In 1996, Sen. John Kerry fought the political battle of his life against Republican Gov. William Weld. During the senatorial campaign, Kerry uttered this unforgettable witticism: "Governor, as I listen to you, it's really extraordinary. You talk out of both sides of your mouth more than the Budweiser frogs. It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my life."
Evidently, John Kerry has several Budweiser frogs hopping around in his gene pool -- a biblical plague of them. His list of flip-flops is longer than his face. As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby aptly puts it, "In the 2004 presidential field, there is a candidate for nearly every point of view. His name is John Kerry."
There are really three types of John Kerry (not 57, as previously thought). First, there's the far-left John Kerry, the Ivy League, Northeastern, Ted Kennedy type. Let's nickname this John Kerry "Er." Then, there's the faux-populist John Kerry, who rails against special interests, yet remains the cozy guy next door. Let's call this John Kerry "Bud." Finally, there's the conservative John Kerry, who toes the right-wing line when it's popular. Let's dub this John Kerry "Weis."
Now imagine these three John Kerrys sitting side by side on a log, discussing the issues of the day. We'll add a moderator, too. Since he's a mainstream-media reptile, we'll call him "Lizard." The conversation would end up something like this:
LIZARD: What do you think of the media circus surrounding the President Bush AWOL allegations, Sen. Kerry?
ER: The issue here, as I have heard it raised, is: Was he present and active on duty in Alabama at the times he was supposed to be? I don't have the answer to that question ... Just because you get an honorable discharge does not in fact answer that question. (John Kerry, Feb. 8, 2004)
BUD: It's not an issue that I chose to create. It's not my record that's at issue, and I don't have any questions about it. (John Kerry, Feb. 10, 2004)
LIZARD: Sounds consistent to me ... let's turn to fund-raising practices. I've heard varying opinions from you on this, Sen. Kerry.
BUD: I have a message for the influence peddlers, for the polluters, the HMOs, the big drug companies that get in the way, the big oil and the special interests who now call the White House their home. We're coming. You're going. And don't let the door hit you on the way out. (John Kerry, Jan. 27, 2004)
LIZARD: But you've been the No. 1 recipient of special-interest money in Congress over the past 15 years. For your presidential race, you've raised over $225,000 in lobbyist cash, including $27,000 from oil and gas companies, $34,000 from HMOs and $18,500 from pharmaceutical companies.
WEIS: If anybody in America thinks that a $1,000 contribution against $14 million in a campaign is somehow going to sway my vote, there's a level of cynicism I can't address. (John Kerry, Jan. 31, 2004)
LIZARD: You are simply incorruptible. Sen. Kerry, you've made military service in Vietnam the centerpiece of your campaign. What do you think of our Vietnam veterans?
ER: (They) personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, (blew) up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam ... (John Kerry, April 23, 1971)
WEIS: Nothing -- not politics, not time, not outcome -- nothing will ever diminish one iota the contributions of these brothers and sisters, nothing can ever lessen the courage with which they waged war. Nothing reduces the magnitude of their sacrifice, nothing can take away the quality of their gift to their nation. (John Kerry, June 11, 2002)
The argument continues long into the swampy night. While Lizard sits by admiringly, Bud, Weis and Er argue about everything from the war in Iraq to the Patriot Act to gay rights. It's an amusing scene, but when you remember that Bud, Weis and Er are really all just John F. Kerry, you can't help but think that Kerry is a political schizophrenic. And that this Bud might not be for you.