Let Them Eat Pumpkin Spice Cookies: Isn't Teresa Heinz Kerry Rich!

By Hays, Charlotte | The American Spectator, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Let Them Eat Pumpkin Spice Cookies: Isn't Teresa Heinz Kerry Rich!


Hays, Charlotte, The American Spectator


A CAMPAIGN STOP IN ARIZONA LAST AUGUST 9 offered an eerie glimpse of the couple that could be the next to occupy the White House. There was tall John Kerry, standing at the very edge of the Grand Canyon precipice, urging his reluctant spouse to join him. "Come on, darling," he seemed to repeat, as he reached in vain for her hand. "No, I'm not going," said an adamant Teresa Heinz Kerry, hiding behind at least one park ranger and clinging for dear life to her plastic water bottle. Of course, she explained it was her vertigo. But you could kind of tell she was not about to be forced into a version of Terry-Kerry.

The trauma left its mark. Hours later she was overheard crying "Hello, Nevada!" to a crowd of perplexed Arizonans.

Although John Kerry is running to become le président des Etats Unis and not le roi, he must be feeling a pang of sympathy with Louis XVI, another Gallic leader whose looselipped wife proved a distinct, if not lethal, liability to his political career. In fairness to Marie Antoinette, it must be noted that she didn't actually say some of the damaging things attributed to her. For example, she never said, "Let them eat cake." Those damning words were put in her mouth by Rousseau, the Paul Krugman of his day. On the other hand, Teresa Heinz Kerry did publicly disavow her own pumpkin spice cookie recipe to both the New York Times and National Public Radio.

Recipegate began when Laura Bush's oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookies were beating the dough out of Teresa's pumpkin spice cookies in Family Circle magazine's quadrennial first lady cookie bake-off. This led Heinz Kerry to denounce the recipe that had been submitted in her name, claiming that a member of her staff "made it on purpose to give a nasty recipe." She insisted that somebody was trying to give her a pie in the face by submitting a recipe that neither she nor her chef had ever tried.

The average homemaker, confronted with such a problem, would simply shrug and say, "Quel dommage." She'd then repeat the sentiment in five or six languages, and that would be the end of it. But nothing is too small to irk Teresa, who turned the pumpkin spice fiasco into a news story, darkly hinting that a Vast Servants Conspiracy was out to destroy her. Then again, she is well positioned to know what her staff thinks of her.

As of this writing, the irrepressible Teresa has been repressed, presumably by a campaign that realizes that, after the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Teresa is one headache it can do without. She has been in seclusion for several weeks. But, if we know our Teresa, she will eventually surface, climbing her way out of the Grand Canyon, or wherever the campaign has ditched her, to reclaim her rightful place in the spotlight.

The evolution of Teresa Heinz Kerry is one of the more curious in American political history-she is our first potential Democratic first lady who might just as well have been a Republican first lady. She was married to Sen. John Heinz, a Republican from Pennsylvania and great-grandson of food magnate Howard Heinz. m Heinz was killed in a plane crash in m 1991. She inherited a fortune variously estimated as between $500,000 and $1 billion. A Los Angeles Times story put it at $3 billion. As a philanthropist, Heinz Kerry has supported trendy left-wing causes such as John Kerry. As head of the Heinz family's philanthropic foundation, she's poured around $4 million into the Tides Foundation, an umbrella organization for sundry far-left groups. She has also worked tirelessly to rebuild Pittsburgh in the image of Paris instead of Mozambique.

SHE MET KERRY AT AN ENVIRONMENTAL RALLY in Brazil (and she still called herself a Republican?) and was smitten. Kerry was relatively penurious-who isn't, compared to Teresa?-but he was quite the ladies man, and the ladies were invariably tony. Among his pre-Teresa girlfriends was Emma Gilbey, of the eponymous English gin firm and the sister of James "Squidgy" Gilbey-she's now married to New York Times editor Bill Keller, in a stunning conflict of interest. …

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