Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Dick Cheney's Alternate Universe, Part III

(Third in an occasional series)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney says he is angry at Sen. John Kerry for invoking their lesbian daughter during the final presidential debate. Kerry, the Democratic nominee, says he was just trying to say something nice about how the Cheneys have dealt with the issue and meant no offense.

"We're all God's children," Kerry said. "And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."

But the vice president went after Kerry with strong words.

"You saw a man who will do and say anything to get elected," Cheney told a rally in Fort Myers, Fla. "And I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father." He later told a local TV station: "I thought it was totally inappropriate."


And now, we take a closer look at:

Unidentified Ohio Home
Oct. 17, 2004

Lynne: What are you watching, honey?

Dick: Oh, just the news. They're talking about those awful things John Kerry said about Vice President Cheney's daughter.

Lynne: About her being ... a lesbian?

Dick: Yeah. It's just like the Democrats to try to score points over someone's gayishness.

Lynne: Yeah, if the Cheney girl wants to be a ... lesbian, that's her business. She should keep that to herself. The rest of us shouldn't know about it.

Dick: It's not like Vice President Cheney has tried to score points over her gayfullness.

TV (shows clip of Cheney): "Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with."

Lynne: Well, he was probably answering a question. After all, he's proud of his daughter, even if she is a ... lesbian.

Dick: Yeah. Nothing wrong with that. He was being honest. Just like he was being honest when he said how mad he was at Kerry.

TV (showing clip of former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer): Social conservatives like Gary Bauer, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination four years ago, complain that Mr. Cheney's public support for his daughter "demoralizes some sections of the base that they need in an election where we could all be counting chads again."

Lynne: Huh. I wonder if Vice President Cheney got mad at Gary Bauer?

Dick: Maybe he didn't hear Bauer say it.

TV (showing clip of Republican Illinois Senate Candidate Alan Keyes): "The essence of family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principal excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism. ... (That means) Mary Cheney is a selfish hedonist. That goes by definition. Of course she is."

Lynne: Wow. That was pretty strong.

Dick: Well ... the vice president has more important things to do than listen to Alan Keyes. I mean, John Kerry said what he said on national television.

Lynne: You're right, honey. I can't wait to re-elect Bush and Cheney!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

why dont you just admit it was a stupidly calculated political move that backfired, was in poor taste, and now has only led to days of endless attacks about what kind of man Kerry is. This has nothing substantive to do with the election, obviously. But it plays into the "Kerry is an opportunist willing to do or say anything he thinks will score points at any given time" angle. Whether or not idiots like Alan Keyes or others weigh in with opinions on the subject, either now or in the past, is irrelevant. They arent running for president. Simple fact of the matter is that if it wasnt politically motivated (and stupidly so), then Kerry should have made a statement immediately after the debate indicating he meant no offense (as Mike McCurry suggested he do). That is not what happened and even if the republican response of outrage is politically motivated as well---well Kerry made his bed on this issue. Just stupid. Even Hillary Clinton, the dems other star, stated that he shouldnt have said it.

Kerry has run a politically pathetic campaign. For a smart guy, he is a terrible campaigner in my opinion. So many mistakes that could be easily corrected or things he should have seen coming a mile away. Sad. But he still may win simply because Bush, with a well run campaign, just has not done the job well.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it was such a horrible thing to say, why didn't Cheney criticize Edwards for saying the same thing during their debate?

And what Kerry said was relevant. It's not like he brought up Mary Cheney answering a question about Iraq.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, you just cant admit it.....was just a bad move.

doesnt really matter since most people believe it was a bad move. the overwhelming attitude when it happened was shock from all corners. and that was before the media blitz the next day. whatever, its over and done with now. for the record, there were many that thought it was a strange comment in the VP debate as well-myself included. Both were gratuitous and other examples could easily have been used in the Kerry example. In the VP debate, Cheney appeared uncomfortable with it and basically did not answer to it. The Kerry remark was worse since it was not made as "nicely", and was not made to Cheney. Bush was smart not to engage the topic further. The Kerry move was just plain stupid. Doesnt mean Kerry is a bad guy or unfit for president. I am just saying it was a mistake, plain and simple. It amazes me how some cannot just admit it.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think David's point, which I agree with, is that it's inconsistent to trash Kerry, and not Edwards, and to forget about the Republicans saying far stronger things on the same subject.

As for the public's response, are they really responding to what kerry said in the debate, or to their feelings about discussing homosexuality? Or maybe a little of both?

Separately, Media Matters did a lexis/nexis search. Media stories about Kerry outnumbered, by 3 to 1, media stories about Bush lying about not saying (in March 2002) that he was not that concerned about Osama.

Truthfully, which is more important for the average American?

