 2000 campaign pledge to ``jawbone'' oil-producing nations by pressuring them to increase their output.

Kerry thought for a second when asked whether his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, had a Suburban at their Ketchum, Idaho, home. Kerry said he owns and drives a Dodge 600 and recently bought a Chrysler 300M. He said his wife owns the Chevrolet SUV.

``The family has it. I don't have it,'' he said.

This is really a minor issue, objectively speaking, but of such petty things are political disasters made; remember Dukakis and the tank in 1988, or Ed Muskie's tearful defense of his wife in 1972? Democrats may complain about the unfairness of having minor issues like this one held against their candidate, even as what they perceive to be far more damaging accusations bounce off the incumbent president, but the American people are what they are, and they likely will buy into the message that Kerry is a champion waffler if he keeps on with this sort of thing.