Thursday, October 14

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary - I think there's only one thing left to conclude about the repeated outing of Mary Cheney in the political debates: that it is a very calculated maneuver on the part of the Kerry campaign. But that begs the question: to what purpose?

I doubt it's just to piss off Lynne, though it clearly has irked the White House. I also reject the the HRC's spin that the Dems are "speaking to millions of American families who, like the Cheneys, have gay friends and family members." No, the true message can only be decoded by the bigot brigade. Right-wing Christians are a group that Bush absolutely cannot win this 50-50 election without. They must show up at swing-state polls in droves for the President to succeed. And what Edwards and now Kerry are implicitly telling them is this: "It's not worth it. Bush (or his key advisors at least) won't fight for you. They're secret homo lovers who ultimately will bail on you and your precious Federal Marriage Amendment. Sorry, but they will never hate gays the way you do." Most conservative commentators view the Kedwards strategy similarly.

Ironically, this is the same argument that gay Republicans had been making all along, they just never found a way to bring the reality home so profoundly. (And a dialogue with their blood enemies in the evangelical community was the last thing they want.) Who knows if it will work? I advise closely watching how the leaders of the bigot brigade respond to the debates and listening for any slack in their enthusiasm for getting out the Bush vote.

Update: Man, the blogosphere and the insta-media are buzzing over this one. Thanks to BfT for linking. A lot of people are citing (as Ben did, in the comments) Drew's argument that only people who feel that being gay is shameful would find fault with Kerry's statements. (Should we be surprised that a lot of those people are Bush supporters?) Elizabeth Edwards brings the point home to Lynne Cheney:

She's overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs… I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences… It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response.

Hat tip to Byron L. I stand by my observation that there's some deliberate strategy to the repetition of the "Cheney's daughter" mantra. Maybe not the one I suggested, but if so, I find it to be an intriguing attempt to make Bush's use of gay marriage as a "wedge issue" backfire on him. As for "outrage" and counter-accusations of "shame," I really couldn't care less -- other than to say it leaves the impression to the neutral observer that Kedwards scored a hit.