October 14, 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen . . .

Scott Ott, for your dining and dancing pleasure:

Kerry Sorry for Remark About Cheney's Lesbian Child

(2004-10-14) -- John Forbes Kerry, father of two heterosexual daughters, today apologized for referring to the sexual preference of Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter during last night's final presidential debate.

"There's nothing wrong with being one of God's homosexual children," said Mr. Kerry, an openly-heterosexual veteran of foreign war who is also a U.S. Senator, "And far be it from me to pry into the private life of Mr. Cheney's lesbian child, who is gay and a homosexual. People can't choose whom they will love, and so I should not have mentioned that his daughter is a lesbian person, and not a heterosexual, but in fact a gay homosexual woman who is a lesbian with the last name Cheney."

Read the whole thing, before Kerry feels the wrath of Lynne Cheney, and the disgust of moderate voters, who generally see through these types of shenanigans.

This guy won't be electable as dogcatcher after this.

Posted by Attila at October 14, 2004 05:05 PM
Comments

LMA-

Good to see you stepping up and recognizing a horrible personal attack like Kerry made. Oh wait... except it wasn't an attack in content or tone. Mary Cheney hasn't said word one about whether she is offended or not, and she's the one who should count. Mary Cheney is an activist for gay rights and an adult -- not some public-shy 14 year old. At this point, all they are guilty of is bad form.

The "shock" from the Cheney's strikes me as exaggerated or implying that there is some shame in their daughter's sexuality. There was nothing negative about Mary Cheney in what Kerry said.

- DNE

Posted by: DNE at October 14, 2004 09:57 PM


There were plenty of people in his own life he could have used as examples of lesbian/gay citizens--and he also could have left the discussion abstract. To decide that you need an example of a gay person, and then use one from the opposition camp, is simply bizarre.

Edwards had already brought up the subject of Mary Cheney in the VP debate, in a much more appropriate context. For Kerry to try to shoehorn a second mention of her into his response indicates that he was Trying Too Hard.

So, why? Why did the Kerry-Edwards people insist on discussing Mary Cheney in two consecutive debates?

Because they were hoping to drive a wedge between Bush and some of the religious people in his base. Because they perceive us to be homophobes, being bigots themselves.

Seen in this light, the remark was an instance of using the Vice President's daughter as a political pawn, and it was an attempt to queer-bait the GOP.

The Cheneys aren't "shocked." They are angry. Anyone would be angry at seeing someone use his/her daughter as a political tool.

This is going to backfire big-time.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 14, 2004 11:07 PM


See, I don't think that was the intention at all. Steve Gunderson, former Republican congressman, who happens to be gay, called Kerry's comments 'absolutely appropriate'. Dick Gephardt said the same thing. The Cheney's said nothing publically about Alan Keyes calling Mary Cheney a 'selfish hedonist'. No angry comments about that?

If Kerry was trying to drive a political wedge, I think it's much less liekly that he was trying to alienate the conservative base (they're not going to vote for him any way) than that he was trying to highlight the contrast between the strong anti-gay politics the Bush/Cheney put forth and the reality they live.

Aren't you much more offended by the notion that Bush thinks that homosexuality is a choice?

Posted by: dne at October 15, 2004 09:50 AM


See, I don't think that was the intention at all. Steve Gunderson, former Republican congressman, who happens to be gay, called Kerry's comments 'absolutely appropriate'. Dick Gephardt said the same thing. The Cheney's said nothing publically about Alan Keyes calling Mary Cheney a 'selfish hedonist'. No angry comments about that?

Here are a few more gay republican perspectives for you:

1) BoifromTroy:

Imagine if John Kemp, circa 1996, said, "And I think if you were to talk to Bill Clinton's daughter, who is one ugly girl, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as." There would be outrage.

What if Geraldine Ferraro said, "And I think if you were to talk to Ronald Reagan's son, who is a ballet dancer, he would tell you that he's being who he was, he's being who he was born as." Unacceptable.

