Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Kerry is so very . . . Kerry

This is a don't miss column from Mark Steyn. From the 9-13 issue of National Review (his Happy Warrior column is republished on his website about 7-10 days after the issue date by contractual arrangement with NR), Steyn's evaluation of Kerry the candidate, the man, the archetype.

And this excerpt is top-notch:

. . . Groucho Marx once observed that an audience will laugh at an actress playing an old lady pretending to fall downstairs, but, for a professional comic to laugh, it has to be a real old lady. That’s how I feel about the Kerry campaign. For the professional political analyst, watching Mondale or Dukakis or Howard Dean stuck in the part of the guy who falls downstairs is never very satisfying: they’re average, unexceptional fellows whom circumstances have conspired to transform into walking disasters. But Senator Kerry was made for the role, a vain thin-skinned droning blueblood with an indestructible sense of his own status but none at all of his own ridiculousness. If Karl Rove had labored for a decade to produce a walking parody of the contemporary Democratic Party’s remoteness, condescension, sense of entitlement, public evasiveness and tortured relationship with military matters, he couldn’t have improved on John F Kerry.

And this excerpt definitely rings true:

. . . Americans do not begrudge a man making great wealth or inheriting it. But there is something vaguely icky about living the high life off the money of your wife’s first husband, especially when you give off the air that the good things that flow therefrom – the private jets, the luxury vacations homes, the $8,000 bicycle – are essential to your sense of yourself. Bush is rich but no-one would have a home in Crawford, Texas unless it really was his home: you don’t go there for haute cuisine or the jet set. If you prefer a less partisan comparison, take Governor Dean, a Park Avenue blueblood who found love, happiness and fulfillment in a materially modest life in Vermont. But Kerry’s expensive tastes seem central to his identity. And his preferred formulation for detaching his policy positions from his lifestyle is especially feeble: “That’s not my SUV, that’s the family’s SUV” – as if Teresa’s his Halliburton and he just happens to be enjoying some windfall profits, which, come to think of it, seems pretty much the case.

It's classic Steyn.

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