Ed Driscoll


When most people go into their home theaters, they put their feet up and watch DVDs of the latest movie by George Lucas or Steven Spielberg. John Kerry watches himself, in 1969:

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.

His campaign as well, Byron York writes.