John Kerry is beginning to remind me of a torch singer. The guy’s shifting moods and varying personas suggest to me that he should give up his axe and start working his way through the Sinatra songbook. Today Hugh Hewitt points us to this revelatory Ronald Brownstein story in the Los Angeles Times: “Advisor retracts remark on Kerry supporting war.”
Hugh also directs us to this Reuters story: “Kerry takes fight over Vietnam ads over Bush’s ranch.” That story, however, puts me in mind of Roberto Duran crying “No mas!”
UPDATE: Dr. Stephen Marmer — our favorite psychiatrist — demurs:
John Kerry is not Frank Sinatra. Sinatra knew who he was and was always himself — which was both a strength and a weakness in his acting career. John Kerry appears not to know who he is or who he wants to be. I have written about his chameleon qualities, how he impersonates a “man of the people” but so often comes across as faux. He cannot take personal responsibility for his actions. “I didn’t fall down, that SOB ran into me.” And “I don’t own an SUV, my family does.” He floats with the prevailing winds, as in “I voted for the $87 Billion before I voted against it.” His so-called Intelligence Committee expertise is faux. His Cambodia Christmas is faux. Perhaps one of his Purple Hearts is faux. His medal tossing caper is faux. His “outrage” at the SBVT 527 Committee is faux. His pledge not to attack President Bush for Bush’s Air National Guard service is faux.
Frank Sinatra was never faux. He was always the real deal and if you didn’t like it, well too bad for you. As Sinatra’s signature song says, he did it his way. Kerry does it the faux way.
I have been watching Senator Kerry I have begun to wonder whether deep down he is more imposter than real. Of course one should never make a diagnosis on a person you have not evaluated for that purpose. But assessing the character of a candidate is of the utmost importance for all citizens. This is all the more so because most of the issues we will confront as a nation in the next four years are hard to anticipate. While it is possible in retrospect to see the unfolding of September 11, no one was talking in such terms prior to the 2000 election. Thus the character of the candidate is much more important to me than the platform or any of the specific proposals made in speeches, except insofar as they are a window into the candidate’s character.
It is precisely on the issue of core character that I have my greatest concerns regarding Senator Kerry. You are absolutely right to observe his bobbing and weaving and shifting. But as Senator Bentsen said to Senator Quayle, “I’ve seen Frank Sinatra, and Senator Kerry is no Frank Sinatra.”