By now you must know that John Kerry has more homes than most people
have televisions. And we're not talking about modest two bedroom
bungalows. Kerry's homes are the tv equivalent of 72 inch plasma
The right wing is having a heyday with this. Smug, self-righteous
talk show hosts lampoon the idea of Kerry as the champion of the
common man. They love to point out that his vacation home in Idaho is
a five hundred year old farm house from England, meticulously taken
apart, piece by piece, and reassembled here in the States. The
comparison is between Kerry, the effete, liberal northeastern snob,
playing the dude in Idaho, and Bush, the authentic American cowboy
Even the New York Times has jumped aboard, running in yesterday's
(March 22, 2004) paper a big spread, complete with four color photos,
of Kerry's various houses.
One small detail: These aren't Kerry's homes. They are his wife's.
And before they belonged to her, they belonged to her former (now
deceased) husband. He's the one who bought and paid for them; he's the
one who had the English farmhouse deconstructed.
The more interesting point, for all you right wing hypocrisy watchers
(and there are increasingly more of us), is that the first husband of
Kerry's wife was also a senator. Unlike Kerry, however, the first
husband was a Republican. So what we have is the right wing
attacking Kerry for living in homes built by a Republican Senator.
Hypocrisy and deceit by the right wing propaganda machine is hardly
newsworthy. Actually, I see Kerry's homes as a shining beacon for at
least two important Republican principles. The first is the
importance of family values. Kerry married the woman he loves, and to
prove his love for her, he lives in her former husband's homes, no
matter how garish or ostentatious he may find them to be. The second
is the issue of the "death" tax. We know that the evil of the
inheritance tax is that it destroys our incentive for working hard and
accumulating more money and stuff than we could ever use or spend.
You've got to believe that Kerry's wife's first husband was powerfully
motivated knowing that, after he died, some Democratic Senator would
be able to shack up in his homes, with his wife.