Politics & Policy

No Mother Teresa

John Kerry's wife insults American mothers.

“C lothing is wonderful, but let them go naked for a while, at least the kids,” Teresa Heinz Kerry said last month to New York relief workers sending supplies to victims of Hurricane Ivan. “Let’s just say that remark probably wasn’t in her talking points,” said one Democratic source described at the time as being close to the Kerry campaign.

The recent diversion from the talking points by the woman John Kerry’s daughters reportedly refer to as “Step Money” came in an interview with USA Today, in which Teresa apparently decided First Lady Laura Bush was “fair game” for attack: “Well, you know, I don’t know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don’t know that she’s ever had a real job–I mean, since she’s been grown up.”

Remember when, during the Democratic convention, Teresa Heinz lectured us: “It is time for the world to hear women’s voices–in full and at last”? While the Kerry campaign seems to have sidelined Teresa’s “full voice” as much as possible–sending her to such hot battlegrounds as Texas–every once in a while Teresa’s true “voice” appears–whether she’s telling a reporter to “shove it” or saying a Bush re-election would be “four more years of hell” or saying “only an idiot” wouldn’t support her husband’s big-government health-care plan.

Teresa issued a lame apology yesterday for her Laura Bush slight, saying: “I had forgotten that Mrs. Bush had worked as a schoolteacher and librarian, and there couldn’t be a more important job than teaching our children. As someone who has been both a full time mom and full time in the workforce, I know we all have valuable experiences that shape who we are. I appreciate and honor Mrs. Bush’s service to the country as first lady, and am sincerely sorry I had not remembered her important work in the past.”

Okay, so she sort of apologizes to teachers and librarians for saying theirs aren’t “real jobs.” Did she really forget Laura Bush was a librarian and teacher? It’s not like the First Lady’s past is a big secret.

But Teresa still hasn’t apologized to stay-at-home mothers for implying that they don’t have “real jobs.” Certainly, we aren’t supposed to believe that she “forgot” Laura Bush was a mom. Most of us moms–whether working moms or stay-at-home moms (I’ve been both)–consider that occupation more than a full-time job. Then again, most of us don’t have the staff of six that, as the New York Times reports, accommodate every whim of Teresa Heinz’s and John Kerry’s at their many mansions around the country.

One wonders what a “real job” is in the THK book–but we can imagine (something to do with servants writing a six-million-dollar check to keep your husband’s campaign afloat?). What slipped out from Teresa “in full and at last” was the culturally elite prima donna that the Kerry staff have worked hard to keep under wraps. No doubt Kerry and his staff are all indebted to Teresa’s bankrolling skills–but “Step Money” is causing problems on the home front.

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