Monday, August 30, 2004

Politics, hmmph

I'm not sure what to say about this. I like President Bush more than I ever expected, but I would be shocked if I voted for him. Very shocked. (Heck, I coined the abbreviation ABBB for "Any Body But Bush" when his dad was running in 1988.) I like Kerry less than I hoped for, much less. It's not that I think Kerry will be worse as President than Bush, and just because Kerry hasn't articulated all of his future policies yet does not mean he won't or they will cause major unrest in the nation or the world. (Come on, what non-incumbent candidate has all of their positions worked out? Let's be real, of course the incumbent has an advantage.)

Anyway, this page has some interesting tidbits about his time in the U.S. Navy. It's a relatively balanced view of him from some former shipmates.

My summary? He was a good officer with a great deal of potential. Some of his fellow sailors remember events differently and he hurt the feelings of many when he joined in anti-war protests. Here are some snippets from J. F. Kelly:
John Kerry and I were shipmates in the guided missile cruiser USS Gridley (CG-21) in 1967 and 1968. He served as First Lieutenant, the officer in charge of the deck division, and I was Executive Officer, or second in command. I remember him as a serious and intelligent young ensign, seemingly mature beyond his years. The skipper and I were mightily impressed with him in spite of his inexperience. He had excellent verbal skills and great poise so we assigned him a collateral duty as Public Affairs Officer. Because of these duties and his basic responsibilities for seamanship evolutions and the overall external appearance of the ship, I had close, daily contact with him. To put it another way, I would be all over his case, if the ship wasn't shipshape. Turns out he didn't need too much supervision in that regard. He was a fine division officer and his men obviously respected him.
The crew performed well and John Kerry’s performance in all aspects of his duty was outstanding. Drafting his fitness reports was an exercise in the use of superlatives. In fact, of the thirty or so officers, I counted him in the top half dozen, no mean feat for an ensign.
While he was protesting against the war, many of us were still fighting in it. Many of us felt betrayed that one of our own, a decorated hero, would give comfort to the enemy by such actions. Think what you want about the wisdom in getting involved in that war, two presidents, both Democrats, committed the armed forces they commanded to fight it. Make no mistake; actions by the likes of Fonda and Kerry were damaging to our morale....
And here's some by Phil Carter,
I was an E-5 radarman on the USS GRIDLEY and was onboard from 1965 until May of 1968. My principal role in 67 and 68 was to prepare intelligence information to brief the rescue helo pilots and the ship’s officers. I received a commendation from CINCPACFLT for this activity. I stood quite a few CIC watches with Ensign Kerry where we discussed many things, including the war.
I am a registered independent and have no axe to grind with him. I gave him a reasonably large campaign contribution in the mid 1990’s and visited with him for about 30 minutes in an alcove outside the Senate chambers in 1996 when I was in DC on business.
Some of these points may be perceived as picky, but they seem to show a deliberate effort in his writings of the time to build a mystique for a future political career showing him as a great leader, father confessor to the ship and astute analyst of political and military happenings.
That is not to say that Kerry was not a good officer. He was and to my recollection was well liked. Did he stalk the passageways showing his future presidential timber? Absolutely not. A reporter from the Chicago Tribune actually asked me that. When I told him that he was just another goofy Ensign, he was horrified and did not use that quote.

And Cafe HedonistiX is someone who would (in my best guess) probably vote "None of the Above" if allowed.

AUTHOR'S NOTE/31 August: ABCDII has correctly stated that I only present some of the information. If you read the link above, you will find both of the authors quoted above are opposed to Kerry and neither will be voting for him.


ABCD II said...

I find your summary to be lacking. Take the full text of the two snippets you quote. One finishes by saying Kerry isn't fit to be commander-in-chief. The other basically says that Kerry's book is filled with lies and exagerations. From this you get: "good officer," "great deal of potential," "fellow sailors remember events differently," and "he hurt the feelings of many."

Jeffrey Davidson said...

You are correct and I should have stated both authors quoted above will not be voting for Kerry. My apologies to the readers.

Part of my point was to show there is/was good in him as a leader, that Kerry is not necessarily dispicable. Even those opposed to him admit he has/had some good qualities.

It sickens me when all we do demonize our opponents. It's effective for rallying the troops, but worthless for having a decent conversation or argument.