Saturday, March 20, 2004
Disdain for the "little people": Democrat presidential nominee Sen John Kerry, skiing on the Utah slopes, fell after he ran into a member of his Secret Service detail when the agent inadvertantly strayed into his path.
Kerry's defender-of-the-common-man response:
When asked a moment later about the incident by a reporter on the ski run, Kerry said sharply, "I don't fall down," the "son of a b*tch knocked me over."
If some madman were to shoot Kerry, that "son of a b*tch" is supposed to take a bullet for him. You'd think that Kerry would appreciate that fact and be a little less arrogant when it comes to the people who are tasked with protecting his life.
There have been numerous stories over the past few months of how Kerry treats people when he's not in front of a television camera.
Of course, in 1993 he was between his first and second heiresses - a time he now calls "the wandering years," although an equally apt description might be "the freeloading years."
For some of the time, he was, for all practical purposes, homeless. His friends allowed him into a real-estate deal in which he flipped a condo for quick resale, netting a $21,000 profit on a cash investment of exactly nothing. For months he rode around in a new car supplied by a shady local Buick dealer. When the dealer's ties to a congressman who was later indicted for racketeering were exposed, Kerry quickly explained that the non-payment was a mere oversight, and wrote out a check.
In the Senate, his record of his constituent services has been lackluster, and most of his colleagues, despite their public support, are hard-pressed to list an accomplishment. Just last fall, a Boston TV reporter ambushed three congressmen with the question, name something John Kerry has accomplished in Congress. After a few nervous giggles, two could think of nothing, and a third mentioned a baseball field, and then misidentified Kerry as "Sen. Kennedy."
Many of his constituents see him in person only when he is cutting them in line - at an airport, a clam shack or the Registry of Motor Vehicles. One talk-show caller a few weeks back recalled standing behind a police barricade in 2002 as the Rolling Stones played the Orpheum Theater, a short limousine ride from Kerry's Louisburg Square mansion.
The caller, Jay, said he began heckling Kerry and his wife as they attempted to enter the theater. Finally, he said, the senator turned to him and asked him the eternal question.
"Do you know who I am?"
"Yeah," said Jay. "You're a gold-digger."
There's a disconnect between what Kerry pretends to be on stage and how he behaves off it. Kerry pretends to be a champion of the downtrodden, yet he lives lavishly. The aforelinked article also mentioned that in 1993 Kerry only gave $135 to charity -- out of a salary of more than $100,000.
This disparity between his public and private faces is not a new one for prominent Democrats in recent years. President Clinton, the man from a poor upbringing in Hope, Ark., received a $200 haircut on Air Force One on the tarmac at Los Angeles International -- causing flight delays.
Former Vice President Al Gore, who campaigned on a populist platform in 2000, came under fire in 1998 after giving just $353 to charity -- on an annual income of $197,729.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy got into trouble after he tried to muscle past an airport security guard with a carry-on bag that too large.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee received some media scruitiny of her commuting habits when they appeared to violate House ethics rules. Jackson Lee also routinely harangued airline employees and other "common people." (Lee reportedly yelled at one of her own aides: "You don't understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen.")
These sorts of incidents might be expected to be commonplace for the party that's perceived to be that of the rich, special interests -- but instead it too often seems to be the one that, in public, professes their concern for the common people.