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what was so wrong with Kerry putting a human face on an Bush policy to essentially outlaw homosexuality?
Whether politically motivated or not, Kerry humanized an issue whereas all Bush could do was inarticulately stammer that "he didn't know" if homosexuality was a matter of choice.
It is the Republicans who made this an issue. And as David pointed out they are a bunch of seething hypocrites.
I think an even scarier issue is a recent news report about an election survey of people in Tennessee. Only a third could correctly identify the candidate who wanted to end tax cuts to those making more than $200,000. Similar numbers identified Kerry as the candidate more likely to support the rich.
Folks, these kinds of people represent the majority that will decide the election.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pathetic, absolutely pathetic. If the liberals cannot understand how this type of tactic is simply unseemly, than it goes a long way towards showing what their character is. Why would Cheney respond to a remark from Keyes or Bauer - fringe players in the Republican party? On the other hand, Kerry and Edwards planned to introduce this element into the debate, bringing it up within the first couple of sentences in their responses to questions regarding gay marriage. Cheney appeared to not wish to respond to Edwards comments, and thanked him, and said nothing else. He clearly did not wish to discuss the topic, as was evident to anyone that watched his physical response. As with Edwards, Kerry brought it up immediately, in a gratuitous nature, and in a way that had no bearing to the question at hand. It did not further the debate in any way. Afterwards, their campaign manager said that the VP's daughter was fair game, yet another example of how these were choreographed responses. What if Bush said Edwards' wife is fat? What if Cheney said Kerry's daughter showed her tits at Cannes? The children of the candidates are simply not at issue, and this was a purely politically calcuated comment that flopped.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, did Kerry's daughter show her tits? I think i want to see that.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a) Keyes is not a fringe player. He's the GOP candidate for Senator for Illinois. He's a former presidential candidate, as is Bauer.

b) Cheney is part of the Bush-Cheney re-election team. I'm not saying that makes her fair game, but let's not pretend that she's a seven-year-old.

c) If the issue was off-limits, then Cheney shouldn't have brought it up, and-or should have said to Edwards that he appreciates his comments, but that he really thinks family members should be off limits during the presidential campaign. He didn't.

I think the problem is that conservatives generally consider homosexuality to be something to be embarassed about, or to be ashamed of. Lynne Cheney had trouble admitting during the 2000 campaign that Mary Cheney was out of the closet.

So when Kerry complimented the Cheneys, using Mary as an example of a strong, proud woman who happened to be gay, that was it. A compliment. Cheney, prodded on by the conservative agenda, took it as an insult.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So which is worse. A sympathetic comment about Cheney's lesbian daughter or a complete orchestrated campaign to trash the record of a decorated Vietnam veteran? Not once but twice (Remember John McCain).
It's time to boot this administration out the door with a swift, hearty kick.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.
To the above blogger who wanted to see where he could see Kerry's daughter at Cannes: here is a link:


Now if only someone would come up with photographs of the Bush daughters reportedly attending a "strip and go naked" fraternity drinking party on campus in New Haven.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks-think that link is the single most informative item put out there relating to this ridiculous issue.

This has nothing to do with Keyes, Bauer, conservatives repressed views on homosexuality or the Cheney's individual feelings about it or their daughter.

You are all deluding yourselves if you think someone as carefully choreographed as edwards/kerry did not intend to throw out M Cheneys name in that context. And, no matter how you cut it or no matter how many comparisons you make to other issues, attacks by bush on kerry etc...doesnt change the simple fact it was a mistake and comes across as low class. And I have yet to find one Kerry supporter in my office (chock full of dems) who thinks it was a)smart b) proper or c) defensible. It was a dumb mistake and the second one was not just cutting it off at the pass and saying he didnt mean to offend. As support for the stupidity, look at the maelstrom it has created. And dont tell me that is because of conservative bias in the media etc. Right after it happened, liberals and conservatives alike were surprised by it.

It is a minor thing that the republicans are blowing out of proportion on purpose and why not? this is an election-you do what it takes. It was a stupid move by Kerry, period. And it was no compliment telling BUsh to look at Cheney's daughter as an example of whether gays are born gay.....just not rational to call that a compliment.

In the real universe, people believe that certain lines shouldnt be crossed. Now, you can debate what those lines are and sometimes you dont know until they have been crossed. However, this is not the same as the attacks, distortions about record etc.....that while disgusting and annoying, are directed at the candidates or their administration. But a statement about a sensitive topic about one of the candidate's kids, no matter what age, just seems downright wrong. And despite this blog, most of America sees it that way.

Time to wake up, move past this stupid issue, and discuss the election that will probably not be decided Nov 2.