Then again, if Mike Dukakis had said, "And I think if you were to talk to George Bush's son, who is a former coke addict and an alcoholic, he would tell you that he's being who he was, he's being who he was born as," you still would have been offended, at the time.

So why is Mary Cheney fair game all of a sudden in a world where Presidential families have been generally left off-the-table? Surrogates may ridicule them, but they rarely become debating arguments.

I don't know whether Mary Cheney believes homosexuality is a choice, and I would bet John Kerry has not asked her.

There are plenty of other homosexuals out there which John Kerry could have cited as an example--Barney Frank, Jim Kolbe (who was from Arizona), Tammy Baldwin, from the swing state of Wisconsin. So why single out the Vice President's daughter?

Why indeed? Because Kerry was gay-baiting in an attempt to peel some Religious Right votes away from the President.

2) Gay Patriot adds:

Wouldn't be ironic and quite delicious if the disrespect that Kerry and Edwards both showed to Mary Cheney and the belittling of her family's love and personal acceptance becomes the final nail in the Democrats' shrill coffin of the 2004 campaign?

Yes, VOTE WITH MARY CHENEY. The gay activists can't get away with both using her as a symbol of progress, yet shunning her for her individuality! She is an out lesbian with a female partner who is voting for her father's and President Bush's re-election.

And most significantly, the slimy attacks on her by both Democratic nominees have had a curious impact: those most enraged and ralling to a lesbian's defense are those from the conservative/religious side of the Republican Party.

As for the issue of Alan Keyes, he was treated as the wingnut he is. The Bush-Cheney campaign issued a statement that his remarks were inappropriate, and he was virtually ignored. Mary Cheney's mother and sister were asked about Keyes's slam, and Liz Cheney remarked, "I'm surprised, frankly, that you would repeat the quote, and I'm not going to dignify it with a comment." (See this article in the Washington Blade.)

If Kerry was trying to drive a political wedge, I think it's much less liekly that he was trying to alienate the conservative base (they're not going to vote for him any way) than that he was trying to highlight the contrast between the strong anti-gay politics the Bush/Cheney put forth and the reality they live.

I'm not so sure most traditionally conservative voters are voting for Bush; a lot of people are upset about his liberalism, especially on immigration issues—along with the growing deficit. Bush, unlike Reagan, is not a staunch conservative. If it weren't for his handling of the War on Terror, the base wouldn't be energized at all.

I'm not sure I see what you are describing as "strong anti-gay politics." Are you referring to the FMA, which was a dead letter to begin with?

And I don't see what the "contrast" is between what B/C say and the way they live. The President made a half-hearted attempt to stop gay marriage—which, even if he had really meant it, is different from being anti-gay—and the VP would like to see the states determine how marriage is going to shake out.

Aren't you much more offended by the notion that Bush thinks that homosexuality is a choice?

When has he said that? He certainly declined to say such a thing during the debate.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 15, 2004 01:06 PM


The argument that Kerry was trying to peel away religious right votes holds no water. Immediately after the Cheney reference, Kerry proceeded to lay out what that same group would consider a pro-gay agenda. It makes no sense tactically or strategically. Whereas showing the hypocrisy of the president's position does (albeit, in retrospect, this has clearly played out to Kerry's detriment).
But, without exception, the gays & lesbians I have spoken to did not perceive it as gay-baiting of any sort.
If anything, Kerry is guilty of bad form with some people, because one 'simply doesn't discuss such things in public'.

And Bush made a 'half-hearted' attempt on the FMA? Bush is either anti-gay, or a hypocrite on the subject, and his 'I don't know' answer to the question "Is homosexuality a choice?" is either a) an honest answer, but one that implies significant anti-homosexuality (and a huge degree of ignorance), b) a moderate answer and he's strongly anti-gay [I doubt this], or c) a huge pander to the religious right/hard conservatives, he is really secretly tolerant, non-judgmental, and accepting of all of our gay brethern. And if the answer is 'C', I'm especially disgusted by his choice when he could actually make a difference how some people perceive this issue.
- DNE

Posted by: dne at October 18, 2004 03:08 PM


The argument that Kerry was trying to depress the religious-right vote is not the same as saying he wanted those votes for himself, which isn't realistic. But I think he'd like some of those people to stay home. I don't, by the way, think this was Kerry's idea, and that's why he was so clumsy about it. I believe it was Edwards' idea: when he and Kerry were rivals, his side handed out flyers highlighting Kerry's Catholic background, and distributed them at certain fundamentalist churches and events. This is how Edwards plays the game, and it's pretty distasteful.

