This month’s Field and Stream features a pair of interviews with the presidential candidates in which the two men discussed their mutual love of huntin’, fishin’ and the great outdoors. All fine and good, and to be expected in an election year, and as I read through the interviews I couldn’t help but be pleased that both men at least paid lip-service to maintaining my Second Amendment rights.p>And then, I came upon the following exchange. br> /p>
Field & Stream: What’s the biggest deer you ever killed?
Kerry: Probably an 8-pointer, something like that. Nothing terribly big. I once had an incredible encounter with the most enormous buck — I don’t know, 16 points or something. It was just huge. And I failed to pull the trigger at the right moment. I was hunting down in Massachusetts, on the Cape.
At that instant, it struck me: the “F” in John F. Kerry stands for “fabulist”.
Like most folks I’m willing to cut a little slack to a fisherman or hunter who claims to have just missed the big one, as long as that big one is within the natural margin of error for big ones. Which, my friends, a Cape Cod sixteen-pointer is clearly not.
In other words, John Kerry was telling a tale. He was fibbing. Prevaricating. Stretching the truth. All to make himself seem a little more impressive, a little more manly, a little more like a regular guy to the regular guys who read Field and Stream.
JOHN KERRY IS NOT a regular guy. He’s a Swiss-boarding-school-educated man who’s bagged a billionairess widow woman, and as a consequence could spend all of his summers from here to eternity tracking the truly big ones up in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho, a comfortable family-owned SUV drive from his wife’s opulent ski chalet. But he doesn’t do that. And because he’s not a real hunter, he doesn’t know enough to say that that mythical sixteen pointer was spotted on a guided hunt in Montana, or Idaho, or Wyoming, or anywhere but Massachusetts, where the largest buck ever taken measured out at only 12 points.
So he lied about a hunting trip. Who hasn’t? In fact, the more I looked at what John F. Kerry said about himself, the more apparent it became that John F. Kerry is a man given to puffery. Like some insecure drunk you meet at happy hour in a cheap bar, he has a bad habit of gilding the lily where his own accomplishments are concerned.
By now most everyone knows about the charges leveled at Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, charges that he inflated both his own war record and the severity of the wounds he received in Vietnam. Much of this is still in dispute. However, what is not in dispute is Kerry’s claim that he spent Christmas of 1968 upriver on a secret mission in Cambodia, a claim he repeated on several occasions, most famously in 1986 on the floor of the Senate.
“I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared — seared — in me.”
The “Christmas in Cambodia” story is not in dispute because it’s been thoroughly debunked. Kerry was never, despite his seared memory, in Cambodia. Even his hagiographer, Douglas Brinkley, had to recently admit that Kerry was probably at base camp that day, writing letters home.
What you may not know about this widely reported story, however, is that it has props. Like all good fabulists, Senator Kerry has mastered the art of turning everyday objects into holy relics, relics that support his tall tales, this one included. In a June 1, 2003, Washington Post profile, it was revealed that Senator Kerry had a secret compartment in his briefcase, one that contained a well-worn, green camouflage hat.
“My good luck hat,” Kerry said, happy to see it. “Given to me by a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission in Cambodia.”
Kerry put on the hat, pulling the brim over his forehead. His blue button-down shirt and tie clashed with the camouflage. He pointed his finger and raised his thumb, creating an imaginary gun. He looked silly, yet suddenly his campaign message was clear: Citizen-soldier. Linking patriotism to public service. It wasn’t complex after all; it was Kerry.
He smiled and aimed his finger:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
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