- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 4, 2004

Recently Teresa Heinz Kerry was quoted saying she doesn’t think her husband is qualified to be president.

How unsettling that must have been for John Kerry, whose nomination at the Democratic Convention was based on his war heroics and his family’s belief in his ability to run the government. Both premises seem to be unraveling with more than two months left for him to keep up the charade.

On the other hand, first lady Laura Bush was quoted as saying her own husband is strong, steady, and disciplined … qualities needed in a good president. Because she believes in him, she often campaigns for him alone even though she would rather campaign with him.

When asked to elaborate further about her husband’s qualities, Mrs. Kerry admits being annoyed that John Kerry wants to learn about new things, like painting. She can’t understand how he has time for anything else. An educator, our present first lady values learning new things. Mrs. Bush believes lifelong learning is critical to ensuring a free world, prosperity and satisfaction.

Mrs. Kerry doesn’t really aspire to be first lady, which she compares to going to a Carmelite convent. She never wanted either of her husbands to run for president. Mrs. Bush, however, loves her role as the president’s wife — even though it’s hard to be scrutinized and criticized. I imagine it had to be difficult hearing Mrs. Kerry refer to a second term of the Bush presidency as “four more years of hell.” However, if Mrs. Bush needs some perspective, Mrs. Kerry describes all politics as unsavory; “putrid” is the word she is quoted as using to describe the Democratic Party. She distrusts many of the major players, including John Kerry’s mentor, Sen. Edward Kennedy — whom she once called a bastard. She believes politics is a lot of “bull [deleted]” Perhaps she needed a course in “Constitutional Literacy” before she got her U.S. citizenship.

This might explain why Mrs. Kerry never makes excuses for what might be thought improprieties. She doesn’t care how her actions might reflect on her husband’s candidacy because her self-identity is more important. Actually, she only added Kerry to her last name for the campaign’s duration. In contrast, Mrs. Bush would do nothing to undermine her husband’s position.

Being in the public eye didn’t stop Mrs. Kerry from telling a reporter to “shove it” when she didn’t like his questions or his affiliations. Colin McNickle simply asked her to clarify her statement about un-American traits coming into politics. His real crime, however, was working for the Tribune-Review — whose owner has donated huge dollars to right-wing causes.

Sometimes Mrs. Kerry has tried to help her husband’s campaign. She actually handed out pins that said “Asses of Evil” with “Bush,” “Cheney,” “Rumsfeld” and “Ashcroft” surrounding it. Can you imagine Laura Bush doing this type of negative campaigning?

Mostly Mrs. Kerry just publicly disagrees with her husband on the issues. John Kerry has told the media he opposes same-sex “marriage” and Mrs. Kerry reminds people he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, even though he was up for re-election that year. She believes same-sex unions are old-fashioned. She even assures voters how Mr. Kerry will vote on “gay marriage.”

Mrs. Kerry has her own agenda. Whether her husband is in political office really has no bearing on her activities. Though Cuba is designated as a terrorist nation by the U.S. State Department, Mrs. Kerry helped finance an Internet network there through her Tides Charitable Foundation.

Mrs. Bush, as first lady, has championed the cause of literacy. She understands how important education is to the vitality of our country. She cares about the future of the United States and wants to ensure we continue to lead the Free World. The causes championed by Mrs. Kerry through the Tides Foundation are of questionable merit to the continuation of our republic. Her agenda doesn’t indicate a person born and raised with American values and priorities.

Being first lady is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. A president’s wife should be supportive, reflective and know when it is appropriate to voice her ideas and when it is not.

We are the strongest country in the world. Many leaders look to our nation for support and guidance. The first lady must believe in her own husband’s ability to hold that office and project that confidence to the world. Laura Bush is such a first lady.

Let’s hope for our country’s good she remains first lady another four years.

NANCY SALVATO

Mrs. Salvato is a contractor with Prism Educational Consulting. She is educational liaison to Illinois state Sen. Ray Soden. She works on furthering civic education.

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