Saturday, December 17, 2005

John Kerry Tells Esquire What He's Learned

John Kerry was interviewed for the What I’ve Learned feature in the January Esquire (contents not currently on line). Here’s some of what Kerry had to say:

Unfit for Command was a pack of lies. I said so at the time.
My crew said so. The Navy said so. But a lot of money was put behind the lies. If a lot of money is put behind a lie, it will become the truth for some people–particularly if they don’t get enough of the real truth. I take the blame for not making certain there was moeny behind the real truth. That’s what I meant when I said I should have come back and coldcocked him.

Katrina stripped away the curtain, and we found there wasn’t even a wizard behind it.

They should have gotten him at Tora Bora. They should have gotten him before Tora Bora. They blew several opportunities, and now it’s much harder because oall the bad habits he had–how he talked on his cell phone and the inattentiveness in the way he moved–have all been corrected. So now it’s much more difficult because of what Osama has learned.

A tranformation is taking place, so I’m very encouraged. But we have to translate it into people winning in the House and Senate and governors around the country. That’s one step in anybody changing anything or doing anything. You’ve just got to plow ahead and see where things fall.

One word I’d like on my tombstone to describe myself for generations to come? President would be a good one.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Kerry Really Pissed Me Off Today

I know that sounds a bit extreme, but when I tell you the circumstances, I'm guessing you'll be pissed-off as well.

Back last September I showed a rough cut of my film “Inside The Bubble” in New York. A clip from the film made it on the internet and Washington went a bit nuts about the film and the impact I would have on Kerry's presumed 2008 presidential run.

All the griping and hand-wringing missed the point that no one had seen the film. I was pretty sure at the time that Kerry would actually like the film, and the basic 'real guy' sense in which Americans get to see him hanging out with his staff, playing ball, and actually being a human - as opposed to a candidate.

So in October, Kerry holds a press conference in Boston about something. And an intrepid TV Reporter blurts out "Senator- have you seen the documentary - Inside The Bubble." Kerry laughs, shakes his head and says - "I don't need to see it... I lived it." There's an AP reporter in room and it makes the wires. It was a good answer, and it allowed everyone to move on -but I was pretty sure he'd seen it. Why wouldn't he? It was the only documentary that showed him what was going on backstage while he was on stage. It showed him how his campaign behaved, what life was like in the press bus, and more importantly - it was DATA. I told friends who'd seen the quote, "I'm sure he watched it. He's going to run again - and he's a bright guy - and any coach whose team gets beat studies the game films. He watched it."

I wasn't bothered then. Today I am. Why? Because in the January edition of Esquire with a full page photo. And there's the pull quote - "I never did see Fahrenheit 9/11. I didn't see it on purpose - no disrespect to Michael Moore, I didn't want it to affect the view I had in the campaign. So no, I didn't see it. I lived it." LINK

I lived it. He must be kidding.

Does John Kerry have some sense that documentaries can't be watched because - to use his words - it would "affect the view" he has of the world. Really? Yes John, that's exactly why we make films. To show you things you haven't seen. To expose you to ideas, feelings, perceptions, facts, that will affect you. We're filmmakers. And we're hardly alone in wanting to affect you. I'm pretty sure James Carville wrote "Take it Back" with some expectation that you might thumb through it. And did Eugene Jarecki make "Why We Fight" thinking you might swing by the multi-plex or pop the DVD player in. Then there's George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana. He's got a few ideas he'd like you to engage.

You see - the thing is - in this complicated world, filmmakers and writers and poets and songwriters, and op-ed writers and dissidents and protesters and sorts of people are trying to get you SENATOR to help us see the forest for the trees. It's a dense forest.

I made "Inside The Bubble" for you. It's not a whitewashed public relations approved view of the 2004 Election. But it's honest. And it is truthful. And while it's not the last word on why the Democrats lost - I'd suggest that for people trying to figure that out, it's required viewing.

John, I hope you'll reconsider your answer to both Esquire and the AP. Because if what you said is true, it reflects a world view that suggests that you’re not open to engage challenging ideas- both as a Senator and a candidate for President in 2008. That can’t be true. You should be hungry for perspectives, points of view, in particular disagreeable ones. Distasteful voices, unpopular points of view, and passionate editorials that force us to compare the reality that each of us "lived" to the filmmakers discordant perspective should be the lifeblood of a leader. Your ability to see Fahrenheit 9/11 and read The 9/11 Commission Report, and meet with families of victims, use all of that powerful, painful, often conflicting data to inform your understanding of the events of 9/11 is exactly the kind of intellect we hunger for.

Don't put your head in the sand.

Michael Moore's next film is about Health Care. It's a topic you spoke passionately about on the campaign trail. Does your experience in the Senate living the Health Care debate suggest that you won't see that film either?

What about my film "7 Days in September" - about the week after 9/11. We ALL lived that -so does that make all of the films about 9/11 unnecessary?

"I Lived it" is at best a cop out, and at worst a symptom of a closed-minded, isolated, calcified intellect. In either case it's cowardly - and America has more than enough politicians who've replaced passionate and deliberative debate with ideological and dogmatic sermons.

Let me know when you've decided to watch Documentaries again. There's a crop of them this year that deserve your attention.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

It doesn't matter to me whether Kerry watched either documentary.

Inside the Bubble was virtually worthless information wise. The movie had no access to anything of significance and had nothing meaningful to say about the campaign.

Michael Moore is far more into entertainment than real transmission of information. 9/11 was definately entertaining, and even had some information, but all the information in it was also obtainable elsewhere.

My bet is that Moore's movie on health care will be entertaining, but I also doubt that it will be a meaningful source of information for either myself or John Kerry beyond other sources of information on health care.

Kerry is not putting his head in the sand. There are many sources of information available and it is impossible for anyone to read and watch them all--especially a US Senator running for President. Kerry's time would be far better spent watching a typical episode of Frontline, which has far more informative documentaries than either Inside the Bubble or any Michael Moore movie.

6:12 PM  

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