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Kerry candidacy inspires comparison to other JFK
The Houston Chronicle ^ | January 21, 2004 | SCOTT SHEPARD

Posted on 01/20/2004 11:40:16 PM PST by Cincinatus' Wife

WASHINGTON -- Is America ready to be led by another Massachusetts senator, a former Navy war hero with the initials "JFK," a rich, Catholic Bostonian with patrician looks and a glamorous wife, a forward-looking Democrat with a challenge to countrymen to be a part of something larger than themselves?

John Forbes Kerry, the three-term senator from Massachusetts, the much-decorated former gunboat captain in Vietnam, the aristocrat with the Boston brogue and the Mozambique-born heiress wife, thinks so.

But don't suggest to Kerry that he represents a chance for Democrats to return to Camelot or that he is trying to trade on the nostalgia most in his party still feel for JFK.

"It's just not appropriate, it's just not authentic. You've got to be who you are, and you've got to speak to your own times," Kerry said in an interview. "If there are similarities, it is for other people to discern them or to define them."

Still, it was hard not to draw comparisons to John F. Kennedy and his New Frontier last November as Kerry rolled out his campaign for the 2004 Democratic nomination for president, the job many believe he has coveted most of his life -- 58 years of privilege and ambition, yes, but also of sacrifice and suffering.

The roll-out included a lengthy profile in the New Yorker by Primary Colors author Joe Klein, an appearance on NBC's Meet The Press with Tim Russert, the official filing of papers creating an "exploratory committee" for his campaign, an economics speech to the City Club in Cleveland with space pioneer John Glenn in tow and an appearance on the popular radio talk show Imus In The Morning.

It all seemed so Kennedyesque, a sweeping stab at a new kind of politics amid growing signs that voters have had it with campaigns of pollsters, consultants and attack ads.

"I think we have to break the mold of this negative old politics ... and begin to talk ideas," he said.

But just in case ideas aren't enough, Kerry has signed up some of the best tacticians in the Democratic Party for his White House bid, including Jim Jordan, director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Robert Farmer, a legendary fund-raiser. He also is expected to land Michael Whouley, who served as Al Gore's national field director in 2000. And he has a seasoned communications chief, David Wade.

He also has $3.2 million in unspent campaign donations, more than any other prospective rival for the Democratic nomination and none of it from political action committees, a policy Kerry established at the beginning of his political career.

Kerry easily invokes Kennedy's name in explaining what he would like to accomplish as president, comparing his challenge to Americans to "engage in significant enterprises" to improve the country to Kennedy's goal of sending humans to the moon by the end of the 1960s.

"We have to go to the moon right here on Earth," Kerry said before ticking off his ideas about energy independence, education excellence, expanded health care, environmental advances and high-speed rail services.

Kerry not only was inspired by the New Frontier but became a Kennedy family regular -- dating Jacqueline Bouvier's half sister and getting to know JFK himself at the Bouvier mansion in Rhode Island.

It was not long after those days of Camelot that Kerry was first asked on national television if he wanted to be president of the United States. "No," the 27-year-old Kerry replied with a nervous chuckle to the question from 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer more than 30 years ago.

The answer now is "yes." And he is undeterred by the popularity President Bush has enjoyed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

While most Democrats have been timid about criticizing Bush's war tactics in Afghanistan, Kerry has been surprisingly slashing. "When given the opportunity to destroy al-Qaida, the president turned not to the best military in the history of man, but rather turned to Afghan warlords who only a week earlier were on the other side," he told a Democratic gathering in New York.

Kerry also has taken aim squarely at Bush's plan to cut taxes $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years, tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans.

"I have voted for tax breaks when appropriate, but I know the difference between something that makes economic sense and something that doesn't -- and the Bush tax cut doesn't make economic sense, and it's not fair," Kerry said.

Americans first met Kerry in 1971 when he appeared before a Senate committee as spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the group that had protested the war by tossing their medals and combat ribbons on the steps of the Capitol. Kerry asked the question that captured the country's growing disillusionment with the conflict in Southeast Asia: "How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?"

He was an instant celebrity, not only because of his eloquence and combat heroism -- he received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star -- but because of his upper-class background, unusual among veterans of the Vietnam War: His father, Richard, was a diplomat, and his mother, Rosemary, was a member of the Boston Brahmin Forbes family, whose wealth was drawn primarily from massive land holdings on Cape Cod.

Kerry's first bid for political office was a disastrous campaign for Congress in 1972. He retreated to law school and served as a local prosecutor before being elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1982 on a ticket with Michael Dukakis, who would become the Democratic Party's presidential standard bearer four years later.

Kerry was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 with the retirement of Paul Tsongas and was re-elected three times, the latest with no opposition last year.

He is left of center on several defining political issues. He opposes the death penalty (except for terrorists), has repeatedly backed tougher gun controls, voted against the use of force against Iraq in 1991 and has led the crusade for fuel-efficient standards for automobiles.

