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Dear John,

A letter to Senator Kerry.

7:45 AM, Nov 1, 2006 • By NOEMIE EMERY
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Dear Senator Kerry,

We have not yet met, but I feel moved now to write you, in view of the latest assault on your honor, and the cruel blows being dealt you by fate. Your life has been hell since the last election, when those hanging chads in Ohio tricked all those people into voting for Buchanan, or Nader; and the fact that you lost the rest of the country by 3 million votes proved that the fraud had been everywhere. And before that were those baseless attacks by those 200-some veterans, paid off by Karl Rove in l970, on the chance that 34 years later he'd be running George W. Bush for president and needed to soften you up. Everyone knows they had no case whatsoever (beyond the fact you were calling them rapists and killers), just as everyone knows how tasteless it is to mock your lifestyle. Everyone knows how hard you work for your money, how much you deserve it, and how hard to must be to find not one, but two women with quite so much dough. (If you were only a woman, people would see your story as the fairy tale it is.)

Even worse, it is mean, false, and mendacious to say that you were trying to call our brave men in Iraq and in uniform mentally challenged, when it was clear as day that you meant this to apply to the president, who ran rings around you when you last met in electoral combat; and whose grades in college were higher than yours.

With this in mind, it's no surprise you went postal. Who in your position wouldn't have? Anyone would have called the president's spokesman "pathetic" and referred to the "right-wing nut-jobs," as you did in the formal statement you put out to the press.

What was especially moving was this emotional note in your statement: "I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq."

How right you are to realize that attacking a disabled person or one who has suffered a serious illness is the worst thing that can be done by a civilized person, so dire that, of course, you feel free to insult Rush Limbaugh, a radio performer who has carried on uncomplainingly in spite of his deafness, and Tony Snow, who has recently suffered a bout with serious cancer.

I am deeply moved, too, by the following statement, obviously regarding the wartime service of President Bush in the Texas Air National Guard: "It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country, lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have." Well said, as the only ones permitted to lie and distort about anything are valiant warriors such as Howard Dean and Bill Clinton, whose heroic exploits at Oxford and on the ski slopes of Aspen we all remember so well.



The only thing that consoles me in light of your troubles is that you are never without consolations, such as an $8,000 bike, or a $l00,000 motorboat, or a Lear jet, or the five mansions owned by your wife. Get away to one of them, or all of them, and go skiing; or sailing; and feel the wind in your face, or your hair. Speaking of hair, go to Christophe, and get a new rinse or hairdo; this always makes me feel better. Get a manicure, or a facial, or a fresh shot of Botox. Before it gets cold, go windsurfing off of your place in Nantucket. Those flowered shorts sure were cute.



"Life is unfair," as the first JFK put it, and nothing is less fair than the fact that the war-hero gambit worked for him but not for you. Of course, JFK didn't come home and call his old buddies war criminals. And none of the people who knew, or knew of, him ever called him a pompous and self-seeking blowhard who was making things up. Nonetheless, I want to congratulate you again for standing up to those decorated war veterans, deaf men, and cancer survivors who so meanly attacked you, and please keep on doing it. Keep on talking, just as you have, up to and right through November 7, or at least until the polls close in most districts. Come to think of it, don't stop even then.



Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD and the author of the forthcoming Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families (Wiley).