Perhaps more than any other presidential candidate in recent memory, Kerry seems to be living in another time, playing a movie of Vietnam over and over in his mind.That seems rather obsessive, doesn't it? And that he would do this in front of a reporter is quite telling. What better way to get a reporter to write about his Vietnam experience than to film a reenactment. You can understand why he refers to Vietnam so much now when you realize that he's going home and watching his video reenactment over and over again. Some armchair psychiatry is called for here.
In fact, he is often playing an actual movie of Vietnam over and over on his television.
Consider this scene from a remarkable profile of Kerry published in the Boston Globe in October 1996, when Kerry was in a tough re-election battle.
Kerry told reporter Charles Sennott the oft-repeated story of the February 1969 firefight in which Kerry attacked the Viet Cong who ambushed his Swift boat.
Kerry won the Silver Star, as well as a Purple Heart, for his efforts.
But the story wasn?t about the firefight itself. It was also Kerry?s reaction to it.
The future senator was so ?focused on his future ambitions,? Sennott reported, that he bought a Super-8 movie camera, returned to the scene, and re-enacted the skirmish on film.
It was that film, transferred to videotape, that Kerry played for Sennott.
?I?ll show you where they shot from. See? That?s the hole covered up with reeds,? Kerry said as he ran the tape in slow motion.
Kerry told Sennott that his decision to re-enact the fight on film was no big deal ? ?just something I did, no great meaning to it.? But it?s clear that the old movie is a huge deal.
?Through hours of watching the films in the den of his newly renovated Beacon Hill mansion, it becomes apparent that these are memories and footage he returns to often,? Sennott wrote.
?Kerry jumps repeatedly from the couch to adjust the Sony large-screen TV in his home entertainment center, making sure the picture is clear, the color correct. He fast forwards, rewinds and freeze-frames the footage. His running commentary ? vivid, sometimes touching, sometimes self-serving ? never misses a beat.?
In John Kerry?s home entertainment center, it?s always 1969. It?s sometimes that way in his campaign, too.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Byron York has a devastating portrait of how John Kerry is living in a time warp from Vietnam.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 5:51 AM