Wacky heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry doesn’t seem to understand that America’s exercise in selecting the next chief executive isn’t about her her her. She has become the sideshow of the race, and her husband, who should be able to focus on himself, must gamely jump in and say how great she is every time she creates a flap.

Yesterday was just a typical day on the campaign trail for the opinionated billionaire philanthropist. In other words, she was once again doing her impersonation of Marie Antoinette not listening to her image consultants.  

As reported on Yahoo:

“Teresa Heinz Kerry, the outspoken wife of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, pulled no punches on Monday in telling a rally what she thought of the Bush administration — hell.

“And later, discussing the war in Iraq, Heinz Kerry subtly questioned Republican President Bush’s intellect, saying: ’It’s vital for anyone with intelligence to acknowledge mistakes and change positions — hello.’

When a Bush supporter with a bullhorn shouted ’four more years’ from the back of a large crowd packed into a downtown Milwaukee park, Heinz Kerry, who was introducing her husband, responded: ’They want four more years of hell.’

“’Three more months!,’ she declared, referring to the Nov. 2 presidential election.”

The report helpfully refreshed our memories: 

“Last week at the Democratic Convention in Boston, where Kerry formally accepted his party’s nomination as Bush’s opponent, Heinz Kerry briefly caused a stir when she told a reporter to ’shove it.’”

At this point, the senator had no choice but to grasp the microphone and put the best face on his wife’s mini-eruption:

“’She speaks her mind and she speaks the truth and she’s pretty quick on her feet too,’ the Massachusetts senator said when he took the microphone in Milwaukee.”

Teresa is a terrible distraction at a time when every moment counts. The Democratic team should have but one focus: John the Gaunt, getting him elected. It’s not sexist to say that for the next few months Teresa should focus on her husband. After all, John and Elizabeth Edwards, who aren’t even married to him (though, no doubt, this sort of thing will soon be legal) made John Kerry the center of their convention speeches; Teddy Kennedy’s convention speech was about Kerry, and even Howard Dean found nice things to say about his erstwhile foe. But not Teresa.

She spoke about the one topic that seems to fascinate and enthrall her, Teresa. She must make Kerry wonder what it would be like to have somebody warm and cuddly like Hillary Rodham Clinton beside him in this endeavor–well, she’s warm and cuddly compared to Kerry’s zany heiress. Unlike Teresa, Hillary recognized and accepted her job during the campaign phase. She was able to reflect glory on the candidate. No doubt there were people who said, well, let’s see, he’s supposed to be a Lothario, but he’s married to this brainy Wellesley gal. That says something about him. But the self-absorbed Heinz Kerry doesn’t do anything for her candidate husband. What must the ordinary voter be thinking about this match?

But no one can muzzle her. She’s earned her place on the stage–her dowry included the Beacon Hill residence on which Kerry obtained a loan to keep him in the race when his campaign was in such dark times that even Liquorish the hamster is said to have been in despair.

On the other hand, there are those who enjoy Teresa’s antics. My Republican friends, for example, say: Keep talking, babe. Let Teresa be Teresa. But what if there is a Machiavellian Democratic plot in Mama T’s madness–John Kerry is a cold and awkward man whose every exposure to the public seems to bring down his favorable ratings. Teresa keeps us from looking at him. In addition to that, one of the only times he’s likeable is when he’s forced to assume his Sir Galahad role and defend his wife. Is Teresa committing hari-kari or does she do it on purpose? Is she actually trying to distract us from John the Gaunt? And you’ve got to admit it–she’s much more fun than Hillary and not as likely to want to run the country. (Or is she?)

Meanwhile, instead of giving Teresa hell for her latest remark, Laura Bush refrained from critizing Mrs. HK, chalking up Teresa’s latest nastiness to being heckled. Heiresses hate being heckled, but it is better than the guillotine.