I guess it’s not important that a future first lady may be mentally unbalanced.

It’s been a long, strange trip indeed for Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Less than 30 years ago, she was a rabid Republican, the wife of another senator, trashing Ted Kennedy as a “perfect bastard” and the Democratic Party as “putrid.”

Last night, she shared the dais with Teddy Boy – who turns out to be her new husband’s biggest (in terms of girth as well as enthusiasm) cheerleader.

When I first reported that Teresa Heinz Kerry was behind the funding of radical causes including Act-Up, Islamist jihadists, anarchists who disrupted the Seattle World Trade Organization meeting and communist front groups, I knew she was wacky.

What shocked me, however, was the fact no one seemed to care that some of those same non-profit groups, funded by Heinz money, were at the forefront of planned demonstrations and disruptions at the Republican National Convention later this summer.

Just imagine if Pat Nixon was directing charity funds toward the demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Would that be a scandal? Yes, it would. It might have been bigger than Watergate. Yet, Evita Heinz Kerry gets away with it. All she needs to do is plead ignorance to the fact that millions of her directed charity dollars go to a foundation funding such groups and hundreds of others like them.

But all that is in the theoretical realm. We can look at the cold facts of Teresa Heinz Kerry’s misguided philanthropy, but what does it really tell us about the person?

I think a much better glimpse into the personality of Evita Heinz Kerry came last weekend.

She gave a speech in Boston to Pennsylvania delegates, urging civility in political discourse. She was reasonable. She was articulate. And she was obviously scripted carefully.

“We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian – and sometimes un-American – traits that are coming into some of our politics,” she said.

Nothing wrong with that. But, a few minutes later, when asked politely by a reporter about use of the term “un-American,” Evita blew a gasket.

“I didn’t say that,” she said. “You’re putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say that.”

But she very clearly did say it – despite the angry and frequent denials. Like the speech itself, this unbelievable confrontation with Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, was videotaped by WTAE Channel 4 Action News in Pittsburgh.

Repeatedly she insists to McNickle that she did not use the term “un-American.” McNickle calmly asks her to explain what she did say, but Mrs. Kerry refused – at one point telling the journalist to go listen to the tape.

After conferring with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and others, Kerry then returned to confront McNickle.

“Are you from the Tribune-Review?” she asked.

“Yes,” replies McNickle.

“I thought so,” she said. “You said something I didn’t say. Now shove it.”

Now much of the controversy over this incident has focused on the words “shove it.” And that’s as it should be. But why so little attention on the brain malfunction that led to it?

She gave a speech. She used a phrase. She was asked about it minutes later by a journalist. She not only denied using it, she insulted and verbally abused the questioner.

Not only that, she went back for seconds – lunging at the reporter in a way that would be considered threatening had the shoe been on the other foot.

Let me make this simple: This woman is nuts. She’s certifiable. And she may be the most influential person in the life of the next president.

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