But he also has been a strong supporter of balanced-budget proposals, has challenged party orthodoxy on affirmative action and teachers unions, and has supported military excursions into Bosnia and, most recently, the effort to disarm Iraq.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2004; 2004election; antiwar; barfalert; candidatekerry; democraticparty; dissipation; election2004; houstoncomical; jfk; johneffnkerry; johnkerry; kennedy; kerry; kerrywasinvietnam; ketchupboy; lyingliars; manfromhope; mediabias; mythmaking; presidentkennedy; propaganda; saintkennedy; spin; threwmedaloverfence
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"It's just not appropriate, it's just not authentic. You've got to be who you are, and you've got to speak to your own times," Kerry said in an interview. "If there are similarities, it is for other people to discern them or to define them." (Like the fawning LIBERAL media)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Massachusetts Senator John Kerry climbs over a barrier into a crowd of supporters at a campaign rally at the Manchester Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, January 20, 2004. Kerry was beginning a week of campaigning for the January 27 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary election after winning the Iowa Caucus over rivals North Carolina Senator John Edwards (news - web sites) and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. REUTERS/Mike Segar

1 posted on 01/20/2004 11:40:17 PM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Kerry candidacy inspires comparison to other JFK

Homey don't think so:

John F Kerry

John F Kennedy

2 posted on 01/20/2004 11:53:20 PM PST by ambrose
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
JFK wasn't worth a damn. Neither is Kerry. Same media hooie.
3 posted on 01/20/2004 11:56:03 PM PST by RLK
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Where's the barf alert?
4 posted on 01/20/2004 11:56:52 PM PST by GulliverSwift (The problem with Clark isn't just that he's insane, it's also that he's a complete liar.)
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To: ambrose
John Kerry's Newt Gingrich Problem?

After Newt Gingrich hit the national spotlight in 1994 by becoming the first Republican speaker of the House in 40 years, he was skewered by reports that he had served his first wife divorce papers as she lay in a hospital bed battling cancer.

But the press has been far kinder to Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry, who, according to published accounts going back more than a decade, began extricating himself from his first marriage to Philadelphia heiress Julia Thorne at the same time she was battling a case of depression so debilitating that it drove her to the brink of suicide.

In an attempt to explain why he decided not to let his wife's precarious mental state derail his 1982 bid to become Michael Dukakis' lieutenant governor, Kerry told the New Yorker magazine last December, "When I get focused and set out to do something, I'm pretty good at staying focused."

"You don't want to let yourself down, you know what I'm saying?" added the ambitious Democrat without a hint of irony.

Thorne, whose family is reportedly worth $300 million, married Kerry in 1970. According the New Yorker's Joe Klein, the couple's friends said Julia was not a typical political wife.

"There were times at dinner parties when John would be very pompous, unable to control his impulse to make a speech," one acquaintance told the writer. "It was all slightly laughable, and Julia was one of those who laughed. She'd say things like, 'What the f--k did you just say?'"

Kerry's career focus was so intense that Thorne apparently felt she was an impediment to her husband's ambitions. In her 1994 book about that period in her life, titled "You Are Not Alone," she wrote:

"I could no longer pretend I was of use to my husband or my children. ... I knew that, once I was gone, my family and friends would be relieved of the burden of my incompetency."

By Thorne's own account, she began to contemplate suicide a full two years before Kerry ratcheted up his 1982 campaign. Reviewing her book shortly after it was published, the Boston Globe reported: "One night in 1980, Julia Thorne put her children to bed and then sat on the edge of her own bed to contemplate suicide. She was exhausted - overwhelmed by despair, self-loathing and pain. She wanted to lie down. Curl up. Sleep forever."

The Kerrys were separated in 1982 but didn't divorce until 1988.

Press summaries of the New Yorker report focused on other details of Kerry's life story, such as his Vietnam heroism. Most omitted any mention of Kerry's first wife altogether, a fact that likely pleased the Massachusetts Democrat. "Kerry is understandably loath to talk about the details of the marriage," noted Klein.

In response to the New Yorker report, Sen. Kerry wrote what was described as "an anguished letter" of protest to the magazine. Thorne's two daughters by Kerry also registered their displeasure. Their mother, who has since conquered her depression and is happily remarried and living in Montana, told the Globe, "I support John's [presidential] candidacy, and I believe in John's candidacy. I think he is an immensely talented statesman, and I am 100 percent behind him."

But previous reports indicate that Thorne had problems with Kerry even after they split 21 years ago.

During the period the Kerrys were separated, for instance, the senator apparently felt little constrained by his marital vows. Gossip columns at the time linked him to Morgan Fairchild, Cornelia Guest and even President Reagan's liberal daughter, Patti Davis. An upcoming Boston Globe expose will reportedly feature details of the Massachusetts Democrat's 1980s affair with a 25-year-old British reporter.

