Maybe THK should have gotten the nom

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Here's Teresa Heinz Kerry rebutting a heckler:

During a question and answer session, a young man demanded to know why Kerry voted to give Bush authority to attack Iraq but voted against an $87 billion appropriation bill to support the war effort there.

"Is that the kind of thing he would do as president?," the man asked.

Heinz Kerry sharply asked the man whether he had read the legislation that was voted on.

When he said no, she told him that Kerry had supported $60 billion in military appropriations for Iraq, but would not vote for the full $87 billion because he considered it a "blank check." Kerry was one of 11 Democrats to vote against the bill.

"And we knew they'd already given Haliburton millions in no-bid contracts," she snapped, referring to the company formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney.

"If you want to say (Kerry) flip-flopped, just say so, don't try to hide," Heinz Kerry scolded.

Whole story here. Red meat for the freakazoid Democratic zealots who love (or claim to love) Teresa's elbows-out style. More importantly, it's an actual response, one that not only depicts Kerry as consistent but shows him doing what legislators are supposed to be doing, particularly during wartime: guarding the public weal against spendthrifts, sweetheart deals and profiteers.

I'm sure it's all bullshit, but why can't Kerry himself come up with something similar, instead of the mealymouthed circumlocution he tends to serve up? The CW these days is that Kerry is finally finding his groove with strong statements about Iraq, while THK continues to keep voters away in droves with her "imperious sexuality" (Hubba hubba!). Color me unconvinced.

NEXT: Larry, Moe, and Hemp

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  1. “…read the legislation?”

    “…read the legislation?”

    My god, doesn’t this woman realize how things are supposed to work?

    Actually, with the snarky Halliburton line, I think she does.

  2. Are you really surprised? Kerry continues to say that his vote to give President Bush the authorization for war in Iraq really was a vote to be firm(er?) with Saddam and engage in some sabre-rattling as a means to get him to comply with various UN Resolutions. I haven’t read that legislation either but if Kerry’s characterization of what he was voting on is correct shouldn’t he be making more of an issue of it with his critics?

    THK is much more like Bush in that she says what she believes in plain language with confidence and authority. Kerry leaves a decidedly different impression, n’est pas?

  3. After all, THK was a Republican before she married into the Democrat party.

  4. I wonder if THK has read the bill. Apparently her husband didn’t read the PATRIOT Act before voting for it, so why would we expect her to read something before scolding somebody about it?

  5. THK voted for the GOP before she voted against it.

  6. Sandy-
    Took the words right out of my mouth.

  7. I gotta say I do like that bitch. She’s got more balls than Hillary, she’s more fun to watch than Laura, and easier on the eyes than either of them (that’s relative of course, they’ve all got like 30-40 years on me).

  8. rst confirms what I’ve long suspected – the “gasp, she doesn’t know her place, she’s too mouthy!” sentiment is confined to the NYT editorial page and the like. Real people hear people talk like that everyday.

  9. Mrs Heinz-Kerry:

    Did your husband “read the legislation” known as the Patriot Act before he voted in favor of it?

  10. It’s sad that she has to explain to the guy how our government works, and how the campaigns and the news constantly misrepresent records of politicians, particularly Congressmen. Why someone votes for or against a bill can have any number of reasons, and it takes thoughtful analysis to really know why. As far as I’m concerned, that heckler ought to have his voting card ripped up.
    And actually, voting for something and sabotaging it through underfunding is a technique as old as the hills. Good luck to the young man finding someone who, as president, wouldn’t do such a thing.

  11. I can’t the link right at the moment but at the time Kerry claimed he voted against the $87 Billion in appropriations because he wanted to pay for it by rolling back the tax cut for the upper most quintile. I don’t think he said anything about Haliburton or any other type of spending accountability at the time.

    Your right that it’s nice to see someone just say something plainly. Perhaps my lifetime of dealing with technology and complex systems has skewed my perceptions but I find myself increasingly drawn to the KISS principle in all things.

  12. If they kept it simple, the ‘common man’ might understand what they’re up to – can’t have that!

  13. Actually, one of the (many) pieces of the bill was that it included 20 billion being in grants instead of loans to Iraq. i.e. it included a 20 billion dollar slush fund. Billions of it are now unaccounted for.

    The ad we are not seeing is “Bush, without regard to properly equipping our troops, threatened to veto the whole bill unless it included a slush fund for his cronies.”

  14. I hate to say this, but Barbara Boxer had a good rejoinder: Jones also targeted Boxer’s vote against an $87 billion emergency appropriation for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, arguing she has refused to support American troops at war… Boxer said she had voted for a substitute measure that provided money for equipment for the troops but blocked spending for reconstruction in Iraq, which she said needed more oversight than was provided… “I am not a blank check for procurement abuse,” she said. “I want to make sure our money is going to our troops.”

