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August 27, 2004
Getting The Green Bay Pickers Fan Vote

Thank goodness that we have John Kerry on the stump to distract us from ... John Kerry on the run from his Viet Nam narrative. In yet another cringe-inducing moment regarding sports, Kerry managed to goof up the name of one of the NFL's shrines in its home city (via Kerry Spot and a number of laughing fans at Keegan's last night):

On Wednesday, Kerry made his third visit to Green Bay, Wis., this year and made it a point to focus on the main thing the city revolves around: football and the Green Bay Packers. ...

Unfortunately, during the event, Kerry fumbled for a second time, though this one didn't involve a football. As he was taking questions from the audience, he referred to the legendary Packers stadium, Lambeau Field (which has been called that for 39 years) as "Lambert Field."

If the voters catch wind of that gaffe, it could take Kerry another three visits to Green Bay to make up for it.

Kerry, who has his picture playing some sort of proletarian sport at every opportunity, went to Green Bay specifically intending to invoke the ghost of Vince Lombardi and to pay homage to Green Bay's pride and joy -- the Packers and their storied (and recently renovated) home, Lambeau Field. Lambeau Field was named after the Packers' legendary head coach, Curly Lambeau.

Lambert Field would have to be named after Jack Lambert, the legendary member of the Pittsburgh Steeler's defense in the 1970s, often referred to as the Steel Curtain. (I'm just sayin'...)

If you're going to Green Bay to talk football, especially as an analogy to your credibility as President, wouldn't you take the time to make sure you know something as basic as the name of the stadium? This isn't the first time that Kerry has displayed such careless incompetence regarding local sports, either. Earlier this month, while traveling in yet another swing state, Kerry endorsed the arch-rival team in front of an audience that turned hostile as a result:

If John Kerry loses Michigan, he will probably blame it on his joke writers, then Woody Hayes and the mighty Ohio State Buckeyes. But he only has himself to blame. He should have used that several-decade gap between his job in Vietnam and his job of running for president boning up on his knowledge of sports. ...

On Sunday and into Monday, Kerry hit Michigan, where he attempted to use the same Ohio jokes. Clearly, the sports humor has to be taken out of his hands before he really embarrasses himself.

"I just came here from Bowling Green," Kerry told the crowd to subdued applause. "I was smart enough not to pick a choice between the Falcons and the, well, you know, all those other teams out there. I just go for Buckeye football, that's where I'm coming from."

At that point, before all the boos began raining down upon him, Kerry seemed to realize his error. In an attempt to silent the angry crowd of University of Michigan supporters, Kerry said, "But that was while I was in Ohio. I know I'm in the state of Michigan and you got a great big M and a powerhouse of a team." Then his face, presumably, the Botox permitting, turned Big Blue.

These moments capture Kerry perfectly -- the patrician trying to relate to the prols in his interpretation of their language. It goes beyond carelessness to a certain phoniness that resonates more, although with less meaning, than a Cambodian Christmas fable. The condescension almost drips from Kerry's chin in using such metaphors while getting major details wrong. He makes discussing sports seem so effortful, while true fans know these details and understand what it means to get them wrong.

In short, these gaffes make Kerry look like a phony and a poseur. In a month where the Swiftvets have scored success after success in pointing out those exact character flaws, blowing the name of Lambeau Field while sucking up to Green Bay residents only reinforces that impression with the electorate.

UPDATE: Yeah, I corrected 'plebian' to 'patrician'. Danged pre-coffee blogging! (Hat tip to Connecticut Yankee)

UPDATE II: Oh, good Lord, I'm glad I'm not running for President. I misspelled 'Lombardi' for Pete's sake. Fixed it now, thanks to Touched the Obelisk. (This one was just a typo, though.)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 27, 2004 5:38 AM

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