Jewish World Review Dec. 4, 2002 / 29 Kislev, 5763

Tony Blankley

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Kerry atwitter | When John Kerry put his toe in the presidential waters last weekend he immediately was hit by riptides. The Washington press corps strongly dislikes him (a point in his favor). After his appearance on "Meet the Press" last Sunday, where he announced his plans to run for president, Washington has been atwitter with criticism.

In keeping with the seriousness of the times, the elite journalists here in the capital of the world went straight to the heart of his shortcomings. The Washington Post complained that "Kerry has a warmth problem. He recites his positions but doesn't tell any folksy stories ... " USA Today's lead critique was that "the Washington press corps doesn't much like John Kerry ... that's important." The much respected journalist Mickey Kaus, in trying to identify why he was a non-admirer of the senator, focused on Sen. Kerry's countenance: "I think it starts with the phony furrowed brow. Perpetually furrowed and perpetually phony. It's been furrowed for so long I doubt he could unfurrow it."

(All of these examples were conveniently reported in Howard Kurtz's media review column in the Post.)

Meanwhile, Matt Drudge broke the biggest John Kerry story on his much maligned but voraciously read Web site: Kerry pays $150 for a haircut. Now there was a story with legs.

As we panting Washington journalists constantly checked back with Drudge for updates on that developing story, we learned first that Kerry and Hillary have the same stylist.

Then it was revealed that he only paid $75 for his haircut, while Hillary paid $150.

Then it was reported that Senator Kerry may be having his hair dyed. This allegation was denied by a Kerry spokesman.

Next, it was suggested that if Hillary is paying more than Kerry, it might be a violation of D.C.'s sex discrimination regulations that bar unequal charges for haircuts based on sex. That would be an unfair charge against the stylist because obviously Hillary would take a lot more labor to whip her hair into presentable shape than it would the senator.

(Full disclosure: I go to the same stylist. She is a gifted artist, making even the top of my old, fat head shimmer and glisten like a Hollywood starlet's. Both the senators have excellent taste in hairstylists. Moreover, the gossip around the beauty parlor is that for security reasons Ms. Hillary never comes into the shop. The stylist is obliged to trudge through downtown traffic to wrestle with Hillary's thatched roof in private. That fact alone justifies a higher charge. So, if there are any snooping D.C. regulators out there: Lay off our Isabelle -- or else!)

Well, you can see how seriously Washington takes its responsibility to act as a shrewd explainer of national policy to a waiting American citizenry. I confess, as one plows through the "Meet the Press" transcript, it is hard to find solid, specific policy assertions to comment on.

My favorite Kerryism is found in the first few paragraphs when he claims: "I think there's a deep anxiety in the American people about security, and they put it all under the word "security" -- job security, income security, retirement security, health security, education security, physical, personal security and, of course, national security." That's nine times he squeezed the word security into one sentence. You don't suppose his pollsters have told him to use the word security as often as possible?

Perhaps the most intriguing comment by the senator came right after the security iterations.

Tim Russert asked whether there was any turning back on the presidential quest. Sen Kerry responded: "Well, I mean, I hope not, but on the other hand, if you find that -- you know, I can remember in times of war when you turn around and the troops aren't there behind you. ... "

Does he really remember that? He was a combat officer in Vietnam. Did his men fail to follow his lawful order? Did he attempt to rally the deserting troops? Was insubordination involved or only a failure to keep track of his men's whereabouts during combat? Or, was he just slipping into his comments a sly reference to his military service?

He ended his explanation of whether he might quit the race with the observation: "You see if you can raise the money."

Given that he and his wife -- the Widow Heinz -- are reported to be worth over 600,000,000 ketchup dollars, money would not seem to be the problem. As a Washington wag observed recently: Every time John Kerry goes to bed with his wife, it's a fundraiser.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Tony Blankley is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

11/27/02: The unThankful list
11/20/02: First the scare, then the yawn
11/13/02: It's going to be a long two years for Lefty Pelosi and the Frisco Dems
11/06/02: Technology: A pollster's worst enemy --- thank goodness!
10/31/02: Watch this election's Wheel of Fate
10/23/02: The Ari and Colin Show: Politics has never been, well, more vaudeville-like
10/09/02: Bush beats drums of realism
10/02/02: Needed: A political chromatograph to detect any true statements in the public domain
09/25/02: Buchanan's new mag
09/18/02: There are many forms of peace
09/11/02: The imperial period of our history starts
09/04/02: Memo to Powell: In periods of upheaval, the refusal to act gives aid to those bent on destruction
08/30/02: Logging old growth is a sham issue

© 2002, Creators Syndicate