I don't see the President as a hypocrite, but certainly that's a matter of opinion. And central to that analysis is the question of how important one actually sees marriage to be. I'd like to see gay marriage, but I think I could live with civil unions, provided they carried full Federal benefits, which is one of the problems we're having now. And, like Dick Cheney, I feel that the correct place to experiment with all the issues surrounding gay marriage (or, in some cases, civil unions) is in the states. That way we can work out all the legal bugs (and there are a few, particularly WRT custody questions).

I'll concede that if I ever thought the FMA had a chance of passing, I would have been furious. As it was, I found it somewhat distasteful.

Look. We're going to have gay marriage. The questions are 1) when, and 2) will there be a transitional phase involving civil unions, and 3) will we all eventually have civil unions, with marriage being a personal/religious label that's up to the individuals and their clergy to adopt? (My favorite solution: the State should be as un-involved in this as possible.)

What percentage of your G/L friends who didn't perceive Kerry to be gay-baiting are Democrats? Just askin'.

And, let's be honest: sometimes homosexuality is a choice, especially for women. Human sexuality is pretty plastic (again, especially for females), and a lot of people are born bi, and influenced by their socialization to make whichever choice is handier. We don't really know what the factors are that determine the part that's intrinsic. So I don't think your a, b, or c choices above are necessarily applicable: I think Bush was saying what a lot of people might say who are keeping track of the science and know that we haven't yet identified a "gay gene." We don't yet have a fix on this. And as a practical matter, who cares?

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 18, 2004 04:33 PM


Well, I still don't see it the same way you do, but I do agree that Edwards is much more questionable on the homosexuality issue -- he clearly is uncomfortable with the subject, if not anti-gay entirely. I do think you've gone overboard with your vitriol toward Elizabeth Edwards, for whatever that's worth.

And, yes, there are some people for whom homosexuality is a choice, but it isn't in the larger sense of the question "Is homosexuality a choice?"
The reason the question matters is that the religious objection to homosexuality (i.e., that it is sin, etc.) is largely undercut if gays are born ("created") that way.

Posted by: dne at October 18, 2004 10:01 PM


I do think you've gone overboard with your vitriol toward Elizabeth Edwards, for whatever that's worth.

I figured. Yet twice in two days the Kerry-Edwards camp presumed to declare what they thought a member of the Cheney camp thought--and Elizabeth Edwards imputed "shame" regarding her daughter to the Vice President's wife. Not nice. Not nice at all.

And, yes, there are some people for whom homosexuality is a choice, but it isn't in the larger sense of the question "Is homosexuality a choice?" The reason the question matters is that the religious objection to homosexuality (i.e., that it is sin, etc.) is largely undercut if gays are born ("created") that way.

I understand the political underpinnings of the issue, but I don't think that's any reason to shove truth aside, particularly since the "religious right" isn't going to win in this issue--not in the long term. The fact that you concede homosexuality is sometimes a choice is significant, and you actually wrote:

And, yes, there are some people for whom homosexuality is a choice, but it isn't in the larger sense of the question "Is homosexuality a choice?"

Now isn't that a little semantic? It's as if you want to say sometimes it's a choice, in private, but we must only whisper that, because to admit it out loud is too dangerous. And DNE will admit that it can be a choice, but the President is a bad guy for saying he doesn't know whether it is. Bad President! Bad!

It's hard not to feel that your logic is getting twisted into pretzels, here.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 19, 2004 02:17 PM




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