Nixon Only Needed Six Words to Describe John Kerry; New Yorker Takes 10,316

Secretary of State John Kerry talks to the media at the State Department in Washington on December 16, 2015. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS / AFP / YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read
Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images

The New Yorker magazine this week devotes 10,316 words to Secretary of State John Kerry.

It’s as unctuous and smarmy a piece of open and gross bumkissing, rampant rumpswabbery and fatuous flattery as you are likely to read anywhere this year, up to and including the editorial about the wonderfulness of Barack Obama in tomorrow’s New York Times, not to mention the pro-Obama editorial that will run the day after tomorrow, and the one the day after that….

Of all those 10,316 sycophantic words, the six that best sum up John Kerry come from President Richard Nixon, way back in 1971, as Tricky Dick is speaking to aide H.R. Haldeman about Kerry’s “Gin-ghis Khan” appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Kind of a phony, isn’t he?” Nixon casually observed.

The piece is written by the famous-long-ago magazine’s pajama-boy editor, David Remnick. Think of him as a modern-day Walter Lippmann, in the way that Tom Wolfe once described the ponderous Washington big-foot – a “paralyzing snoremonger.”

Remnick uses the exact same reporting techniques with Kerry that Wolfe described as Lippmann’s on-bended-knee m.o. – “the occasional red-carpet visit to a head of state, during which he had the opportunity of sitting on braided chairs in wainscoted offices and swallowing the exalted one’s official lies in person instead of reading them in the Times.”

Name dropping is a big part of this genre. As Remnick observes about 6,000 words in, “When I spoke with President Obama last year….”

Yes, but were you sitting on a braided chair in a wainscoted office, David?

Anyway, you have better things to do this time of year – or any time of year, for that matter – than read this hagiography, so we have done it for you.

As you might expect, the entire piece is a lot like the old song Home on the Range. Seldom is heard a discouraging word. Kerry’s Iranian deal, which in reality gives the mullahs both nuclear weapons and $150 billion cash – that’s a “victory,” according to Remnick. Ditto the outreach to Cuba, allowing the Stalinists in Havana to modernize their fleet of ’57 DeSotos while simultaneously continuing to oppress dissidents and shelter convicted New Jersey cop killers from extradition.

The man known back in Boston as “Liveshot” is breathlessly described as “advancing the fight against climate change,” and no, there aren’t any quotation marks to indicate even the slightest skepticism about what was known as global cooling before it was called global warming.

Kerry flew to Paris after an earlier flight “to Santiago to take part in a conference to save the world’s oceans.”

You think it’s easy, saving the world one day, rescuing the oceans the next. According to Remnick, “Kerry spends much of his life onboard a worse-for-wear government jet, a Boeing 757. Both Kerry and (predecessor Hillary) Clinton have often had the humbling experience of the plane breaking down.”

Nobody knows the troubles they’ve seen, on board that private 757. They’ve got a right to sing the blues.

A few more tidbits from this endless ode to the boundless narcissism of a septuagenarian fop:

