Man Without Qualities

Monday, July 19, 2004

Separated At Birth ... Or Just At The Lobes?
Maureen Dowd on Teresa Heinz Kerry:
After watching Mrs. Kerry in action at last month's Hollywood fund-raiser featuring Barbra Streisand and other glitteries, when she gave her whispery Out-of-Africa autobiographical riff as the candidate waited patiently, entertainment liberals are nervous about how she will handle her unusual spousal star turn in a prime-time speaking slot at the convention.

Even in a place where everyone is constantly reinventing, people are a little stunned at the way Teresa casts herself as a "third worlder" and "daughter of Africa," a wretched-refuse-of-your-teeming-shore sort of immigrant rather than a "White Mischief" émigré, the daughter of a prosperous Portuguese doctor in colonial Mozambique who met John Heinz when they were studying in Switzerland. When Mrs. Kerry presents herself as an African-American or says, "I'm an immigrant, too," and when her son Chris Heinz says he's looking forward to the day when there is a "first-generation American" in the White House, it doesn't always strike the empathetic chord with Hispanic and black audiences that the campaign hopes for.
Some Hollywood contributors want to censor any Teresa tidbits, including any mention of her nickname among some in the Kerry circle — "the Stepmoney." Others sanguinely say she's showing some improvement, not talking about her first husband as much as she used to.


 The Smoking Gun on Martha Stewart:

In opposing Martha Stewart's bid for leniency, federal prosecutors scoffed at the multimillionaire's claim that her record of community service and charity was so extraordinary that she deserved to be rewarded with less prison time. While Stewart's own presentencing memo was submitted under seal, details from that document are contained in a memo filed by Manhattan federal prosecutors who--gleefully, it seems--pointed to some of the, um, charitable acts claimed by Stewart. The convicted felon, 62, "greeted new neighbors with freshly baked bread" and "gave cocoa to the parents of children appearing on her television show." And then there was the time she "consoled a friend whose father died the same day as the verdict in this case." And who could forget how she complimented staff members at lunch, barbecues, and Passover seders. Also, while visiting Peru, she even "took underprivileged children to Machu Picchu." Prosecutors also termed Stewart's claim that her charitable donations were significant as "specious," pointing to paltry contributions listed on her personal tax returns (though exact numbers were redacted from the government memo, an excerpt of which you'll find below). On a related note, we're waiting to find out the names of those "industry leaders, journalists, and even royalty" who wrote character reference letters on behalf of Stewart and codefendant Peter Bacanovic. Click here to read the strange little letter Stewart herself wrote yesterday to Judge Miriam Cedarbaum. (5 pages)

With respect to Senator Kerry's wife, Big Mo also writes that you never know what the lovely but strange Mrs. Kerry will blurt out. But that's not true at all. We need only look to Martha Stewart - one of Hillary Clinton's best buds and contributors, by the way! - for guidance.  Mrs. Kerry and Ms. Stewart both say the kinds of things ultra-rich, detached, narcissistic people have been saying at least since Marie Antoinette served her own  sweet "tidbits" to all those revolting peasants.

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