It’s not quite as bad as if he’d won the Presidential election and discovered that his Vice President had been a bald-faced liar in repeatedly denying that he was a baby daddy, but longtime Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has foolishly sailed into some very hot water with his constituents.
As is being reported all over, Kerry recently took delivery of the 76-ft Isabel, a $7 million sailboat designed by Ted Fontaine. While Kerry came by his money the honest way — he married a widowed heiress who had married the heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune — a public servant with a multimillion sailing yacht with a sumptuous Edwardian interior is asking for trouble with his peeps.
But as if that wasn’t enough foolishness, Kerry had the boat built halfway around the world in New Zealand at Friendship Yachts. The folks in New England — who, by the way, have been alotted about 10 too many senators ever since about 1800 — are wondering if Kerry wasn’t aware that the New England boatbuilding industry, like the rest of the country, is suffering from terribly high unemployment. And if their craftsmanship wasn’t good enough for the Senator.
The apparently tone deaf Kerry didn’t stop there. Seemingly unaware that the voters in Massachusetts had replaced legendary Senator Ted Kennedy with a Republican, in part because the deceased Senator had his estate go through probate in Florida thereby stiffing the Bay State of taxes, and in part because the supposed supporter of the environment had thwarted a wind farm because it would have been remotely visible from the family’s Hyannis Port compound, Kerry didn’t think there would be anything wrong with berthing his new yacht in neighboring Rhode Island.
The problem is that the ‘average man’ didn’t think it was a mere coincidence that by so doing, the multi-gazillionaire senator would save having to pay $450,000 in sales tax — to the treasury of the very state he represents! A state, by the way, that is facing a ‘$1,000 million’ deficit this year. By keeping the boat in Rhode Island — instead of near his estate at Nantucket or his townhouse in Boston, both of which are in Massachusetts — Kerry will also save paying another $70,000 a year to his state in excise tax.
While this all may be legal, the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ behavior has been the moral equivalent of the senator spilling a case of bright red ketchup all over himself. Lest anybody think this is an anti-Democratic Party screed, it’s not. We’re fully aware that Republicans have done as bad, if not worse. That doesn’t excuse any of them.