John Kerry: A Navy Dove Runs for Congress

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"I as effectively as anyone else in the country, can address myself to the issue of Vietnam," Kerry said. "I'm very realistic, though. I'm just going to be one man adding to the work of men like Lowenstein."

Kerry is a pilot, and on October 14 and 15 he flew Ted Kennedy's advisor Adam Walinsky by private plane throughout the State of New York so that Walinsky could give speeches against the Vietnam War. But Kerry was smart enough not to put down "Moratorium" on the Navy signout sheet for that Tuesday and Wednesday. The following month, Kerry was sick and did not engage in the November moratorium activities.

He supports a volunteer Army, "if and only if we can create the controls for it. You're going to have to prepare for the possibility of a national emergency, however." Kerry said that the United Nations should have control over most of our foreign military operations. "I'm an internationalist. I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations."

On other issues, Kerry wants "to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care." He also favors a negative income tax and keeping unemployment at a very low level, "even if it means selective economic controls."

Kerry's Background

"I have a somewhat Establishment background," Kerry admitted modestly. Kerry, whose family comes from Groton, attended Fessenden, a prestigious private school in West Newton, until he was old enough to go to St. Paul's. From there he went on to Yale where he majored in political science.

Kerry's interest in politics began in 1960, when John Kennedy was running for President. Kerry gave his first political speeches for JFK and at St. Paul's founded a political group, the John Winant Society. In the summer of 1962, Kerry worked for Ted Kennedy, who was then making his first Senate bid. "I wanted to see how the political machine works."

At Yale, Kerry was instrumental in organizing the demonstrations for giving tenure to philosophy professor Dick Bernstein, even though Bernstein had not done very much publishing. As President of the Political Union, Kerry met an impressive array of political figures and spent much of his time fighting for a new YPU building, which Yale eventually built.

Kerry's style can turn people off at first because he gives the initial impression of being too good to be true, of being just a little bit insincere. His preppiness might make you think he's a blueblood WASP, but Kerry is really a Roman Catholic. However, an afternoon on the campaign trail with Kerry leaves you with quite a different impression.

Out in Bolton, a town smaller than Waban, he went to a genuine Yankee house, built in 1740, I watched Kerry as he tried to convince four ladies to go to Saturday's caucus in Concord. While the ladies drank tea. Kerry stuck to his guns and told the women that most welfare recipients did deserve to be on the lists. He said Spiro Agnew was one of the poorer vice-presidents, not one of our great statesmen.

Because of Kerry's background, and his style which the ladies adored, he may have succeeded in charming them into driving out to Concord on Saturday. And four Kerry votes from Bolton would probably mean all of Bolton's electoral votes for Kerry.

What if Kerry loses at the caucus? "If it's a representative group," he said, "I'll support the candidate that comes out." He said he might campaign for Stevens, if Stevens wins the caucus's approval. Another idea of his is creating a national citizen's lobby which would be primarily educational and which "would be a new kind of interest group that will demand attention from the men who are legislating."

In the last month, Kerry has driven 4000 miles back and forth across the District. "I should be at law school," he said, "but the problems are too great to sit back and watch them go by."