My dear friend Banshee (at the risk of getting a raised eyebrow from her) has it wrong, wrong, wrong about Theresa Heinz Kerry.
The most she is guilty-of is misusing a nauticalism. In context, it sounds like she sould have said “shove off” rather than “shove it.” She doesn’t sound the type to put up with taunts, and more power if she gave this would-be journalist his walking papers. Heck: even if she meant the latter, at least she spared us the exact identity of the shoved, and its destination. How many of us are so innocent?
The vice president, by contrast, just seems vicious and vulgar: indeed, it seems the MO of the administration. (I’m still slack-jawed over the “let’s not call it torture” and “it’s Cuba, not the U.S.” antics over at Justice. The administration has the credibility of a frat house, if not the manners.)
Why the distinction? Degree matters. To relativize and flatten legitimate differences encourages civil people to act as outrageously as possible. (The Democrats were right to focus on wisdom last night; how preciously we need some.)
In any case, I’d put Mrs. Heinz Kerry’s philanthropy and life-work against the vice president’s political version of war profiteering any day of the week. There’s a comparison that’s more substantial than the school-marm hobby of counting naughty phrases.