Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person
I said a couple of weeks back that John Kerry was too strange to be President, and a week or two earlier that he was too stuck-up to be President. Since I'm on an alliterative roll, let me add that he's too stupid to be President. What sort of idiot would make the centrepiece of his presidential campaign four months of proud service in a war he's best known for opposing?Ralph Peters, meanwhile, brings up other reasons why veterans do not support Kerry, the main one being his lack of humility.
How cocooned from reality do you have to be to think you can transform one of the most divisive periods in American history - in which you were largely responsible for much of the divisiveness - into a sappy, happy-clappy, soft-focus patriotic blur without anybody objecting? Most Vietnam veterans of my acquaintance loathe John Kerry, and, if he wasn't aware of that, he's too out of it to be President.
And even if he'd never slimed his comrades, there's something ridiculous about a fellow with four months in Vietnam running as Ike, the Duke of Wellington and Alexander the Great rolled into one. On Sunday, after calling on the Senator to apologise to the 2.5 million veterans he slandered, Bob Dole couldn't resist chipping in his own view of Kerry's wounds.
"Here's, you know, a good guy, a good friend. I respect his record. But three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of," he said. "I mean, they're all superficial wounds." Dole's right arm is withered and useless from wounds received in World War Two, and he never made a big hoo-ha about it in the '96 campaign.
But, more significantly, Dole prizes bipartisan Senatorial chumminess over almost everything, and my guess is he wouldn't be slamming Kerry if he weren't so revolted by the unseemly showboating of this campaign. If Vietnam vets loathe him, World War Two vets seem to think he's a buffoon. Short of reversing over the last 128-year-old Spanish-American War veteran in the retirement home parking lot, it's hard to see how Kerry could more comprehensively diminish his military support.
Finally - and this is the one the pundits have trouble grasping, given the self-promoting nature of today's culture - real heroes don't call themselves heroes. Honorable soldiers or sailors don't brag. They let their deeds speak for themselves. Some of the most off-putting words any veteran can utter are "I'm a war hero."
Real heroes (and I've been honored to know some) never portray their service in grandiose terms, telling TV cameras that they're reporting for duty. Real heroes may be proud of the sacrifices they offered, but they don't shout for attention.
This is so profoundly a part of the military code of behavior that it cannot be over-emphasized. The rule is that those who brag about being heroes usually aren't heroes at all. Bragging is for drunks at the end of the bar, not for real vets. And certainly not for anyone who wishes to trade on his service to become our commander-in-chief.