  • “(Kerry) sailed with JFK.” Well, sort of, considering that JFK was born in 1917, and the other JFK was born in 1943. There is, however, a photograph of JFK on JFK’s boat with the real JFK.
  • “(Kerry) married twice into substantial fortunes.” In other words, he’s a recidivist gigolo.
  • After splitting from his first Pennsylvania heiress wife, who was worth $600 million, and before he hooked up with his second, who’s worth a billion, “Kerry had what (second wife) Teresa would call his ‘gypsy period,’ with no fixed address.” In other words, he was homeless and had nowhere to sleep, unless you include the backseat of his Chrysler LeBaron convertible.
  • He didn’t really lose the 2004 presidential election, his campaign staff blew it, especially that bleepity-bleep loser Robert Shrum. Kerry is quoted as saying, “Yeah, yeah, I realize how badly Shrum screwed me.”
  • The above quote about Shrum comes from Mike Barnicle, “a close friend of Kerry’s and a former columnist for the Boston Globe.” No mention of the circumstances of Barnicle’s departure from the Globe. The Barnicle-Kerry conversation allegedly took place on Kerry’s 76-foot, $7.5-million yacht, the Isabel, but again, no reference to the fact that Kerry’s second wife’s first husband’s trust fund outsourced the construction of the luxury yacht to New Zealand. Then Kerry berthed it in Rhode Island, thereby avoiding both sales and excise taxes in Massachusetts – a savings of at least $500,000, until he was busted by the Boston Herald. If you think those facts are worthy of mention, you obviously don’t understand the iron-clad rules of home-on-the-range journalism.
  • No mention is made of Kerry’s interest in sports popular with the hoi polloi, because he has none. But at one point during his time with Remnick “he stole glances at a Manchester United game on the TV above the bar.” At another moment “he steals away… to attend the Harvard-Yale football game.” Remnick is overusing the verb “steal” – where’s his editor? Oh that’s right, Remnick is the editor.
  • On the subject of notorious Democrat racist Woodrow Wilson. “I mean, I love Wilson and I love Wilsonian idealism, but it’s very idealistic.” Huh? Somebody call #blacklivesmatter! But Kerry is a Democrat and a Beautiful Person, so he can get away with saying any damn thing he pleases. His Bay State rival Mitt Romney once said “tar baby” and was denounced as a racist. Kerry likewise said “tar baby” – nothing to see here folks, move along.
  • Meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Kerry tells him, “This is my favorite palace.” During his run for president, Kerry was asked about the best bottle of wine he’d ever had. “Probably a Latour 1961,” he sniffed. And some bitter clingers say Kerry lacks the common touch!
  • “He is hardly a prep-school cartoon.” True enough. He’s more closely resembles a TV sitcom character from the 1960’s – Thurston Howell III of Gilligan’s Island.
  • Four words that somehow did not make their way into the interminable piece: “Kerry running-mate John Edwards.”
  • To relax, Remnick writes, Kerry doesn’t always try to find a polo match. “Sometimes he brings along a nylon-string guitar and relaxes by playing Beatles songs, Spanish laments, and show tunes.” Look on the bright side: at least he’s not stretched out on the platform of the Park Street MBTA station scrounging for spare change, strumming out his favorite Beatles tunes, “Nowhere Man,” “Taxman,” and “I’m a Loser.”
  • After the 2004 election, Kerry could have disputed the returns in Ohio, but he’s a bigger man than that, as he so modestly pointed out to Remnick – “I had a meeting with my people, and I told them that I did not think it appropriate of me to take the country through three or months of not knowing who the president was.” Which was, as Dirty Harry Callahan would say, “mighty white of him.”

Still, it’s perplexing, this obsession of his with Ohio. Even if Liveshot had prevailed in the popular vote there, which he didn’t, he would have lost the national popular vote by 3 million. Now, George Bush won Florida by 527 votes, and “lost” the popular vote by 500,000, so the 2000 election was illegitimate, according to the Kool Aid-guzzling community. But four years later, Kerry loses by 3 million, and somehow he too was… robbed.

  • Another missing piece of the story: all the rampant slobbery from Kerry about Bashar al-Assad, the second-generation dictator of Syria. In 2011, Kerry said Assad had been “very generous with me.” A year earlier, Liveshot had said, “Assad is a man who ‘wants to change.’” The Washington Post called Kerry one of Assad’s “prominent admirers.”

By 2013, he was calling Assad a “thug and a murderer.” But Tuesday, after the story was published, Kerry announced that Assad doesn’t necessarily have to abdicate, or flee.

So I guess you could say John Kerry was for Assad before he was against Assad before he was for Assad.

  • Rush Limbaugh always likes to point out that John Kerry served in Vietnam. To which Remnick says, “Mega-dittos!” He writes of his hero: “As a naval officer in Vietnam… (he) earned three Purple Hearts…. Kerry returned from Vietnam a decorated veteran… He was outraged that Bush… slime(d) his military record… ‘He always told me wanted to be informed by Vietnam but never imprisoned by it…’ Vietnam was an emotional touchstone…. On Veterans Day, he… visit(ed) the grave of one of the closest friends he lost in Vietnam.”

Let the record show that of the 10,316 words excreted by Remnick, only 10 were “Vietnam” (11 if you count “Vietcong.”) C’mon, David, you’ve got to do better than that if you really want to claim the title of paralyzing snoremonger of the 21st century.

Howie Carr’s new novel about organized crime in Boston, “Killers,” is available at


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