With Friends Like These

Who needs enemies. See

With Mr. Kerry at her side, [Teresa Kerry] gave her Middle East policy to Larry King, emphatically noting, “I would never have gone to war this way.”

And campaigning in Boston, her compliment for the new ticket was backhanded. “I have to say that John Edwards is very beautiful,” she said in her soft accent, adding, “and my husband is very smart.” Welcome to the campaign, pretty boy.

. . . .

Some Hollywood contributors want to censor any Teresa tidbits, including any mention of her nickname among some in the Kerry circle — “the Stepmoney.” Others sanguinely say she’s showing some improvement, not talking about her first husband as much as she used to.

Surely, the reason the town known as the Democratic Party’s wallet is so focused on the candidate’s spouse is that the candidate himself has given it nothing to get excited about. People here are amazed that John Kerry does not even have a soaring stump speech yet, either in terms of the arc or music of the words, or the passion of the ideas. John 2 came up with the theme of two Americas in the primaries, and John 1 still hasn’t articulated his vision for one.

Usually, it’s President Bush and Mr. Cheney who engender the feeling of, “Just how stupid do they think we are?” But last week, it was the Kerry campaign, which tried to make the claim that Hillary Clinton preferred a silent cameo in a non-prime-time chorus line of female Democratic senators to a top speaking slot.

“Senator Clinton, along with all the other women senators — I think nine of them in the Democratic Party,” Tad Devine told Judy Woodruff Thursday on CNN, “agreed that they wanted to appear and speak together and ask Senator Mikulski, the senior member, to speak on their behalf.”

And I am Marie of Romania.