When Push Comes to Shove | Vox Pop | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

When Push Comes to Shove

Celebrating Teresa Heinz Kerry

I love the floppy, sloppy, somewhat moppy hair on Teresa Heinz Kerry's head. It says, "Hey, I might be a little bit edgy if you push me, so watch it." Sorry to those of you who want another Stepford first lady, but Teresa rocks.


And yes, my rock 'n' roll Teresa told a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial page editor to "shove it." The Trib's Colin McNickle should be told that every day, just on general principle. His editorial page once featured an "obituary" for Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham that implied she'd murdered her husband to become publisher. That wasn't just despicably unethical and heinously untrue, it was pretty nutty. That editorial prompted liberal talker Lynn Cullen to say on my old TV show she'd like to punch McNickle. Of course it was hyperbole, but McNickle threatened to sue. McNickle also told an online magazine that he wondered if Teresa was going to hit him when she approached him to utter the now-infamous line.


Is this guy afraid of strong women or what? That's a conservative Republican for you. But back to my beloved Teresa.


One reason I love the "shove it" thing is because it could bring back a slew of old-school insults. Maybe she could Fonz out the next time and tell William F. Buckley to "sit on it." Hey, Bill O'Reilly, "Go fly a kite." Yo, El Rushbo, "Take a long walk on a short pier." Maybe Teresa will get all Edward G. Robinson on Sean Hannity and tell him to "Screw, see."


By the way, Teresa didn't flip out. She knew she'd uttered the word "un-American." But she got testy when McNickle used the phrase "un-American activities," which conjured up McCarthy-era witch hunts in Heinz Kerry's mind, and made her wonder where McNickle was coming from, even before she found out he was one of Dickie Cougar Mellon Scaife's henchmen. When she discovered he was part of the Trib attack squad she got even angrier, and the rest is herstory.


I loved her convention speech Tuesday night, when she showed off her ability to speak five languages. (Although I thought it odd that, despite being born in Mozambique and being our first potential African-American first lady, she had not one word aimed at the brothers. I guess she's still refining her message.) And how about that accent? Part Bianca Jagger, a hint of Zsa Zsa Gabor, and just a pinch of Donatella Versace. How grooooovy is that baby, yeah!


Clearly the feedback on Shoveitgate was evenly divided. Red states hate it, blue states love it. So no harm, no foul. However, one thing bothered me: It is a little disconcerting that my beloved Teresa took the bait hook, line and sinker from McNickle. Teresa, I know you're a hot shit. I know you're not going to let the handlers program you. But you can't let the wing nuts rattle your cage to the point where you blow a gasket and give FOX News some serious red meat for the red states.


And another thing, darling. I know this is sensitive. And I'm sure you've already heard it, and I admire your apparent rejection of this particular advice so far. But T, it's time to stop talking in public so much about the first John. This has got to be about John II. You've got to focus on him to the exclusion of everything else to make sure there's a happy ending.


For some reason, a large portion of the country is hanging on to the fantasy that Dubya is tougher than the new JFK, though in Vietnam Kerry ordered his boat to head straight toward enemy fire, while Dubya was probably off somewhere ordering his nostrils to head straight toward that white powder on the mirror.


As a result, this race is still neck-and-neck. You have to help close the deal, my beloved, and you have the skills and charisma to do it. To borrow a classic Nixon-era phrase, the nattering nabobs of negativism aimed at compassionate liberalism are indeed the pond scum you believe them to be. But they're fishin' for a Heinz Kerry gaffe to sink the captain of the boat.

Teresa, do us all a favor: Don't take the bait. I love you, my darling. Rock on.

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