Saturday, October 23, 2004

A shot at the First Lady ... A shot at mothers

While I was wallowing in a baseball induced depression (which, by the way, was not eased at all by Penn State's 6-4 loss to Iowa this afternoon), Teresa Heinz Kerry was running her mouth in the USA Today.

In an article published on Wednesday morning, Heinz Kerry took a mild shot at the First Lady. Heinz Kerry said, "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."

This comment was not well-received by either the Kerry-friendly press or the public. Making snide comments about the wives of candidates is just something that is not done. What's more, this was a factually incorrect insinuation. It is well-known that Laura Bush worked in the public schools as both a teacher and a librarian from 1968 to 1977. After that, Laura became a full-time homemaker and mother.

Realizing the factual error of her statement, Heinz Kerry tried to fix the situation with an apology. However, Heinz Kerry's apology says more about the true values of herself and her husband than anything in her original comment. Heinz Kerry stated, "I had forgotten that Mrs. Bush had worked as a school teacher and librarian, and there couldn't be a more important job than teaching our children."

Now, I don't find an attack on the First Lady to be particularly offensive. I don't see why a shot or two at a candidate's wife should be so taboo. However, I think that Heinz Kerry's statements are incredibly informative as to her family's view of the importance of home life. Heinz Kerry mentioned the fact that Mrs. Bush had been a public school teacher, but she said nothing about Laura Bush's most important job -- that of a wife and mother.

Karen Hughes, advisor to the President, summed up the whole picture quite well. Hughes said, "[Heinz Kerry] made it worse because she left out the very important real job of a mother. Clearly she knows Laura Bush was a mother ... who chose to stay home and rear her family. That's a noble choice that should be celebrated not denigrated."

I myself am a fast-talking career gal, but I believe that there is no more important job in life than raising your own children. I know that I am not alone in that opinion. Our nation was built on this foundation. The Bush family shares this value. The Kerry family does not.