"Four More Years of 'Hell'"


Teresa Heinz Kerry continues to delight. The latest, via Yahoo! News:

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….

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….

"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.

"That's why America is going to embrace her and she'll make a spectacular first lady of the United States of America."

Whole story here.

I'm no fan of First Spouses (whether male or female), which are redolent of consorts in monarchies. But if political partners are going to be used as props in campaigns (and they are), they might as well be entertaining. And THK, despite a rotten performance at the Democratic National Convention, can still bring the house down. Yes, she is "spectacular," in that she causes a spectacle on a regular basis.

Is she, as Andrew Sullivan has it, "an offical liability"? Maybe. And maybe that's why she's fun to watch.

NEXT: Rational Irrationality

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  1. My VRWC sources managed to tap into the Kerry bus’ monitoring system, and I have a transcript here:

    “What happened to Ben?”

  2. Why is this even an issue? Last night I heard some mediocrity of a talk host (is there any other kind?) trying desperately to make an issue out of the “four years of hell” incident. The callers were without exception the usual hard-right GOP-lapdog talk radio fare, mostly parroting what they’ve heard Rush and others say.
    And this host was filling in on one of the major radio networks! This is the level to which political discourse has descended in this country.

  3. What’s so entertaining about watching a stupid rich brat making an idiot of herself? You must be trying to get her to marry you after John Kerry loses and she dumps him so you can use her money to run for President.

  4. I really wanted Dr. Steinberg as First Lady, because she so clearly didn’t give a shit. Curse her husband for lousing up her chances like he did.

  5. Nick, do you allow your wife to give her opinion of how you conduct business at Reason? Do you sometimes share ideas you have for the magazine with her? If you do, do you value her opinions? Does she seek your counsel on some of her professional decisions?

    When you’re at the occasional faculty dinner or a cocktail party at a symposium she’s attending, are you forbidden from expressing your own substantial insights on matters concerning English literature?

  6. More complete story here:


    It mentions someone trying to throw a sign into the Milwaukee River. A caller on Charlie Sykes’* WTMJ-AM radio show this morning claimed that Kerry supporters were trying to throw him into the river.

    This guy:

    Tom Lange, 18, of Waukesha+ said he was setting off an air horn during Kerry’s remarks because “we want them to hear us and not hear what he has to say.” is a perfect jerk.

    On one hand, that the Demobcracy is getting a piece of what its most earnest supporters regularly dish out to the Repugnacans seems like rough justice, but I don’t care for the heckler’s veto, as a rule. Senator Heinz’s widow went a bit far by referring to vocal protestors as a “goon squad,” especially as the local Bushies are reporting that threats of violence were made against them for merely speaking their minds, or holding up “flip flop” sandals and Bush signs.

    The Bushies were NOT in the park. They were across the street. The organizers goofed by defining the area for their rally too narrowly, a mistake that neither party usually makes. I would have expected anti-Kerry protestors to be consigned to a “free speech zone” out on Jones Island. Somebody didn’t do their advance work.

    That our political discourse seems to have been dumbed down to the level of two mullet-heads in a tavern parking lot after closing time screaming “You SUCK” at each other depresses me. The closer the race gets, dumbification increases.


    * http://www.620wtmj.com/620programs/charliesykes/

    +Namesake town of the next county west, and as “red” as M’waukee is blue.

  7. Ditto re: Dr. Steinberg, though I have to say that I really admire how much THK really *does* give a shit.

  8. I’m not keen on JFK/RFK-style nepotism either, but it’s not an easy line to draw. Isn’t there something inherently strange about the idea that you and I are free to speak publicly on political and policy matters and to participate in civic life, but a presidential spouse should be seen but not heard? Or that most people’s spouses give input on each other’s business decisions, but a presidential spouse shouldn’t? Is a presidential spouse less of a citizen than everyone else?

    I tend to think we’ll see some of the non-activist, non-royal presidential spouses with their own viable careers that Mr. Gillespie wants at some point in the near future. The example of Judith Steinberg Dean, M.D. is a sign that even the Mayflower-descended Ivy League/old-money class that provides so many of both major parties’ presidential candidates lately now has in its ranks people with independent, career-oriented professional spouses who would continue to work in their own field rather than take an active interest in White House operations or the State Dinner circuit. I’ll grant it would be nice, but I can’t help but think that part of the reason Mr. Gillespie is so keen on this model is that it may resemble his own marriage, in which both parties hold rank and command respect in separate fields. If Mrs. Gillespie were head of a grantmaking foundation or a stay-at-home-mom instead of a college professor, it might not have been such an obvious argument for him to advance. We write what we know.

  9. s.m., why is it that “progressives” do not have their “republican virtue” offended by the meddling of unelected spouses? At the very least, if the elected official has as a special confidant his or her spouse, that solon at least owes the public a decent amount of hypocritical posturing, so as not to seem to have descended into the royalist swamps of nepotism. After Robert Kennedy’s stint as an appointee of his brother, the Congress specifically outlawed close relatives of the Prez from holding such offices. Bill Clinton’s tapping of his wife to head his Health Care Task Force ran right up against that prohibition. Previous nonsense from the likes of Edith Wilson and Eleanor Roosevelt doesn’t make non-statists like myself too fond of this whole “consort of the Prez” idiocy. Perhaps it is all of a piece with other such pseudo-monarchical lefty gibberish, such as “Camelot” nostalgia. Billy Jeff and JFK Mark II both gloried in their documented brushes with JFK I. I half expect the Kerrymen to produce photos of young Johnny pulling Excalibur from Plymouth Rock!

    To be fair, I’m even against Laura B’s bookfairs getting NEH grants. And Hillary did the right thing by going home to A/r/k/a/n/s/a/s/ I/l/l/i/n/o/i/s/ New York and getting ELECTED. As lousy a Senator as I think she is for the republic as a whole, she undoubtedly represents the misguided majority of my native state accurately.

    Presidential spouses should stick to their knitting, hatever that happens to be.


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