John Kerry’s last visit to Austin was on Earth Day, 2007. Austin is a big enough city nowadays to attract political heavy-hitters some–not like it did when LBJ was president, but more than most flyover states’ cities its size do. For reasons I don’t know and never will and don’t care to anyway John Kerry chose to make Austin, Texas his book tour stop for Earth Day, 2007, for his new book on the environment that he and his wife Teresa supposedly wrote.
Kerry drew a crowd of around 150 to the local independent bookstore for his and Teresa’s presentation of the book. Audience was the typical demographic for a mainstream Democratic politician–most of the audience was affluent, white, and social security age or better. They were all spry and well preserved for their age, none I remember showed physical decrepitude any, which shows that every one of them had had indoors professional jobs their entire lives, that none of them had worked outdoors doing physical work in Texas for a living. Something to be said for indoors jobs after all, I guess. John Kerry came to the podium and talked for what couldn’t have been more than 40 minutes but seemed much longer, talking about his book and the environmental heroes who are making a difference nowadays. Writers have commented on Kerry’s horse face, some of the better ones have pointed out his cosmetic plastic surgery on it, but nobody to my recollection has commented on how absolutely expressionless his face is. It’s one thing to hear a dull emotionless speaker, but it is far worse coming from a complete stoneface like Kerry. Listening to Kerry was an ordeal, and then his wealth-damaged wife* came on to talk for another 20 minutes. If anything she was more boring and painful to listen to than her husband, and her deep insight as to the most important thing we can do for our children’s future is to feed them organic spinach just made my head hurt.
Les Kerrys finally finished talking, and a bookstore employee came up to the mike and announced that les Kerrys would take questions now, but the questions were only to be about the book and the environment, nothing else would be allowed, thank you very much. The audience was pretty thoroughly anesthetized, and nobody raised their hand for a long spell. I stuck my hand up, and asked:
“Senator Kerry, ever since Robert MacNamara quit his job at the World Bank he’s been speechifying on the rubber chicken circuit about nuclear war, about what a bad thing it is, and how we shouldn’t have one. Senator, I just can’t take Mr. MacNamara seriously on this issue. Ignoring the facts of his responsibility for the US side of the nuclear arms race, the fact is that nobody is actually in favor of nuclear war, that being against nuclear war is the safest political stand a person can make. It’s even safer than being for apple pie and motherhood. Senator Kerry, it is obvious to me that Mr. MacNamara isn’t speechifying against nuclear war because he is against nuclear war, he’s doing it to avoid being asked the hard questions about his responsibility for the war in Vietnam. Now in your case, Senator Kerry, I’ve never met anybody who is actually in favor of destroying the environment, and being in favor of the environment is just as safe as motherhood and apple pie. Tell us, Senator, aren’t you doing the same thing with your book on the environment that Robert MacNamara is doing with his speechifying on nuclear war, using your book as a means to dodge answering the hard questions about your neverending support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? And yes, Senator, the wars are an environmental issue, because every single proposal for the environment in your book requires money being spent by the government, money we don’t have because you keep voting to spend it on the wars abroad instead.”
There isn’t a soul on the face of this earth who could tell what Kerry thought of this question from his facial expressions, because, like I said, he basically doesn’t have any. He doesn’t have any wrinkles much on his face either, and the two are probably linked via heavy Botox usage. Somebody ought to ask him about it, or ask a plastic surgeon for their opinion, but nobody in our lazy and servile newsmedia ever has yet. Kerry went on to gasbag for a solid five minutes on my question, and he and I fenced around the issue of his efforts in the New England fisheries haven’t kept the cod fishery from crashing from overharvest on his watch. He also said a some kind words about Robert MacNamara, which surprised me, that he felt compelled to defend someone who fundamentally is morally somewheres between a feline and a reptile.
