The Other Charlotte has been blogging relentlessly–as well she might–on Teresa Heinz Kerry’s accusation that Laura Bush has never held down a “real job”–‘cuz she’s spent much of her adult life raising twins and being first lady of both the state of Texas and the United States of America (see TOC’s posts here, here, here, and here). Teresa–whom I can’t actually recall doing much remunerative herself besides getting hitched to a ketchup billionaire–eventually issued a half-apology after remembering that Laura worked as a schoolteacher and librarian before she married W., and continues to promote both education and reading from the White House. Of course Teresa never got around to noticing that being a full-time homemaker and mother is sure real and sure a lot of work (that might offend her hub’s rad-fem constituency). Our readers have been weighing in, and here’s a selection of their e-mails:
“I don’t think that Teresa was dissing motherhood. In her original statement she said that Laura Bush’s ‘experience and validation comes from important things, but different things’ than hers. Teresa commits so many true gaffes that I don’t think it’s necessary to pile on for this one. She should have stopped at some varation of ‘I forgot that she’d worked as a librarian and a teacher,’ though, because going on about how important teaching is does imply, ‘My mistake, she did do important things with her life after all.'”
“Underlying assumption of Mrs. Kerry’s remark about Mrs. Bush’s never holding a real job: I don’t think there was any assumption. I think Mrs. Kerry just lacks humility and doesn’t think before she speaks….
“I’ve never liked the blanket statement that motherhood is the ‘toughest job in the world.’ It depends on the mother. There is my friend’s daughter who home schools her seven children and helps her mother as well. My own mother, on the other hand, suffered from depression and was idle much of the time. It seemed to me that she had a far easier ‘job’ than my father, who worked construction and had a long commute and deadlines to meet and superiors to answer to. (In all fairness, there’s no way he’d have traded places with the mother of seven. He once substituted for his mother, a teacher in a rural one-room school, and said that was the toughest job he ever did.)”
“I know Teresa Heinz Kerry is being accused of not fully apologizing for her ‘no real job’ remark. Doesn’t ‘teaching our children’ include the work of a full-time mom? I’m willing to give Mrs. Kerry that break. And I’m a librarian who used to be a schoolteacher.
“May I also change the subject, and take this time to thank you for existing, and for creating this blog? For the last several years, I’ve been thinking myself away from my previously conventional opinions. I find the IWF a great help in challenging presuppositions. And I’m reading ‘Vanity Fair’ unabridged and in hardcover, and enjoying it mightily.”
N.Y., I’m flattered that the posts on the new film version of ‘Vanity Fair’ that TOC and I put up here and here have inspired you to read William Makepeace Thackeray’s far superior and vastly more entertaining novel.
Now comes reader J.M., who is definitely not inspired by The Other Charlotte’s post on William Tucker’s piece for the American Spectator on a Kerry administration foreign policy, which Tucker thinks is likely to consist of schmoozing with Euro-crats a la Jackie Kennedy (says TOC) while the Mideast goes up in flames (see The Jackie-O Foreign Policy: It’s Scary, Oct. 20):
“Silly ladies…everything William Tucker dreams about seems more likely to happen under a Bush administration than a Kerry one. The best example is of something that has already happened even before Nov. 2!!!!: ‘Several suicide bombers penetrated the Green Zone and American casualties started to rise.’…I must say, you are not very persuasive in your arguments!”
But reader B.K. does find us inspiring:
“I wanted to thank you for supporting real women’s issues. It seems that majority of women don’t relate to the current ‘feminists’ and their socialistic, helpless-victim hysteria. As a woman I belive our lives are largely a product of the choices that we make. Teaching and helping women to make them positive and to take responsibility for them is far more beneficial and truthful than telling someone they are helpless victims. The feminist movement is becoming irrelevant to the sane women of today.
“I also wanted to say how much I enjoy reading the daily blog. The entries are both intellectually enlightening and entertaining I also wanted to comment on the complaints from readers that the IWF is a right-wing conspiriacy undercover. This site is far less partisan than the National Organization for Women. I don’t believe there is a question on which end of the liberal/conservative spectrum they reside!”
Whew, a fan! And remember: We at the IWF welcome and regularly post letters from our critics. NOW doesn’t.