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The Mary Cheney business

I really wasn't going to comment on this issue, but it doesn't seem to be going away. When John Edwards brought up the topic during his debate with the vice president, I gave him the benefit of a doubt. It seemed smooth and natural, and somewhat appropriate, given he was engaged in a dialog with Cheney himself.

But after hearing Kerry force it artlessly into last night's debate, I realized I was listening to a Democratic talking point. Did you hear how ill-at-ease Kerry was when he mentioned it? How awkwardly he rushed through and over the word "lesbian," as if embarrassed? As if to say, "God, I can't believe I'm actually doing this?"

It's no coincidence that both candidates brought it up in two separate debates. Kerry does not ad-lib. This smells to me like a calculated, cynical attempt to drive a wedge between Bush-Cheney and socially conservative swing voters in states like Ohio.

As much as the Kerry crowd would like to attribute such opinions to right-wing kookery, I must point out that my liberal Democratic wife reacted to the comment with disgust. Democrat Mickey Kaus didn't seem to like it much either. Nor did the editors of the Washington Post, or these undecided voters profiled in the >New York Times.

Scrappleface, however, has the best take on it:

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."


Couldn't agree more with you on this. I actually felt embarrassed for Kerry when he said this. His (or more likely, his campaign's) intent was to create an issue for Dick Cheney among religious conservatives.

I don't question Kerry's sincerity about his Roman Catholic faith, but I have noticed that left-leaning Christians often have a remarkably prejudiced view of conservative (right-wing) Christians. No doubt someone in the Kerry campaign thought that the Bush/Cheney religious base would be horrified at the prospect of a gay child. Anyone who has any real contact with conservative Christians knows that a fundamental precept of their faith is: "Hate the sin, love the sinner."

I'm not saying that I personally believe homosexuality is a sin. I don't believe that. My point is that few conservative Christians would ever see a father's love for his gay daughter as a character flaw. They saw this for the craven political ploy -- not to mention the inherent insult to people of faith -- that it was.

I think this will come to be seen as a major miscalculation by the Kerry campaign.

Good points, guys.

Let me add a thought which just slowly dawned on me.

We have heard from a number of sources that Kerry is lagging behind Gore as far as locking in the black vote.

Now, you may recall that when the subject of gay marriages is polled, blacks are, by far, the most unified AGAINST the idea.

I will grant this is a stretch but, given the desperation we are starting to see from the Dems, I rule nothing out.

This is an encouraging indication that Americans are not as easy to manipulate as some political operatives might think:

Poll Shows Disapproval of Cheney Daughter Reference

By Richard Morin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 15, 2004; 5:00 PM

The "money quote" (as Andrew Sullivan likes to say): "An overwhelming majority of voters believe it was wrong for Democratic nominee John F. Kerry to have mentioned in Wednesday's presidential debate that Vice President Cheney's daughter was a lesbian..."

Ah, the Collins Echo Syndrome is at work again!

From today's Opinionjournal"

MSNBC.com reports on a new survey of black Americans:

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington-based research group that focuses on issues concerning blacks, found in a poll released Tuesday that Kerry enjoys a 4-1 margin among blacks, down a tad from the backing Al Gore received in 2000.

Bush enjoys stronger support than in 2000 from those age 50 and older and those who consider themselves "Christian conservatives."

That has helped the president narrow the still sizable gap with Kerry among blacks, who preferred the Massachusetts senator over Bush, 69 percent to 18 percent. The group's poll before the 2000 election found Gore with a 74 percent to 9 percent lead over Bush.

The poll results, in PDF form, are here. Eighteen percent support among blacks may not seem like much, but a shift of 9% of the black vote translates into about 1% of the total nationwide vote, which in 2000 would have been enough to give Bush a popular-vote plurality.

[B]Note that the explanation for the shift centers on older black voters and Christian conservatives. Is anyone still obtuse enough to believe it's mere coincidence that Kedwards have been shouting from the rooftops that Dick Cheney has a homosexual in the family?[/B]

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