Some Democrats in Illinois may have been tickled pink at the prospect of throwing the U.S. Senate race into utter confusion two weeks ago, but those same Democrats have now likely opened up vulnerability at the top of the ticket. And with what is already publicly known about the tortured marriage between Sen. John Kerry and his first wife Julia Stimson Thorne, there is reason to believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
When the Chicago Tribune and ABC News decided to sue for information that had been sealed in custody agreements in the Jack and Jeri Ryan divorce, the judge stunningly ruled against the wishes of both parents to open up sensitive information that even the judge said would bring embarrassment and damage to their son. If the judge was willing to go to such extraordinary measures for the sake of the “public’s right to know,” it seems to me it will be a difficult task for John Kerry to be able to keep his divorce records sealed.
For one, John Kerry is running for the highest office in the land, and it is self-evident that voters want to know as much as possible about the public life of someone running for that position. The argument that the press made in the Jack Ryan case was that all divorce proceedings are public. A public act, paid for by public fees and taxes, and the proceedings take place in the public’s courthouse. The “public’s right to know” became the all-encompassing battle cry for the Chicago Tribune. Now the tables are being turned against John Kerry, and he has given his opponents even more reason to pursue the records after, according to the Boston Globe, he flatly rejected making the documents public this week.
What are we likely to find in the John Kerry records? There are only a handful of people who know for sure. But adding up what we know about the circumstances surrounding the John Kerry/Julia Thorne divorce, it is obvious to many that it impacted her a great deal more than it did him. This becomes a matter for the voters when you realize that on his website John Kerry claims “a very active Catholic faith.”
Joseph Curl wrote for the Washington Times back in April of this year:
“The couple had two daughters, Alexandra in 1973 and Vanessa in 1976, but all was not bliss in the Kerry mansions. They separated in 1982, with Thorne in the depths of a severe depression and on the brink of suicide, which she blamed on her husband’s cold and distant nature, his long absences and his fierce ambition (which she was bankrolling). The separation came as Kerry was mulling a bid to run for the Senate seat vacated by Paul Tsongas in 1984; Thorne said she still associates politics ‘only with anger, fear and loneliness.’ In 1988, the final divorce went through. … She later called her relationship with Kerry a ‘suffocating marriage.'”
What kind of man leaves his wife, but especially when she is in the midst of suicidal depression? In addition, there seemed to be a hotly contested issue when Kerry later wished to marry Teresa Heinz over whether or not he should be granted an annulment.
He pushed ahead for the annulment even though it technically threw his daughters into the bizarre state of illegitimacy. Having recovered from her depression by that point, some 18 years later Thorne fired back with hotly worded letters that she also copied to the Boston Globe. In 1997, Kerry even publicly joked about the issue of annulment on a radio talk show saying that 75 percent of all annulments in the world take place in the U.S., but he guessed, “That number would drop to 50 percent if you take out all of the Massachusetts politicians.”
Hmm, seems like a really caring guy with just loads of respect for his daughters, the institution of marriage and his formerly depressed ex-wife.
Voter’s have the right to know what kind of decision process Kerry goes through before making such important moves. And the media organizations that are now planning on suing for access to the sealed documents will make “the public’s right to know” the foremost argument in the strategy to get the records open.
Kerry will try to fight it, but the decision to open them is pretty much a foregone conclusion – I mean, after all, “The public has the right to know …”