After slyly billing herself as “opinionated,’ Teresa Heinz Kerry spent the next 23 minutes revealing that, yes, she’s got opinions — and they’re the very same ones of any other rich Georgetown lady who’s used to being taken seriously for no other reason than that she is who she is. I think it’s fair to say that America didn’t fall in love with Teresa last night.
Deborah Orin of the New York Post seemed to find the speech just plain weird: “Teresa Heinz Kerry last night delivered a somber speech like no other would-be first lady — lecturing Americans on morality, her right to be ‘opinionated’ and the need to listen to the ‘wise voices’ of women.
“‘By now, I hope it will come as no surprise to anyone that I have something to say,’ said Heinz Kerry, speaking with deep intensity in a 23-minute speech in which she barely mentioned her husband for the first 13 minutes.
“She spoke a few words in five languages — English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese — and then moved on to ‘my mother’s warmth,’ the Galileo Jupiter space probe and ‘the mystic chords of our national memory.'”
“There’s nothing Teresa said tonight that couldn’t be lifted from a lefty pamphlet at an Earth Summit or Save the Rain Forest rally,” wrote Barbara Comstock in National Review. “The truth is Teresa Heinz Kerry has been getting a free ride because there’s no reason to take on a prima donna, control freak, flaky spouse. (Remember the scene where she was pulling the thumb out of the mouth of cute little Jack Edwards?) But it was certainly fascinating tonight that Teresa Heinz Kerry had more positive words to say about alternative fuels than she did her husband. Really gave us a ‘window’ into the Kerry’s.”
She was lively and engaging for just a second–when she told her son Chris Heinz–who gave his mother a lovely introduction–that “your father” would be proud and spoke warmly of her own mother. It was a grace note, but it appeared that once she had to try to focus on John Kerry, she became almost as deciduous as he is. Her speech was, as many commentators have noted, about her and not him.
Even though I think Kerry’s policies would be a disaster for America, I wanted his wife to make a better impression. I wanted her to be likeable and have interesting opinions. Aside from that split second talking about John Heinz, though, she just wasn’t. Do you ever think that Teresa should have remained a Republican?
“My guess is that Teresa is uncomfortably feminist,” writes Kate O’Beirne.
“She was happily married to John Heinz and devoted herself to raising three sons. She is the product of a traditional culture and enjoyed a close relationship with her father. She has adopted the conventions of her class and new political party, but her bossiness seems to be of the maternal kind and her outspokenness is more flaky than feminist.”
This Just In: I can’t get enough of the Teresa fiasco, so I’ve been trolling the ’net for new stuff. The very best piece on T H-K is by Tom Lifson. I had not read it when I posted this am, but I still want to put up a link–it made me laugh out loud. It also answers the question: What does Hillary think?