According to a previous account offered by the paper, the fact that Kerry was still technically married till 1988 "reportedly came as a surprise to some of his frequent companions."

Just weeks before his May 26, 1995, remarriage to Ketchup heiress Theresa Heinz, Thorne took Kerry to court in a bid for an increase in child support payments, arguing that "his income was up substantially," according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Both Kerry and Thorne denied that the lawsuit had anything to do with Heinz or her fortune.

But friction arose again two years later when Kerry, a Catholic, applied to the Washington, D.C., archdiocese to have his marriage to Thorne annulled, even though the couple had two grown daughters.

Thorne "has written a letter of opposition to the archdiocese because she feels the process demeans their relationship and their children," reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1997.

The paper blamed Kerry's new wife on the annulment bid. His office issued a terse statement: "Sen. Kerry very much understands Julia's feelings and appreciates her support. Sen. Kerry believes that this is a private family matter."

The Washington Times noted in a Kerry profile several years ago that his critics consider him "a ruthless political opportunist." Given some of the more obscure details of Kerry's first marriage, that assessment may not be too far off the mark.

5 posted on 01/20/2004 11:59:36 PM PST by kcvl
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Kerry isn't fit to shine JFK's shoes.

JFK may have been a bit short on substance, but at least he didn't hate America like Kerry does.
6 posted on 01/21/2004 12:00:15 AM PST by ambrose
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To: ambrose
I'd have to say Bush is more like Reagan, than Kerry is like Kennedy.
7 posted on 01/21/2004 12:01:12 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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Same media hooie.


8 posted on 01/21/2004 12:01:52 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Did you see Kerry's speech last night? And did you happen to notice the guy standing prominently right behind Kerry, over Kerry's right shoulder? I have no idea who the old guy was, but it doesn't matter - - he was perfect. It was Joe Kennedy in the flesh, complete with the thick, old-fashioned, little round glasses.

The message was clear: President Kennedy's brother just enthusiastically introduced me, and as you can see, President Kennedy's father supports me, too. This was aimed directly at the older voters, and I guarantee it will resonate, at least a little bit. They "recognized" Joe Kennedy, whether they realized it or not.

And now here come the stories comparing Kerry to Kennedy.
They even have the same freakin' initials - - JFK.

Kerry has some very serious handlers.
9 posted on 01/21/2004 12:09:24 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
O, the dissipation!

10 posted on 01/21/2004 12:13:18 AM PST by ppaul
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Kerry said in an interview. "If there are similarities, it is for other people to discern them or to define them."

John F. Kennedy at least didn't spit on the flag and his country when he came back from war

John F. Kerry did

11 posted on 01/21/2004 12:13:35 AM PST by Mo1 (Join the dollar a day crowd now!)
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To: kcvl; onyx; Dog; Howlin; Maria S; My2Cents
Hey Kcvl .. do you have a link to that article??

Maria S ... remember how you were asking what happen to Kerry's first wife .. Check out Post #5
12 posted on 01/21/2004 12:20:50 AM PST by Mo1 (Join the dollar a day crowd now!)
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To: ambrose
JFK was nothing like the ridiculous photo-op picture you posted. When Jackie almost died in a hospital, JFK was on a Medeterranean yacht partying with broads and buddies. It took three days to talk him into coming home to attend Jackie so as to maintain his political image.
13 posted on 01/21/2004 12:21:55 AM PST by RLK
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To: Lancey Howard
Did you see Kerry's stepson trying to do an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation (endorcing Kerry!)? No one's ever told this "kid" his act stinks. He sounded more like George Jessel than Arnold Schwarzenegger.
14 posted on 01/21/2004 12:29:54 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: ambrose
good comparison.

I wonder if "Jahn" F'n Kerry has a permission slip to be campaigning in NH?

That would be a great Protestwarrior sign. "Permission Slips are not for National Defense"
15 posted on 01/21/2004 12:45:14 AM PST by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
..."and a glamorous wife"...


16 posted on 01/21/2004 12:55:30 AM PST by kimosabe31
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To: Mo1
17 posted on 01/21/2004 1:00:28 AM PST by kcvl
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To: Mo1
Now Kerry tries to play up the fact that he served in Vietnam (sometimes they omit the bit about him throwing other peoples medals away while keeping his own).
18 posted on 01/21/2004 1:02:38 AM PST by weegee
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Why is it that I think that when Hillary finally runs for the presidency (with Bill running for his own co-presidency terms) she'll break out the photos of her with Barry Goldwater to try to disprove rumors about her socialist ideas.
19 posted on 01/21/2004 1:05:31 AM PST by weegee
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To: weegee
Imagine all the free campaign coverage she'll recieve from the mainstream media.
20 posted on 01/21/2004 1:10:43 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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