Kerry: I’ll Defend America, But. . .

James Taranto notes an interesting pattern to John Kerry’s responses last night:

John Kerry made some strong and sensible statements during the debate last night, but did you notice what the next word usually was? Here are some Kerry quotes:

  • “I’ll never give a veto to any country over our security. But . . .”
  • “I believe in being strong and resolute and determined. And I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are. But . . .”
  • “We have to be steadfast and resolved, and I am. And I will succeed for those troops, now that we’re there. We have to succeed. We can’t leave a failed Iraq. But . . .”

Taranto notes and quotes nine such instances and quips,

Maybe Kerry misunderstood when someone told him he needed to have the “qualifications” to be president. But it’d inspire a lot more confidence if he had followed any of these remarks with a “therefore” clause instead of a “but” one.


Hat tip: Patrick Ruffini

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lamar says:

    Hey! Is it that bad that a candidate for president knows the job is complicated? There are lots of “buts” in doing the presidents job.

    I’m glad to see those qualifiers, shows that he knows that the job isn’t as simple the American people think it is.

  2. Todd says:

    Kerry is not believable on foreign affairs, no buts about it. He is a poseur (that’s French for le stuffed shirt).

    When you are President, there is a little sign on the desk that says “The buts stop here.”

  3. carpeicthus says:

    Wow. It’s almost like he was structuring his arguments to attack the president’s positions. You’re having a lot of “Hey! Grass is green!” eisegesis lately.