Still hazy after all these years

P.J. O’Rourke has a longstanding non-partisan grudge against John Kerry. It stems from the 1986 elections in the Phillippines. Kerry was part of a U.S. delegation that President Reagan sent to observe the elections. O’Rourke was in the Phillippines working on an article for Rolling Stone. O’Rourke and Village Voice reporter Joe Conason (yeah, him) covered a walk-out by female vote tabulators who were incensed at the fraudulent nature of vote count. They took refuge in a church, terrified to leave. O’Rourke and Conason dispatched a sympathizer to bring election observers to the church. The sympathizer found Kerry who was “curt” and refused to leave until he’d finished his meal and then only reluctantly returned to the church with her. Once there, according to O’Rourke’s Rolling Stone account, “all Kerry did was walk around like a male model in a concerned and thoughtful pose.”
Eighteen years later, O’Rourke say that “with benefit of hindsight, I think I can tell you why Kerry didn’t [intervene]. He was caught in Kerry-ish calculation–an ambitious young senator on his first important bipartisan delegation with its delicate mission of neutrality. Cory Aquino was very popular. But so was President Reagan. Which way to have it? Why, have it both ways! So Kerry was firmly behind [Phillippine democracy] up to a point. Just as today Kerry is brave sailor/bold war protester; foe of Saddam/friend of Hans Blix; political underdog/entitled nominee; big government liberal/corporate tax-cutting conservative; rider of Harleys/marrier of Heinz; and, incidentally, still a real jerk.”

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