It was only a matter of time: No sooner did Teresa Heinz Kerry tell a reporter to “shove it” just as hubster John F. was preparing for his anointing at the Dem convention than all sorts of other rich verbal outbursts from the billionairess and would-be first lady began to surface in the media. (See Take This Nomination and Shove It!, July 26.) The quotes all date from the 1970s, when she was Teresa Heinz, Republican (and wife of a Republican senator) instead of the proud Democrat (and wife of a Democratic senator) that she is today. (Thanks, Drudge, for the links.)
Back then, Teresa called Democratic Party politics “putrid” and party standard-bearer Sen. Ted Kennedy a “perfect bastard” if the rumors were true that he was staying married to his first wife, Joan Kennedy just to keep the Catholic vote in his home state of Massachusetts. Teresa also said, “Ted Kennedy I don’t trust.” The quotes all ran in a January 1976 article in the Boston Herald-American (now the Boston Herald), and the Herald this week is having a field day with them.
Back then, too, Heinz Kerry was not exactly a radical feminist, either. Here’s what she told the Herald in 1976 about the “women’s movement,” as it used to be called (thanks to ABCNews.com’s Jake Tapper and Chris Vlasto for the quote):
“I really have some anger in me right now,” she said. “I think the women’s movement has got to reverse itself on the motherhood thing ‘ it’s important and necessary that a mother stay home and be a mother for the first few years of a baby’s life.”
No day-care centers for our Teresa!
Now–oh richest of ironies!–Teresa and Ted are scheduled to share a podium this very evening at the Dem convention in Boston. The clearly red-faced Kerry campaign has issued a statement assuring us that Teresa is now dear, dear friends with Ted, who was divorced from Joan in 1981, and with Ted’s second wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy. The statement blamed–whom else?–Republicans for dredging out Teresa’s remarks from 30 years ago.
“Teresa Heinz Kerry is a mother, wife and philanthropist who has given back in so many ways,” huffed and puffed the Kerry folks. “It’s unfortunate that the Republicans are attacking John Kerry’s wife about a quote from the early 1970s. You’d think that with the challenges our nation’s facing they could find something better to talk about.”
Actually I can’t think of anything better–or at least more delicious–to talk about.
What’s also delicious is the way the mainstream–that is, liberal–media have downplayed Teresa’s “shove it” quote, which is not 30 years old but scarcely more than 30 hours old. The complete episode, in which Teresa labeled as “un-American” the Republicans’ approach to politics, was fully videotaped. When Colin McNickle, editorial-page editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, asked Teresa what she meant by “un-American,” she responded: “You said something I didn’t say, now shove it!”
As the CyberAlerts blog reports (thanks, National Review Online, for the link), few of the televised news accounts of the incidents made it clear that it was Teresa, not McNickle, who fibbed about whether she had actually used the phrase “un-American” (she did). As CyberAlerts points out, all the major networks except ABC showed only snippets of the videotape that made it look as though McNickle had indeed put words into Teresa’s mouth–so her outburst might have been intemperate but seemed perhaps understandable to those who didn’t see the whole tape. Writes CyberAlert:
“After months of the media indulging Democratic whining about how any GOP criticism of liberal positions amount to questioning their patriotism, it’s astonishing that reporters showed no interest in a Democrat’s blatant labeling of Republicans as ‘un-American.’ Or maybe it’s not so astonishing, just a sign of how the networks don’t want to let a liberal’s controversial statements ruin Democrats’ chances for a big convention bounce.”
And today my own hometown liberal newspaper, the Washington Post, ran a gushing follow-up story on the incident titled “Women Voice Support for Heinz Kerry.” (The “women” in question are actually career Democratic politicians, delegates to the Boston convention.) Post reporter Evelyn Nieves enthuses:
“The women, attending a convention caucus luncheon Monday at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, were all impressed that Heinz Kerry had told a Pittsburgh newspaper reporter Sunday to ‘shove it’ when he kept asking her to explain remarks she made during a speech. For many, it was just the sort of thing most politicians wish they could say to pesky reporters, and just the reason that Heinz Kerry is such a fresh breath of air amid the stale on-message speechifying by most politicians.
“They were also annoyed at the media for harping on the exchange. ‘Even though she gets attacked by some of the media,’ said Eva Royale, a delegate from California, ‘it’s important that she continue to voice her opinions.'”
Oh, sure, Teresa’s now a victim of the media. To me (to borrow the adjective that Teresa Heinz used to describe Democratic politics some 30 years ago), it all sounds, well, putrid.