The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, July 26, 2004
 

Teresa the Envelope-Pusher


Against all the momentum of modern politics towards planning of the minutest detail, and offering the smallest target to the enemy, comes the Democratic Carmen Miranda (only fruitless), aspirant First Lady Teresa Heinz Kerry.

This time, THK tells Pennsylvania delegates in a speech
We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics

And then denies to a reporter that she'd used the word un-American. When the guy - one Colin McNickle - persisted, she said
You said something I didn't say. Now shove it.

The Note today has a transcript of the exchange (second cross-head) from an ABC journo present.

Now, Dick Cheney has raised the bar somewhat for indignation about political expletives [1]; and the entire administration for uttering palpable lies. But, even so...

My hypothesis is that the fact that the woman is foreign-born gets her cut slack that a native American would not enjoy. A comparison in the oddly special treatment that foreigners of duskier hue enjoyed (sometimes, in some places) in the days of Jim Crow. A Maharajah might have secured entry to a New York hotel from which lighter-skinned American Negroes would have been barred [2].

Because the color line was a caste system, out-castes confused it; they couldn't be expected to know its strange folkways, and so were not expected fully to comply with them.

Apart from retaining her foreign-ness (she speaks five languages: now, that's un-American!), she might garner a deal of gratitude from the general run of journos who have copy to file each day on a story where light relief is at a premium.

Like Arnold Bennett's Denry Machin, she is, to an extent,
identified with the great cause of cheering us all up.

And, the vast right-wing conspiracy aside, who's not loving that?

  1. Bush 43 himself did a little bar-raising with his 2000 comment about the New York Times' Adam Clymer being a major league asshole.

  2. There is a joke on the subject in the 1937 Nothing Sacred - where a Harlem 'shine is faked up to be some kind of wealthy oriental ruler, the incident first mentioned here on December 10 2002.

MORE

Not that native political spouses are all bland: according to the Boston Herald today, Christie Vilsack of Iowa wrote columns ten years ago in in the Mount Pleasant News bewailing the quality of English spoken by various groups. As, for instance,
I am fascinated at the way some African-Americans speak to each other in an English I struggle to understand, then switch to standard English when the situation requires.

And averring that
she'd rather learn Polish than try to speak like people from New Jersey...

Governor Tom Vilsack signed an official language bill in 2002 which failed to endear him to Hispanics - or help him in the veep-stakes.


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