It is tragic that when it matters, Lieutenant Kerry’s voice always seems to be usurped by Candidate Kerry’sby Idrees Ahmad / October 16, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in November 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
In 1971, as a young veteran testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lieutenant John Kerry spoke with eloquence. “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?” he asked. “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” His anti-war testimony, coming from a hero with no fewer than three Purple Hearts for bravery, turned him into a national figure.
By 2004, when Kerry ran against George W Bush for president, he had amassed a stellar record of public service as a senator for Massachusetts. Yet the conscientious Kerry lost to Bush, a man who had famously gone Awol during his National Reserve service and had done little at a national level. The candidate that appeared at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 was wooden and unremarkable; his war testimony was somehow turned against him by his enemies and he seemed to have no response.
Candidate Kerry was a pale shadow of Lieutenant Kerry. But in Every Day is Extra, it’s his honesty, dignity and wry humour that dominates. It makes it more readable than the average self-aggrandising/self-pitying political memoir. This is an honest and reflective record of military and public service; and it is hard not to leave with the impression that had Bush run against the author as he appears in this book, he would have been denied a second term.
Kerry has lived an eventful life full of memorable encounters, from boat rides with John F Kennedy to hockey games with Tom Hanks. Under Barack Obama, Kerry went on to serve ably as secretary of stat…