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The Cheney Daughter Thing

(began as a comment over at Dean’s World, but there was some other stuff I wanted to say that would have gotten the comment yanked, so I’m dumping it all here)

If any member of the Bush/Cheney campaign said that Kerry’s claims of being a Roman Catholic are a sham, put the annulment of his first marriage on the table, pointed at his two daughters and asked, “Where do they stand in the eyes of the Church?” all the people defending dragging Cheney’s daughter into the campaign rhetoric would be horrified. If President Bush had cut off one of Kerry bloviations about his Catholic faith during the debates by saying, “I thought Catholics don’t believe in divorce. How’d you manage that?” they’d have lost their minds and begun sputtering and wheeling out bishops to obfuscate the nitty gritty of canonical law in regards to annulment.

All the practicing Catholics I know would sit up and say, “Yeah. Explain that one, Mr. Alter Boy. How much did that bishop cost to turn your daughters into illegitimate offspring bastards?” Because they well know Kerry is no member of the Roman Catholic faith, just another rich Brahmin that his local diocese had no problem accomodating for a sizable donation. It’s another in a long line of lies he used to expedite his ascension in the Massachusetts political firmament; another way to hook his wagon to the Kennedy family’s warhorse, just like faking his Irish roots. Hell, the Kennedy’s have made politically convenient annulments a family tradition.

Kerry/Edwards put Cheney’s daughter on the table both to paint Bush/Cheney as hypocrites about the gay marriage ban and to remind homophobic right wing fundamentalists that Cheney has “one of them” living under his roof, an effort to erode what they considered part of the Republican voter base that could be easily swayed: rednecked bible-thumping bigots. Their defenders see nothing wrong with the first option, and (some not so) quietly hoped for the second because, after all, isn’t that what those people are all about? They’re just ignorant homophobes, don’tcha know. They’ll stay home before ever voting for anyone with one of them in their family.

Kerry’s backpedaling (sans apology) (audio “Do you regret what you said about Cheney’s daughter?” here) now that the gambit is blowing up in his face is not going to work. Edwards threw Mary Cheney’s sexual preference on the table in the VP debate, just like his partner, in a response that had nothing to do with anything remotely resembling the question at hand (Kerry Spot rules!). Cheney didn’t take the bait. When Edwards’s wife weighed in with her obnoxious comments following Lynne Cheney’s rebuke of Kerry, for using her daughter as a pawn to score political points, it showed me that the whole thing was planned. Cheney had given her husband a pass when he took the shot. We haven’t heard jack from her up to now; why did that miserable woman feel the need to weigh in?

The campaign had decided to use Cheney’s lesbian daughter to subtly bash the Bush/Cheney campaign. But Team Nuance doesn’t do subtle well, and their tactic has managed to rile up a lot more folks than the just the bible thumpers, but not in the way they had planned. If Mary Cheney was hidden away in a Wyoming cabin, a cypher to the American public, the move might have worked. But the Cheney’s have never hidden their family dynamics, and, more importantly, she wasn’t running for anything, merely helping her father’s campaign behind the scenes. And then that imbecilic campaign manager of Kerry’s called her “fair game.”

The American public immediately recognized the setup, and were revolted. Kerry/Edwards pulled a form of political “gay baiting” (or “gay bashing,” you decide), in the hopes of riling up what they presumed to be the mindless rubes at the Republican base. And the ploy turned around and kicked them in the head. Anybody who tries to spin this any other way, especially that more and more irrelevent turncoat queen Sullivan, are idiots. Or Kos.

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