Along the Tracks

Monday, December 02, 2002

Kerry-ing the JFK Candle

Mickey Kaus is challenging readers to explain why most people have a visceral dislike of senator and presidential-hopeful John Kerry. Here’s what I sent to Mickey:

Kennedy Candle Theory: Those who seek to carry (Kerry?) the candle of John F. Kennedy are dim reflections of the man deified by so many Americans. Those who love the memory (embellished or not) of JFK are unimpressed both by the dimness of the reflection and the lack of an internal light in the candle-carrier. Those who don’t look back on Kennedy with misty eyes aren’t a potential constituency base anyway - why follow someone so clearly trying to be someone else?

Kerry has groomed this image (including his hair) for at least a couple decades now, and relies on it far more than anything substantive. A photo of the pensive Kennedy probably hangs above Kerry’s mirror - with Kerry practicing the look daily. Initial-identification by his followers (who seek intoxication from Kerry’s “JFK”-fumes) is just the most obvious manifestation. Kaus has the right idea with his “animatronic Lincoln,” but I think it’s more - and less - than that. Not a torchbearer, not even a robot, more like a circus-mirror on wheels. That’s why he’s so creepy.

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