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ikojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 09:33 AM
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Interesing John Kerry article on keep media
Edited on Sat Apr-24-04 09:39 AM by ikojo
The following article relates Kerry's experiences while attending boarding school at St Paul's in New Hampshire. The beginning discusses how many of his classmates have worked for those running against him in various races.
I found it enlightening and interesting. Even among the well to do there is classism of sorts.


http://www.keepmedia.com/pubs/NewRepublic/2004/04/12/41...

"Kerry certainly dressed the preppy part. But there were obvious ways in which he could not keep up. While his classmates summered in Europe (or even took private jets to the Continent for long weekends), Kerry spent his breaks working as a Teamster in Somerville, Massachusetts, for the First National Stores, loading food onto trucks. He frequently borrowed money from friends. And, if his relative poverty weren't apparent enough, Kerry always had richer classmates issuing reminders of their bigger bank accounts.
snip....One of Kerry's poorer classmates had carefully compiled a record collection that was his proudest possession--and everyone in the school knew it. But a rich classmate couldn't stomach the satisfaction felt by Kerry's friend, so he ventured into Concord and bought out the record store. According to Barbiero, Kerry empathized with the collector. "John was upset about this and thought it was a nasty thing to do."

snip

How then to explain the preppy hatred for Kerry? In part, the answer has to do with the changing times. During the late '50s and early '60s, the blue bloods' grip on power was coming to an end. For a long time, St. Paul's and the other New England boarding schools were the Ivy League's main pipeline. Every year, St. Paul's sent about half its class to Harvard and Yale. By the end of the '60s, with the introduction of the SAT and a new democratic spirit in the admissions offices, that era of dominance had ended. As William F. Buckley lamented in a 1968 Atlantic piece, "You will laugh, but it is true that a Mexican-American from El Paso High with identical scores on the achievement tests, and identically ardent recommendations from the headmaster, has a better chance of being admitted to Yale than Jonathan Edwards the Sixteenth from Saint Paul's School." With his hardworking style, Kerry represented the new meritocratic ethic, where success wouldn't depend on blood and charm but the earnest accumulation of achievements. Of course, Kerry may simply not have been very likeable. But, at least in part, Kerry was hated because he embodied the emerging reality that the old insular world could no longer afford to be so insular.


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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 09:44 AM
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1. while removed by several degrees of magnitude
it may explain why Kerry relates to the underdog and the poor and fights for them.
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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 10:26 AM
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2. Fascinating article...describes the lock on power the elites have
and makes me like and understand Kerry better.

These three paragraphs help explain the elites appeal and why folks like Clinton, Gore, and Kerry are frowned upon by the elites.

Strangely, the decline of the New England boarding schools' prestige has hardly diminished their capacity for producing politicians, from Middlesex's William Weld to St. George's Howard Dean to Andover's George W. Bush. In fact, the political strength of this group has a lot to do with their adherence to boarding-school mores. Instead of acting like "Horatio Alger on the make," they have embodied the old aristocratic spirit of "effortless achievement." They've successfully convinced the public that they are not conventional Washington politicians guided by personal ambition. During his campaign for Kerry's Senate seat, Weld famously jumped into the Charles River, highlighting his devil-may-care attitude toward politics. For his part, Bush has made an art form of his ability to efface his ambition, even saying during the 2000 campaign that he'd be fine if he lost the race. Inevitably, this effortless style elicits praise from the press: These boarding-school pols are "comfortable in their own skin."

While the boarding-school style may lend itself to campaigning, the striver's style has a decidedly mixed record. A whole other genre of politicians has been penalized for trying too hard, as Al Gore will testify. And now the classic gripes about the striver are being lobbed at Kerry yet again. According to the reporters on the trail, not to mention the Bush campaign, Kerry's great character flaw is his ambitiousness, manifesting itself in a willingness to say whatever it takes to please crowds. The New York Times ' David Halbfinger wrote last month, " may tailor his stands to an audience or even run away from past positions." By trying too hard to win audiences, he is said to project a phony persona. As the political consultant Donna Brazile told The Washington Post last year, "It's like someone put him in clothes that don't fit."

There's an irony in this criticism of Kerry. In their profiles, journalists attribute his "aloofness" to his Brahman heritage and chalk up his "stiffness" to his patrician style. But this diagnosis misunderstands the true nature of the elite nurtured by places like St. Paul's. The media actually wants Kerry to become more patrician, not less; to discover his inner wasp ; and to adopt a carefree attitude. In a way, it's profoundly unfair. He has spent a lifetime overcoming the St. Paul's ethos. But, now, that's exactly what's demanded of him.


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ikojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 04:03 PM
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3. I, too, came out of the article liking and understanding
Mr Kerry more than before. He had his own struggles. It's too bad he doesn't seem able to bring those understandings to the campaign trail.


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