    She’s a boxer, a fighter, and a liberal loon, but apparently she’s got better speech writers than John Kerry.

  15. Re the “did he read the Patriot Act before voting on it?” comments: well, nobody did. Read it before voting on it, that is. Couldn’t have, as it was still being written as the voting was going on…

  16. Re the “did he read the Patriot Act before voting on it?” comments: well, nobody did. Read it before voting on it, that is. Couldn’t have, as it was still being written as the voting was going on…

    That excuse doesn’t fly. There was nothing stopping Kerry from either voting against the measure or abstaining.

    Kerry can say that he didn’t want to sign a blank check for the war; I don’t buy it, but he can say it. But I’d really like to hear him explain why he thought it was a good idea to give John Ashcroft a blank check with which to purchase new police powers and restrictions on civil liberties for himself

  17. Kerry’s (2nd) wife has a lotta charisma.
    But tapas ain’t gonna outsell burgers anytime soon.

  18. Why is this guy called a heckler if he was asking questions during a “question and answer session?” Was he supposed to wait for show and tell?

  19. joe,

    I admit that THK rubs me the wrong way, but I share your admiration for her response in this situation.

    Early in the year, Atrios quoted an unnamed Kerry staffer who said that they weren’t going to have a Dukakis-style campaign. If Bush decided to throw mud, he said, then everything about Bush would be on the table–“and I mean EVERYTHING.”

    So WTF happened?

    The day after the Bush-Cheney ad aired on Kerry’s “funny ideas about energy,” Kerry should have been mentioning Cheney’s proposed price-support tax on petroleum in every single stump speech. When the Swift Boat vets launched their campaign, Kerry should have mentioned in every single speech that Bush was associating with a guy who’d accused his own dad of cowardice in WWII, in order to promote his political fortunes. Etc., etc., etc.

    Even now, when Kerry is supposed to be responding forcefully, it’s something they have to announce ahead of time–and you can almost hear the clanking as the Kerrybot slowly shifts into “forceful response” mode: “My friends, I say to you that…”

  20. Kevin, pre-Labor Day and post-Labor Day Kerry strategies are different. Pre-Labor Day was about not getting sunk by the amBush. Mission Accomplished. Post-Labor Day is about turning into the fire and routing them.

    People think that Kerry’s war record boasting was an offenseive weapon that Bush blunted, but is wasn’t. It was a defense against Bush’s attempts to paint him as a limp wristed liberal wimp who hates American and won’t stand up and fight. So what Bush has managed to to is damage a suit of armor Kerry was planning on casting aside anyway, while missing the opportunity to make a postive case for his own record – a huge mistake for an incumbent president.

    See, with people actually paying attention, and watch debates in which Bush doesn’t get to screen the questions and only air his spin, Bush has to stand and fight. And Kerry will kick his ass. Admittedly, Kerry’s idiosyncratic political style – you know, complete thoughts, logic from Point A to Point B to Conclusion C, paying attention to fine print – isn’t very good at getting people’s attention. Bush’s pithy, empty slogans, straw man arguments, and shallow posturing are much better for appealing to an audience for whom the campaign matters about as much as the content of any other teevee ad.

    But once people are actually paying attention, the dynamic changes. People will actually notice that Bush can’t compete with Kerry on content. That Kerry knows what he’s talking about, and Bush doesn’t. You know how the press works – build them up for a few weeks, so they can tear them down once they’re on top. Now, after the Bush bounce story has been around for a weeks and is getting old, the press is ready to start hitting him. So it was wise of Kerry to hold his fire until a moment when the media is actually interested in paying attention long enough for Kerry’s ripostes – which have the virtue and weakness of being substantive and realistic, thus lengthy and somewhat complex – to get reported.

  21. joe,

    You may have a point about the debate. I saw James Fallows on C-SPAN playing clips from old debates, and he made a pretty good case that Kerry’s rhetorical style in a debate is much different from his style in a scripted speech. And Bush’s greatest weakness is getting thrown off-base by impromptu challenges.

    The danger is that Smirk will stick to saying things like (as Tom Tomorrow put it) “Look at Mr. Brainiac! He’s got facts! He’s got figures! Fuzzy math!” And the dumbasses will spin it as a victory.

  22. He undoubtedly will, Kevin. However, a sitting president can’t get away with that as well as a challenger. And casualty rates are more visceral to people than deficit levels.

    Also, keep in mind, even John Kerry is more likeable in a public setting than Al Gore.

  23. If THK deserves some kind of blogosphere award for being sharp on her feet, then Cavanaugh deserves an honorable mention for “mealymouthed circumlocution” at least.

  24. “… even John Kerry is more likeable in a public setting than Al Gore.”

    Funny, I haven’t seen much evidence of that.

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