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Ed Driscoll

Lights, Camera, Reenactment!

April 25th, 2009 - 10:27 am

The Hill notes that Senator John Kerry, the ol’ Winter Soldier himself, “is seeking guidance from the Senate Ethics Committee and the Federal Election Committee about investing in a documentary about soldiers in Iraq.”

As they add, “Move over Al Gore. John Kerry is getting into the movie business.”

Actually, they should have written getting back into the movie business. As Byron York wrote in 2004:

Perhaps more than any other presidential candidate in recent memory, Kerry seems to be living in another time, playing a movie of Vietnam over and over in his mind.

In fact, he is often playing an actual movie of Vietnam over and over on his television. Consider this scene from a remarkable profile of Kerry published in the Boston Globe in October 1996, when Kerry was in a tough reelection battle:

Kerry told reporter Charles Sennott the oft-repeated story of the February 1969 firefight in which Kerry attacked the Viet Cong who ambushed his Swift boat. Kerry won the Silver Star, as well as a Purple Heart, for his efforts. But the story wasn’t just the firefight itself. It was also Kerry’s reaction to it.

The future senator was so “focused on his future ambitions,” Sennott reported, that not long after the fight, he bought a Super-8 movie camera, returned to the scene, and reenacted the skirmish on film. During their interview, Kerry played the tape for Sennott.

“I’ll show you where they shot from. See? That’s the hole covered up with reeds,” Kerry said as he ran the tape in slow motion.

Kerry told Sennott that his decision to reenact the fight on film was no big deal — “just something I did, no great meaning to it.” But it’s clear that the old movie is a huge deal. “Through hours of watching the films in the den of his newly renovated Beacon Hill mansion, it becomes apparent that these are memories and footage he returns to often,” Sennott wrote.

“Kerry jumps repeatedly from the couch to adjust the Sony large screen TV in his home entertainment center, making sure the picture is clear, the color correct. He fast forwards, rewinds and freeze frames the footage. His running commentary — vivid, sometimes touching, sometimes self-serving — never misses a beat.”

In John Kerry’s home-entertainment center, it’s always 1969.

And that’s the worldview Kerry will be bringing to his latest movie making venture, if it actually gets off the ground. But then, it was always 1969 in all of the fictional movies about Iraq that Hollywood made since 2004. Given the need to stimulate the economy, doesn’t Kerry know that these virulently anti-American war movies invariably bombed at the box office?

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