Campaign Crawlers

John Kerry Issues The Indignation Proclamation

Word on the street is he’s taller than Abraham Lincoln.

By 3.16.04

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Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, just days after challenging President Bush to a series of debates based on the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates, today issued what he called The Indignation Proclamation. The wide-ranging proclamation asserts Kerry's absolute right to become immediately and furiously indignant whenever anyone dares to question his record, judgment or issues, of which Kerry seems to have many in all senses of the word.

Political observers say the Indignation Proclamation actually went into effect late last week. On Thursday, just hours after an American ally had suffered a major terrorist attack, the statesmanlike Kerry spoke at the Library of Congress, focusing on the most pressing issue of our time, which is defending John Kerry against criticisms by Republicans. Invoking the new but still unnamed doctrine, Kerry refused to apologize for his previous remark that those Republicans were "the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen." As of this writing, there's still no word yet from the Kerry camp on whether Republicans are more "crooked" than mass murderers who blow up Madrid commuter trains. And journalists would have taken Kerry to task for this stunning performance but Library of Congress rules, as in all libraries, require everyone to stay very, very quiet.

"The Senator was increasingly angry over what he saw as attacks on his patriotism and, more importantly, his solipsism," says a campaign insider. "This is why the Indignation Proclamation and the Lincoln/Douglas-style debates are a key part of our strategy. Kerry really is a modern-day Lincoln. Everyone's familiar with how Lincoln never really made up his mind about any of the issues of the day and instead just kept citing his military service in the Black Hawk War of 1832. Talk about a man for the ages!"

The Senator's campaign, having done its homework, knows there's little chance that Kerry might instead be compared to Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas. Douglas, as historian Paul Johnson tells us, had married two heiresses, traveled "in princely fashion," and was seen by Lincoln as "an unprincipled man motivated solely by ambition." Which means the Kerry brain trust can start counting its bonus checks now.

And the boldest moves may be yet to come from the Kerry camp. One idea being floated to address the candidate's constant flip-flops was inspired by the labeling on perishable foods found at the grocery store: expiration dates for political positions. "Imagine this scene at the first presidential debate: Bush is hammering Kerry about his umpteen-gazillion stands on Iraq or the way he recently told Jewish leaders that Israel's security wall is necessary for security after telling Arab-Americans months ago that the wall is a barrier to peace. All Kerry has to do is pull out some of his campaign literature, indicate the expiration date is January 29th or March 2nd or whatever and show that this particular Kerry position is long past its sell-by date. We're even thinking of doing a weekly public ceremony where John pours a milk carton full of his positions down the sink or tosses a leaky container of them into the garbage." When this reporter suggested that a box of waffles might be the perfect prop in such a ceremony, the campaign operative angrily declared the interview to be over.

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About the Author

Steve Hornbeck, a former writer for ABC's Politically Incorrect, lives in Albany, New York.