Teresa's free ride
Published August 5, 2004
The time has long past for Teresa Heinz Kerry to end the free ride she has been enjoying ever since she used her immense inherited wealth for the second time in less than eight years to resuscitate her husband's faltering political career. She needs to reveal the details of her finances, which Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has deftly exploited to his maximum political benefit -- first during his tightly contested 1996 Senate race and then during this year's Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses.
In May, Mrs. Heinz Kerry accused Vice President Cheney of being "unpatriotic." This week she asserted that enthusiasts for Bush-Cheney "want four more years of hell." Fair enough. But if Mrs. Heinz Kerry insists on simultaneously playing the three roles of "sugar mommy," pit-bull and speechifying partisan environmentalist, then she ought to play by the same rules to which all the recent spouses of prospective presidents and vice presidents have adhered. Let the voters have access to her financial affairs, including her tax returns for 2002, the latest year for which she has filed.
Unlike her husband, who evidently did not possess the political courage to explain the costs Americans would bear under the Kyoto global-warming protocol, during her convention speech Mrs. Heinz Kerry pledged that in a Kerry administration "global climate change and other threats to the health of our planet will begin to be reversed." The "moral nation" that her husband would lead would "reject thoughtless and greedy choices" that the Bush-Cheney administration presumably made. Such a "moral nation" is one that "leads" through the "power of its example," lectured Mrs. Heinz Kerry, whose current wealth has been conservatively estimated to be at least $1 billion and as much as $3.2 billion, according to an analysis of public records by the Los Angeles Times.
So be it. Let Mrs. Heinz Kerry divulge the details of her great wealth, which has financed her jet-fuel-guzzling Gulfstream II private jet, her gas-guzzling Jeeps and Suburban SUV and her five mansions that she uses scarce energy resources to heat in the winter and cool in the summer. On the subjects of being "greedy" and "thoughtless," on the one hand, and fearing "global climate change," on the other, it is safe to wager that Mr. Kerry and his "sugar mommy" consume more BTUs than 99.999 percent of American households.
If she truly admires the "power of example," then let her follow the example of John Zaccaro, the husband of 1984 Democratic vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro who revealed his tax returns. Unlike Mrs. Heinz Kerry, he never bankrolled his spouse's political career.