A Different Perspective On Teresa Kerry
I venture that Ruth Miller misrepresented both Teresa Heinz Kerry and criticisms thereof in her column ["Heinz Not the Condiment Here," Sept. 28].
Although I was not much of a fan of the Clinton family, Bill and Hillary formed a fantastic partnership that furthered both of their political careers. I didn't have a problem with a politically ambitious woman in the White House per se; her left-of-liberal advocacy turned me away. But Teresa doesn't seem interested in political goals. Rather, she seems pointedly contemptuous of the niceties of politics. People joked about the Clintons' "we are the president," but the pickle heiress sounds like she wants to sublimate her husband's would-be office to her unelected will rather than selling a partnership presidency.
Teresa is not a partner in Kerry's quest; to quote Gore advisor Naomi Wolf, she is cuckolding him - by keeping the Heinz name of her late first husband, by publicly refusing to get on a helicopter with him, by spending a night on the campaign trail in a different bed, by going out of her way to express independence from John. The "idiots" remark about Kerry's health care plan was arrogant but benign; her "shove it" comment to a member of the press showed a contempt (there's that word again) for a key cog in our political system and opened the door to charges of elitism. Let's hope there's not more where that came from.
I also think Teresa having had two husbands is a fake criticism. I am steeped in editorial and op-ed reading, and I have never heard anyone hold that against the couple. They do, however, cite that Laura Bush is sleekly feminine and clearly the chief supporter of her husband's career, while Teresa appears unmade as a bed and talks like no one is listening. She is more than blunt - much like Howard Dean, she is flippant ("shove it") and conspiratorial ("I think we'll find Osama before the election"). I for one am quite concerned what her mouth could do at a state dignitary dinner if someone does not sit her down and explain that no policy unit can be run with a loose cannon. Even Bill Clinton has quietly assumed an independent yet secondary role to Hillary's Senate career.
Howie Carr has derisively described the Kerrys as "a gigolo marries a gold-digger," but in all honesty I don't think anyone cares about the mechanics of their marriage. What they do care about is the fact that Teresa seems unwilling to make the sacrifice of freedom and hold the composure necessary for a politician's spouse.
I also find no evidence in your column that the First Lady is "insincere." If a reader holds anyone to the right of Joseph Lieberman in great distrust, perhaps; but a citation or anecdote of some sort would be helpful.
Mrs. Bush supposedly told her husband two decades ago to quit drinking or she would leave him. He did. Who's malleable? Who's bendable? Who's indifferent?
(By the way, George was the cheerleader in the family.)
Christopher P. Anderson '04