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Democrats, John Kerry, parting company

Tossing Kerry overboard

By John Burtis

Friday, November 17, 2006

It has been a bad few days for John Kerry, the junior senator in that proud stable of upright outré solons from Massachusetts, gaunt senseless pontificator, noted jokester, war hero, camera hog, hip 70's Winter Soldier, one time presidential candidate, haircut model in many barbershops, early Botox patient, and Beacon Hill denizen with a deep abiding concern over the exact placement of Boston's fire hydrants.

In fact, it's been a virtual nightmare for a man not used to having anything other than his own way.

Schumer, Kerry, Reid, DurbanSeemingly lost in the labyrinthine corridors of the Capitol, now awash with new Democratic power brokers and their cadres of baby-faced bum kissers, poor Mr. Kerry valiantly ran from room to room, office to office, conference room to men's room, searching for that meeting with Chuck Schumer and the Democratic leadership which he knew in his heart that he must be invited to, which he must attend, whose successful outcome depended on his storied input.

Like that parlous nightmare we all suffer, he sprinted, huffing and puffing, down hallways, around corners, necktie flying in the breeze of his mad dash, the metal inserts in his leather heels leaving a trail of sparks around the corners where he slid in his two-wheel locked slides, while the fingers of his right hand remained at his tie knot.

And as he jogged in his doubly heavy, valet shined brogans with the leather inserts, designed to make him appear taller than he really is, he smarted from the fact that the communication alerting him to the conference time and site had been lost in the usually punctual and notably exact Capitol mail system.

The idea that he could have been left out of the shuffle by his confreres, his old pals, his buddies, his mates, his cronies, and the key grips and gaffers of his party, was impossible for the old anti-war warrior to conceive of.

Had he not delivered the election to the Democrats by means of his keenly insightful and deadly attack on the troops, delivered on the eve of the election battle, in Pasadena? Hadn't all the budding young socialists in the crowd just eaten every crumb of that hearty chestnut right up? Of course they had. Mayor Manny Ortiz had just beamed as well, didn't he? Sure he did. And the walls had come tumbling down around the Republicans.

Finally, as he slid in from his patented hyper-light jog, running his left hand across his damp patrician forehead while his right straightened his Countess Mara tie, he found the room.

As he approached he heard the dry, taught, shrill voice of Senator Chuck Schumer, the noted privacy advocate, counseling those within, “Well, let's go, then.” And he thought he heard Harry Reid say, “It's all yours, Chuck.”

The door opened and they appeared; Senator Schumer, Harry Reid, a woman Kerry wasn't sure of, was it Patty Murray or Debbie Stabenow, and his old friend Dick Durbin, whom the dastardly Republicans refer to as Dick Turban for his friendly and restrained outreach to the Muslim freedom fighters and brothers in the prolonged war against that domestic terrorist, President Bush.

Senator Kerry, ecstatic to have finally found his progressive goombahs, stepped forward to join the smiling line.

But as he did so, he was taken aback by the look, the tone of voice, and the quick, harsh but unmistakable words hurled his way by the Democratic Senate's new number three man, Chuck Schumer, who forsook his previous pledges of personal privacy, with a rather mean, “Get lost, John.” And no one else even glanced his way as they strode past him into the light of a new left-liberal Democratic day.

At that precise moment John Forbes Kerry was thrown overboard without an EPIRB, without a survival kit, a map, water, meals ready to eat, a survival light, in an unfriendly sea in a very small un-seaworthy raft, by a decidedly inimical party leadership, who had apparently forgotten, in their moment of triumph, all that he had ever done for them.

John “Live Shot” Kerry remained in the shadows between two pillars, as his party abandoned him in the building where he had made his bones as a Winter Soldier, humiliating the men in uniform his party would again heedlessly abandon in a foreign field without his help, save as a cipher.

And as Dingy Harry, Dick Turban and Chuck, and that other woman he couldn't quite place, marched to their destiny, John Kerry scuttled away in the cool darkness of the corridors which once welcomed him with hellos, hand shakes, and how do you do's.

Later, in the privacy of his darkness, he replayed the DVD of the CD/ROM of the VHS film of the old 16 mm epic of his testimony before the US Senate, and marveled at the wry turns of phrase, his use of Ghengis Khan, and the word pictures he'd painted for an enthralled Democratic Senate about those totally fabricated crimes he'd never seen.

But my, how the press had doted on him then. Was the Winter Soldiers gibberish really going to be his high water mark, his monument, he asked himself again?

If only he had had his briefcase with his maps and his beloved cap with him. He could've showed them to Chuck and Harry and set the record straight. But he didn't know that he would be thrown aside like yesterday's news.

John Kerry could never visualize that he'd be out of time.

John Burtis is a former Broome County, NY firefighter, a retired Santa Monica, CA, police officer. He obtained his BA in European History at Boston University and is fluent in German. He resides in NH with his wife, Betsy. John Burtis can be reached at:

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