Kerry and the Washington Establishment-From Someone Who Has Actually Lived “Inside the Beltway”

Metropolitian Washington DC is the LAST place to go to find enthusiasm for Kerry (OK maybe we’ll probably find less enthusiasm for Kerry at a country club in Mississippi, but you get my drift). I’ve lived in the Baltimore and/or DC region my whole life and when it comes to DC Metro area and politics there are 4 things to keep in mind:

1. This town is socially liberal and likes to talk a LOT about social/cultural issues. Kerry is pretty liberal on social issues yes, but issues like abortion, gay rights, affirmative action, and blue lattes vs. red state NASCAR’s just aren’t issues that close to Kerry’s heart.

2. When it comes to foreign policy- a lot of folks around here can be safely put in one of two categories:
a.) chickenhawk
b.) Deaniac anti-war table pounder who want to relive the anti-war movement of the 1960s in all it’s anger, cyncism, and it’s hard hat vs. college educated snobs battles-regardless of whether or not that person was even alive in the 1960s! It’s amazing how many previously down-to earth conservatives around here believed the Swfities hook, line, and sinker. And if that ain’t strange enough I’ve heard liberals voice skepticism of Kerry-because he served in Vietnam! Some of these folks constantly calling for “radical change” and “destruction” of “old politics” sound eerilly like Newt Gingrich in the 1980s, with a 1960s “New Left” tilt. Needless to say, Kerry (thankfully) falls into none of these categories.

3. Many people here will love those who talk the economic progressive talk, but HATE those who walk the economic progressive walk.

For many of the upscale social liberals around here-who are erroneously considered by many to “run” the Democratic Party- 1996 was the ultimate case of your unltimate fantasy becoming reality. A debate between balancing the budget and cutting taxes for the rich suits DC pundits’ just fine thank you very much. Endless harping about “family values”-but never mentioning how this country could better value families-is to upscale Northern Virginians and Bethesda-Chevy Chase folks what a room full of Eva Longoria’s is to a sex addict.

Needless to say Al Gore’s “people vs. the powerful” message didn’t go over well in this hyper-educated, wealthy, over-technologied, “new economy” place. Neither did Gore’s distancing of himself from Clinton go over well in a place where few people seemed willing to acknowledge Clinton did anything wrong (they were to caught up in what a “political genius” Clinton was-especially the Dick Morris/Hillary inspired “triangulation”). Knowing that Gore’s economic views didn’t go over well here, you can imagine what response Kerry’s economic views got. Of course, there were also the economic liberals who were angry that Kerry dared to talk about foreign policy-“he should’ve hammered on the economy and never touched terrorism” they cry.

Mostly though this town is happy to talk about racial divisions, but not class divisions. I could go into detail about what some folks around here say about teachers unions but I would have to quote Dick Cheney (i.e. as in what he told Pat Leahy on the Senate floor). How’s that for inside the Beltway baseball?

4. This town actually takes the likes of Joe Klein, Chris Matthews, and Charles Krauthammer seriously. Nuf said.

Furthermore, the degree to which people making in excess of $150,000 consider themselves “average middle class” is just astounding. Sure the cost of living is really high here , but if 200 grand dropped in my lap tomorrow, I’d be a happy guy (financially speaking anyway).

One other thing: Los Angeles and San Francisco might technically have more traffic congestion, but if you want to go to a place to find people who have a master’s degree but absolutely no conception at all of how to drive a stinkin’ car without endangering the lives of those around them you’ve come to the right place. No not all of the people in the DC metro area are like those described above. But there are enough people like this that could drive a down to earth person nuts.

So why don’t these people like John Kerry? Given Kerry’s history, personality, economic and political views, all I can say is to ask that question is to answer it.

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About Nick

Teacher of Social Studies. Born in the 1970s. History major, music minor. Big Baseball fan. Economic progressive.
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12 Responses to Kerry and the Washington Establishment-From Someone Who Has Actually Lived “Inside the Beltway”

  1. showman says:


    I would like to congratulate you on writing a brilliant piece. This composition is definately on point as far as the local divide between chickenhawk and Deaniac. I expect to see your name at the reopened JK blog.

