The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.
Le Secrétaire en Vogue
Vogue has a new profile out on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and readers learn quite a bit about him. For one thing, he’s haughty:
It’s obvious that Kerry is more suited to the diplomatic life than he ever would have been to the modern presidency. He is far less extroverted and eager to please than most politicians–and he can’t fake a folksy, telegenic style. He has a solemn air of politeness, which seems to come from a sense of duty. At a press conference in Beirut, for example, I watch a Lebanese journalist yell angrily at him because she believes Kerry’s staff has cut the time short. Kerry, halfway off the dais, stops mid-stride, eyebrows raised, and returns to the microphone. “I’m very happy to take your question,” he says with gentle amusement.
For another, he looks French (this is the article’s lead):
Back in June, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the tiny French village of Saint-Briac-sur-Mer to do something he never could have done while running for president–celebrate his European roots. Kerry’s mother, a descendant of the Forbes shipping family, grew up here on an estate called Les Essarts, which was destroyed by the Nazis and then rebuilt as an enormous blue-shuttered château the family still owns today. “Johnnie,” as one of his cousins, the town’s former mayor, calls him, spent his boyhood summers in this idyllic, immaculate place: all stone buildings, cobbled streets, épiceries with bright awnings, and women in Jean Seberg striped jerseys outside the Bar Tabac de la Poste.
Also, he served in Vietnam:
Kerry had the perfect presidential résumé: a Kennedy-like background, a record of courage in Vietnam. . . . “I really do think some of it comes out of Vietnam,” says [chief of staff David] Wade about Kerry’s drive. “He came out of Vietnam with a pretty fundamental conviction that for whatever reasons a lot of his closest friends never came home, and he did. He has this conviction of not wasting time.” . . . “Most of the rest of the world doesn’t lie awake at night worrying about America’s presence; they worry about what would happen in our absence,” Kerry told the graduating class at Yale this May, sounding like the idealistic young man who signed up to serve in Vietnam.
Of course, all that you heard here first. This bit you might not have:
“I feel comfortable, and I feel free,” he says of the work he’s doing now. “I feel completely liberated. But, you know . . .. I was a lot better senator after I ran for president because I had done it. I had run. I came within 59,000 votes in one state”–Ohio–“so for three hours I was president.” He smiles to make sure I get what I am not completely sure is a joke.
That reminds us of a joke: “You know, education–if you make the most of it–you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
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