Kerry went on to field more questions from his fan audience, giving them all lengthy and unfocused answers. Towards the end of the Q & A, during an answer to some question or another, John Kerry, out of the blue, blurted out that Austin, Texas, was responsible for the war in Iraq. You see, George Bush and Karl Rove are both from Austin, Texas**, and they both planned the war in the Texas Governor’s Mansion when Bush was Governor. Right out of the blue Kerry says this, with of course no expression on his face, says it in the same monotone he speaks and speeches in. The audience of geriatric dyed in the wool Democrats gave him a good round of boos for that, which also did not register on his facial expressions. Kerry went on to field–I wouldn’t say answer–more questions, and then let his wife have the stand for a bit. Things wrapped up, and they started up the stairs to the upstairs room where they were going to sign books. I beat esprit d’escalier this time, for once, and as they went up the stairs I got close to them and yelled out “Senator Kerry! I just wanted to thank you for the kind words you said about Robert MacNamara, the man who sent you and your dead buddies to Vietnam.” Kerry obviously needs a hearing aid, and doesn’t wear one when he ought to, because even though everyone in the crowd of 150 heard it, he didn’t. Kerry turned to me and said that he didn’t hear me, so I yelled it out again. He still didn’t hear it, but his wife did, and the store staff were already trying to corral me out of there. I shook those gunsel wannabees off and left.
There’s been some mention in press accounts about John Kerry saying some really off the wall things, inexplicably, in his speeches and public events but nobody in the news business has ever bothered to say just what they were. Well, this is one of them, and it really is a remarkable one. Never in my life have I seen a politician gratuitously insult his audience the way Kerry did there at the bookstore. Gratuitously, out of the blue, insult the audience, their hometown, and their native state. There is something quite terribly wrong with Kerry’s mental condition for him to say something this ugly for no reason, and that being the case, just why the hell is he holding elective office? How did he get to be a presidential nominee? Didn’t anybody in the newsmedia see this in him, or the professional party insiders either? Can you imagine a President Kerry saying something like this to some foreign head of state? There’s just no excuse.
And there isn’t any excuse whatsoever for this incident not being reported, anywhere, by the newsmedia. There was no shortage of press in the bookstore, and two TV stations were there with camera crews too, and not a single word of it made it into any newspaper or news broadcast. I couldn’t believe it, and I contacted every major Texas newspaper’s news and editorial desk with this story, by telephone and e-mail. I also contacted the key Texas magazines–the traditional liberal Texas Observer and Texas Monthly, which yet remains more than a Republican suburban woman’s fashion and shopping monthly. I also contacted the Boston Globe. I didn’t hear back from any of them, none, not one.
I can understand the Globe ignoring the story; apparently they have for years now for their own Massachusetts-o-centric reasons. But there isn’t one lick of reason for the Texas media ignoring this story. Senator and presidential candidate comes to town and insults Texas and its capitol city. That isn’t news? Presidential candidate has several screws loose in public, and that isn’t news? Senator who has voted for every single war authorization and appropriations bill blames the war on a secret vast long-standing conspiracy, and that isn’t news? There isn’t any excuse, save editorial cowardice and unprofessionalism, which this country’s newsmedia is chockablock full of.
But there is one more thing the Texas media needs a good kicking for on this story. I’m old enough to remember the JFK assassination, and the following years of blaming Texas, and Dallas Texas in particular, for it. I’ve caught abuse, semijoking abuse but abuse nevertheless, as late as the late ’80’s from ill-mannered Massachusetts Yankees about being somehow personally responsible for JFK’s assassination because I’m from Texas, and I always resented the Yankee smugness behind it. Why does the entire of Texas’ newspapers’ editorial staff put up with this sort of insult and abuse to this state and the people who live here from that no-mannered horsefaced closet warmonger Yankee dog John Kerry? It isn’t just that they are editorial cowards; their silence here makes them accomplices to a public slandering of Texas and its inhabitants by that lout, churl, and ambulatory embarrassment to humanity John Kerry.
So the Austin American Statesman is put out by my calling them out on editorial cowardice for not reporting how last month the UT Federalist Society turds barred their reporter from their public event at a public venue? I’ll deal with that next week; I’ve got more research to do first. In the meantime, they can deal with this–their editorial cowardice displayed here, professional incompetence too, and worse their supine acceptance of vile insults to this state and its peoples.
*It isn’t just that Mrs. Kerry’s previous husband left her a fortune of something over $600 million when he died in a plane crash that makes her wealth damaged. She grew up affluent in white colonial (Portuguese, no less) Africa. If there is a higher part of the hog to live on ever in recent human history than affluent white colonial I can’t think of it.
***For all y’all on the web who don’t know Texas history, and no doubt the entire of the staff of the Austin paper as well, Sam Houston’s dying words were “Martha…Oh Martha…Texas…Texas…Texas.”