The Note

And on to Part Five of the Boston Globe 's John Kerry series, with Brian C. Mooney placing Kerry on the verge of a political comeback, no longer as a "rock star" aura-d activist, but now as "Mr. Mainstream" in "the buttoned-down Reagan era." LINK Mooney describes Kerry's altered goals and concerns as he set his sights on the heavily contested yet low-key lieutenant governorship.

Still antiwar, with his "signature issue" of Vietnam replaced by a focus on the Cold War and a nuclear weapons freeze, Mooney suggests the platform exceeded the needs of the position: "For a candidate seeking a job with little influence over state policy, never mind global disarmament, the Post uring was quite a stretch."

Indeed, Kerry's core promise of "'competency, experience, and vision'" (with a little help from $100,000 of his own money) may have had more bearing on his victorious "nail biter" primary (He was well-known to the public for his antiwar activism, television career, and his firm's high profile legal work, but not popular with the Democratic party.) and his easy general win on the Dukakis ticket.

His personal life, however, was not so easy; he and Julia split up during the campaign; she had been depressed for several years and, according to Mooney, "felt abandoned and had tired of being, in her words, 'a political wife.'"

Mooney quotes from her 1996 book about divorce ("'Politics became my husband's life … I tried to be happy for him, but after 14 years as a political wife I associated politics with anger, fear, and loneliness.'"), and offers her current comment:

"'The dissolution of the marriage was my doing, not John's. I wanted something else.'"

Mooney mentions Kerry's apparently subsequent romantic relationship with then law partner Roanne Sragow (who, Kerry avows, "'had nothing to do with our marriage or breakup or anything.'") Mooney also describes Kerry's "'juggling act'" efforts of balancing work and fatherhood, with a daily schedule entry as an example.

A year into Kerry's term (during which he became nationally known for his fight against acid rain), Paul Tsongas announced he was giving up his Senate seat due to illness; and, as Kerry puts it "'I was woken up at 3 in the morning and told Paul Tsongas was not running.'"

Despite the brief stint as lieutenant governor and the campaign promise not to use the job as a stepping stone { "'I was concerned that it would be viewed as not having learned the lessons [of 1972] and that it was premature.'") the opportunity was "'tricky'" but irresistible:

"'One year into the lieutenant governor's office, to stand up and say 'Hey, I think I should be senator,' Kerry said.'You know, it was ballsy … But it was the right place for me in terms of the things that were my passions … The issue of war and peace was on the table again.'"

In the primary race against "liberal twin" Representative James M. Shannon, the nuclear freeze issue was legitimate (Mooney offers a long segment about Kerry's complicated efforts to secure the Freeze Voter '84 endorsement.), although he now considers his stance on some military weaponry: "'ill-advised, and I think some of them are stupid in the context of the world we find ourselves in right now and the things that I've learned since then,'" adding "'I mean, you learn as you go in life'" and standing by his Senate voting record on defense as "'pretty responsible.'"

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