Useful Notes: John Kerry

He's back, America!

"If Bush is shot, the Secret Service has orders to shoot Dan Quayle."
Senator John Kerry, 1988

The 68th and current United States Secretary of State to President Barack Obama. He was a United States senator (D-MA) from 1985 to 2013, and was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which position he was preceded by Joe Biden. Kerry was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to President George W. Bush. In 2013, he was appointed Secretary of State to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Tropes on John Kerry:

  • Badass: Won the Silver Star and Three Purple Hearts. There is some controversy regarding the legitimacy of his medals and claims he made about how he got them. And that's all we'll say about it.
  • Blatant Lies: According to many, including other Vietnam veterans of various nationalities. Hard evidence supporting his claims is very slim, suffice it to say. The fact that he frequently claims to have thrown his medals away in disgust in 1969, yet proudly displays those same medals in his office (clearly visible in many official photos) doesn't exactly bolster his credibility.
  • Brutal Honesty: His testimony to the Senate on behalf of Vietnam Veterans For Peace is full of this, at least according to his supporters. Suffice it to say, this is extremely controversial.
    • On the other hand, he was one of the organization's only "witnesses" who had actually been to Vietnam (if only for a few weeks). Many other outspoken members of VFP turned out to have lied about their jobs in the service, whether they ever went overseas, or if they'd even been in the military at all.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: According to his detractors. The fact that he's kept his military records sealed despite repeated promises to release them to the public hasn't exactly helped his cause.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Took a lot of flack over the Dan Quayle joke, and wound up apologizing to the then-Senator. Then there was his not-very-well-received "Go to school or go to Iraq" gaffe. It should be noted that as of 2004, US military personnel, including junior enlisted, were statistically far more likely to have some college education and/or a degree than the country's general population, and were markedly less likely to drop out before completing a degree. American troops in Iraq were not shy about expressing exactly what they thought of Kerry after that one. Suffice it to say, Kerry is extremely unpopular with American veterans.
  • History Repeats: He was lieutenant governor to Michael Dukakis, who lost to George H.W. Bush in 1988, 16 years before Kerry would lose to the younger Bush.
  • Sarcasm Failure: The way the Syria chemical weapons issue was resolved. Paraphrased: "Sure, there are other solutions to the Syria chemical weapons issue. Like if Russia stepped up to the plate and took care of it." Sure enough, the next day, what does the Russian Foreign Ministry announce... (and it worked!)
    • Batman Gambit: Some suspect that the "sarcastic joke" was engineered to see if the Russians would take the bait. Either way, it's both good for the world and Actually Pretty Funny.
      • It seems to have backfired as of 2015, though, with the Russians sending a large force including tanks and heavy artillery to Syria to prop up the Assad regime, while the US insists on a handful of air strikes and a token ground force maintaining a "noncombat" role in Iraq. Both the strong Russian presence in the region and the fact that Russia is being seen as more willing than America to do something meaningful against ISIS have seriously hurt US foreign policy and national prestige, with Obama and Kerry saying they are "worried" and "closely monitoring" the situation.
  • Theme Initials: John Forbes Kerry: He even made a few John F. Kennedy jokes in 2004.
  • The Vietnam War: A participant in it, Kerry spent years afterward denouncing it. The latter part may have lost him the 2004 election with the Swift Boat Veterans attacking him over it. Opinions vary regarding how truthful his claims about the war and his service in it actually were. And he offered very little hard evidence to back up his claims, apart from testimony from people who may have been ideologically- or financially-motivated.
    • In fact, Kerry was the first Vietnam veteran to appear before Congress and speak out against the war.
    • Depending on who you ask, Kerry was either the Only Sane Man or a traitor. Other Vietnam veterans tend to put him in the latter category (there are exceptions).