I know some of my newshound chums must have seen the story of would-be First Lady Teresa Heinz Kerry telling Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editor Colin McNickle to "shove it." Ironically, one report suggests this was shortly after she delivered a brief speech on civility, but I can't yet corroborate that.
Yet, although I'm sure that some of the more liberal bloggers have seen this, I'm noticing a silence about it. Now, hey, they're not journalists: they've no obligation to the public to be objective. Maybe it's better for them to stay quiet than for them to open themselves up to ridicule by trying to defend or rationalize her mistake. However, I try to maintain a certain amount of consistency in my opinion, and on this, I think she's been not only rude, but stupid.
Yes, I said stupid. How foolish do you have to be to, almost a month to the day after Cheney's appalling abusive language on the floor of the Senate, show that you're almost as tactless as your opposition?
The primary differences that I see between her gaffe and Cheney's are that
a) her language was not quite as foul, and
b) she hasn't officially been elected to anything yet.
However, Mrs. Kerry was caught on tape, while Cheney wasn't (though he was blatantly, offensively unapologetic about it), and that clip has already gotten plenty of air time.
Furthermore, unfair though it is, more civility is expected of women than of men, and this likely won't play well. There are those members of the voting public who have not forgotten the uproar over Hillary Clinton's 1992 remark about "not being the kind of woman who stays home baking cookies." Yes, the feminine expectation is wholly inequitable, but I know first hand that it exists. Of course, in this specific instance, we're not even asking her to act like a lady, just like someone capable of keeping her cool. Teresa Heinz Kerry just lost what little high ground of civility that the Democrats might have claimed. She might regain some points if she had the wit to apologize, but it remains to be seen whether or not she will do so.
My point is that both parties have members in immediate proximity to the president or would-be president who apparently have difficulty controlling their tempers, and nursery school name-calling is not the sort of behavior that makes the Oval Office look good. If these people want to be the leaders of the free world, I wish they'd start acting like it.