    Dante from Temple Hills, Maryland

  2. mbk says:

    Thanks for the trenchant anthropological analysis. I’ve always wondered whether there was something in the water there . . ..And you’re right: point #4 describes the pathology to a T!

  3. Ginny Cotts says:


    If these are the parents of your students, I really cannot tell you how much I admire you for staying with the job;)

    For years – probably ’88- I have been hoping for an election that would break all the glass in their houses… Poppy’s ‘first encounter’ with the grocery store scanner was sort of an epitiome of the charicature.

    Here’s hoping – even harder- for a rout!

  4. Nick

    Great post. You certainly do have a knack at this stuff! Traffic problems in LA? LOL! People don’t know how to drive here either!

  5. AllenS says:

    “2. When it comes to foreign policy- a lot of folks around here can be safely put in one of two categories:
    a.) chickenhawk
    b.) Deaniac anti-war table pounder…”

    Don’t you know any Viet Nam era veterans? I’m one, and I know close to 20 VN vets from that area, and I live in WI. To a man, we all think that Kerry inflated his service record. We all believe that the Swifties were correct. I can understand your disdain for conservatives and Republicans, but don’t fall for any of Kerry’s stories. He can’t, and won’t be able to back them up.

  6. AllenS

    I know a lot of Vietnam Veterans.

    I know Vietnam Veterans that volunteered for Kerry.

    I know the Vietnam Veterans that SERVED with Kerry.

    Every Vietnam Veteran I know, knows the Swifties were FLAT OUT LIARS.

    Thanks for sharing – the lies don’t work here.

  7. AllenS Says:
    October 10th, 2006 at 6:43 am edit

    “and I live in WI”

    ROFLMAO!!! That is classic! I had a good buddy while I was in the Marines, and he was the strangest person. I brought him home to Louisiana one time, and my mom nicknamed him “Weird” and that was the only name she called him by. He would vanish in the middle of a conversation and go climb a tree.

    He was my friend, and we kept in contact long after we both got out. But he was still weird! He used to wear knee high moccasins and go sit out in the middle of the parking lot and meditate!! My then fiance was scared of him till she got to know him a lil bit better. But she still said that “if the rest of those northern folks are like that, she would worry about me till no end having to be around such unstable people” and would ask me everytime we talked on the phone if I was ok and if I talked to that tree person lately!!

    WI? LMAO! Would you happen to be from Hayward? Sure sounds like it!! Get on out that tree, and come into the light. The water is just fine here.

  8. Ginny Cotts says:

    AllenS Says:
    October 10th, 2006 at 6:43 am edit

    “don’t fall for any of Kerry’s stories. He can’t, and won’t be able to back them up.”

    They have been backed up repeatedly – by many other people than Kerry, including the US Navy.

    If you want to read them, here are the links to many posts here on the Dem Daily;

    Posts with articles that supported Kerry’s service during the ‘04 campaign
    Brinkley Biography:

    News sources: snopes on eyewitness accounts Fact check AP AP


    Eyewitness articles: Elliott’s retraction of SBVT affidavit

    Posts that support Kerry’s efforts to fight the SmearVets during the campaign: JK speech np np

  9. BlueWashington says:

    Now folks, I wouldn’t too upset with AllenS. I have an uncle in the same boat. He came home and did not want want to see vets protesting the war. Looks like AllenS falls into this group.

    So AllenS, still hold a grudge? Fine. But making accusations against someones combat record – common, enough is enough. We’ve been down that trail. Take your ball and go home.

  10. Blue W

    LOL! That’s right, we’ve been down that trail. It’s time for the bullies laying bash ball to take their ball and go home!

  11. Nick says:


    My parents in PG county are pretty down to earth. Go next door to Montgomery County and you will easily, though not always, find parents that are like those you mention.

    I’m hoping for a route of the GOP too.

  12. Nick says:

    Showman and Pamela

    thanks for the feedback.

    So folks in LA can’t drive either, huh? My sympathies (from someone who underastands).
    Well, here’s hopin’ that they can all drive to the polls come November (except for the folks in Orange County, they can stay home).