WASHINGTON -- James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal's resident anthropologist, put it perfectly when he described Sen. Jean-Francois Kerry as "a comic perpetual motion machine." And as such, the junior senator from Massachusetts provides an invaluable service to us. He provokes us to laugh about wholesome excess -- not the ribald mishaps of a Sen. Larry Craig or, if your memory is well-tuned, of Rep. Barney Frank. The Hon. Kerry -- with his ponderous gravitas, his implausible presumptions to achievements in the arts, in athletics and, who knows, perhaps in ballet -- is the reductio ad absurdum of the modern American politician's colossal claims to greatness in all the departments of human endeavor.
Sen. Kerry is a confirmed C student -- confirmed so by inquiring journalists after he tried to present himself as summa cum laude in comparison with his Republican opponent in 2004, President George W. Bush. President Bush never has claimed to be anything but a C student; though, as it turns out, his Yale grade-point average was slightly better than that of his fellow Yalie Jean-Francois. We know this because The Boston Globe eventually laid hands on Kerry's Yale transcript. Kerry had refused to release the transcript for years. Nonetheless he boasted of his intellect and complexity. Similarly, he boasted of his war record after exaggerating it and claiming to have witnessed American atrocities. It is this shamelessness combined with his obvious mediocrity that gets him into the hilarious fixes that have distinguished his career.
Just a few weeks ago, Kerry blundered into buffoonery once again. Impatient with unsubstantiated claims that the 2004 Swift boat advertisements lied about Kerry's hoked-up military record, Boone Pickens, one of the funders of those ads, publicly challenged the critics to demonstrate the ads' inaccuracies. He promised to provide $1 million to anyone who succeeded. Astonishingly, Kerry took the bait. With the consummate presumption that makes him the "comic perpetual motion machine" that he is, Kerry wrote Pickens: "While I am prepared to show they (the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, often his fellow officers) lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false, I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt." That said -- and only that said -- Kerry asked for his cool million.
Pickens' perfectly reasonable response was to ask for Kerry's proof. As of today, no proof has been tendered by the Massachusetts Braggart. Pickens also cleverly asked for the journal that Kerry allegedly maintained in Vietnam and "Your military record, specifically your service records for the years 1971-1978, and copies of all movies and tapes made during your service." Megalomaniac that he is, Kerry filmed himself in Vietnam. Some of his fellow servicemen thought the films faked injuries and actions.
It is reported that Kerry's fellow Democrats were embarrassed by Kerry's unsubstantiated charges and empty whining. It brought to the public eye all his self-absorbed melodrama from the catastrophic 2004 race. Frankly, I sympathized with the Democratic leaders, but Kerry's guff deserved to be put to the test. Thus on Nov. 21, I unveiled on The American Spectator's Web site The Crybaby Kerry Clock. I promised that it would silently ticktock away beneath a smug depiction of Crybaby Kerry, counting the hours until he came forward with his promised evidence of the Swift Boat Veterans' false advertising, his Vietnam journal and his military record. No evidence has been forthcoming. We all have had a good laugh. Yet it is time to move on, as the cliche traffickers put it. On Jan. 4, the historic clock will cease to exist, and we all shall have to await Crybaby Kerry's next catastrophe of self-promotion.
Yet as retired Marine Corps Maj. Michael E. McBride wrote in Townhall.com, Kerry "has always had the power to clear up any of the Swiftboater challenges; all he had to do is allow the Navy to distribute unaltered copies of his service record, medical records, and DD214. It is essential that these records come from DOD, so that they cannot be tampered with by Kerry or his supporters. The DOD copies are the true copies of record and the only viable evidence for these matters." McBride, citing Kerry's long reluctance to do so, goes on to write: "It is unlikely that any credible evidence exists to refute the base charges of the Swiftboaters." He concludes, "If any of my ex-squadron mates dumped on me like the Swift boat vets are dumping on Kerry, my records would have been available the next day."
So I guess that means there never would be a Crybaby Clock for Maj. McBride.