Special Report

Senator Gasbag

There’s a reason why U.S. senators don’t win the presidency, His Eminence John Kerry reminded viewers and voters last night.

By 10.14.04

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There is a reason U.S. Senators don't win the presidency: they are all talk and no action. John Kerry played the senatorial gasbag again in last night's debate, amending and revising his remarks endlessly. He loaded his answers with the same boring hedges and qualifications, trotted out the same stale lines and cheap political props.

Like John Edwards, John Kerry takes a very keen interest in the nocturnal life of Dick Cheney's daughter. Kerry at this point is almost beyond Saturday Night Live's parody of him -- the robotic gesticulating, the "I have a plan" emptiness, the name-dropping and celebrity-chasing (as if American politics couldn't get any phonier, Kerry planted Michael J. Fox next to his wife) was as tiresome in Kerry as ever.

For all his bragging and chest-thumping, Kerry shows little passion about his "idears," often abandoning them in mid-answer lest he fail to mention this or that poll-tested hedge. Republican policies are poisonous, he says, but at the same time he wants us to know that he "broke with his party" to support them, eager to remind one and all that he worked with "Ronald Reagan." Perhaps Kerry will inform us that he planned to vote for Reagan before he voted against him. Jimmy Carter must feel terribly hurt that his party now campaigns on chumminess with his rival.

Kerry also emphasized that he isn't for government-run health care, which must have come as news to Hillary Clinton. She always found a receptive audience in Kerry and Ted Kennedy when discussing Hillary Care.

Kerry said that he will take scrupulous care to keep God out of politics. But by the end of the debate he had turned God into a Democrat and liberal who sanctions homosexuality and abortion. Was the former altar boy never introduced to the concept of blasphemy? Using God to bless sin is the height of blasphemy. But since blasphemy polls well Kerry will go with it. Kerry even found time to pander to the bisexuals-trapped-in-marriage demographic. Somehow bisexuals prove to Kerry that God approves of homosexuality too.

Kerry was unable to stop himself from a contradiction within the course of a single answer on the topic of faith and deeds. He first called for faith without works -- he believes in Catholicism and has deep, deep "respect" for it, but can't act on his faith in the public square -- then ended his answer with a rebuke of Bush for having "faith without works." The ironies pile up: here we have a sham Catholic citing James 2:14 (a verse Catholics use to argue against Protestantism) against a Protestant President who has "faith" but no "deeds," according to Kerry, even as that Catholic argues that his own faith shouldn't drive his deeds.

Who is the Protestant in the race again? Kerry, a pol who once bowed out of a race so a pro-abortion Jesuit priest, Robert Drinan, could win a political race and who once loudly defended "Father Aristide," was again last night telling the Pope to butt out of American politics, while the Protestant president quoted the Pope's "culture of life" slogan.

The phoniness of Democratic politics is hard to follow. Its head-spinning in its "complexity." At one point the nuanced Kerry went from touting homosexuality to promoting "abstinence." He was an altar boy and youth hunter, he also wanted us to know, and bragged that he recently went on a gun outing with a sheriff who -- wouldn't you know it? -- made an important point to him about the dangers of assault weapons.

Kerry says that his mom said "integrity, integrity, integrity" to him. Using her deathbed musings as a prop in a debate probably wasn't what she had in mind. And notice that she had to use the word three times with him, not usually a good sign between moms and sons. No words of wisdom from Teresa Heinz Kerry were imparted by Kerry last night, though he did very tactfully mention that he "married up" into a higher tax bracket. Even Bob Schieffer couldn't believe his ears, giggling almost uncontrollably at Kerry's faux pas. The windy senator had finally been undone by a question beyond his powers of fakery.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.