PS: just got back from the dentist and the woman who handles insurance (or attempts to) laughed when i made an appt for Nov 3. She said, hopefully we have a real president by then. I said, what do we have now? SHe said a puppet. I said he may look like one but who holds the strings. She said Saudi Arabia and Haliburton. I said so therefore the CEO of Haliburton is truly the leader of the free world. SHe said, this is not a free world and we arent even free anymore here--there is no constitution anymore. She said if Bush wins, she is moving somewhere else to be free. I started to ask where (thinking Saudi Arabia may be nice in the winter) but held back and just left it with "well, good luck then-maybe my insurance problems with this office will then be settled."

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right after it, liberals and conservatives were aghast?

I heard it mentioned once in post-debate coverage, on ABC, and it wasn't portrayed negatively. I didn't hear any of the Bush spinners pointing it out on MSNBC or CNN, didn't hear Fox talk about it, etc.

(If you know of an example, please correct me).

I think the issue became an issue when Cheney and his wife made it an issue -- a day after the debate. After they had regrouped. After they had decided they could score political points. After they recognized that 44 million people watched part of the debate, but that maybe 60 million voters didn't, and they could characterize John Kerry's comments any way they wanted.

This is the same tactic that Bush-Cheney 04 has taken on Kerry's health care plan (mentioning "rationing" in commercials and campaign stops), Iraq (calling it a plan to retreat, distorting Kerry's views on when troops could be removed), Al Qaeda (Bush lying about not saying in March of 2002 that he wasn't that concerned, then hyping that concern before campaign crowds), etc.

Talk about cold and calculated? You're not talking about Kerry-Edwards. You're talking about Bush-Cheney.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the above blogger. Right on! Amen!
No discussion of this lesbian issue should be allowed to take place without putting it into the proper context of Bush/Cheney tactics and distortions.
Here is the problem. The media will hone in on a single ridiculous gaffe like the gay comment, which was actually manufactured into a successful issue by Cheney, while overlooking the far broader, more critical picture where people should be focusing their attention.
These include the Swift Boat Veteran's fraudulent campaign to deconstruct Kerry and Bush lying about his "not concerned" with Osama Bin Laden comment. Here Bush lied. It was not a case of defending a distortion or having taken something out of context. In a public forum, our president outright lied.
Oh yes, but it wasn't about a BJ in the Oval Office so it's of no relevance.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction: was mentioned on at least three stations, fox definitely, msnbc and abc. and i think tom brokaw talked about it too. and later that night, on CNN as well. I happened to be watching the late night coverage for this one in detail since i watched the debate intermittently.(but later saw it on replay). Someone on the C Matthews panel suggested it probably would be best if Kerry just corrected himself on that-even that night-and others indicated he should but wont. On CNN, the reporter from the Spin room indicated that there was a hush from both sides when it was said during the debates. On another channel, I recall someone indicating some of the dem consultants wanted to know which staffer suggested putting that in. and then they all reported on lynn cheney being upset right after the debate.

No, it was not the number one story from the debate that night as it should not be. (I realize it became that the next day and i actually give credit to the calculating republicans on this one and think less of the dems since they could have avoided what was obviously coming with a simple statement to the press). To suggest it was not mentioned is not true. Each media station mentioned it was unusual, bizarre, stange, uncalled for and wondered whether it was planned or not.

I was not suggesting that choreographed meant something negative. What I meant is that both campaigns are "calculated" as you put it....as you would expect when running for election. My point is that it is hard to believe it was accidental in both debates based on this.

My point is simple here: this should not be a big issue as its almost comical... Kerry clearly is for gay rights more so than Bush. So, an insensitive remark about the candidate's daughter could have been rectified by Kerry himself simply by saying he meant no offense -immediately after the debate. But no, he wouldnt do that and then let the republicans define it using the media the next day(s). This is a recurring theme for Kerry-- in any event, i just want some far left liberals on this site to just admit it was a stupid or intentional (not sure which) mistake, both in doing it and handling it. I am not suggesting this reflects on Kerry as a human being or a candidate because it doesnt. I am calling it a political mistake and i cannot believe that many on this site are so blinded by their views overall that they cannot admit it was a mistake. Its not like we dont all agree on and have listed a myriad of Bush's mistakes. It would just serve the discussion far better if we played even handed and called this for what it was.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the above blogger.
I am not willing to admit Kerry's made a mistake for humanizing an issue.
Whether or not his comment was intentional, whether or not he has lost political points, Kerry brought an issue up close and personal.
He told the world that the Bush/Republicans need to stop and take a minute to recognize their wide anti-Gay campaign targets one of their own.
I don't think it was political spin. It was Kerry talking from his heart and from his brain.
And for all the ballyhoo, you can also still find many people who share in my view.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the problem is whether a) someone thinks Kerry dropped the name for political points, and b) whether the political point was to solidify his standing among gays and lesbians, or to scare off religious right types who didn't know Mary Cheney was gay.

I think the problem wasn't so much that Kerry brought it up -- following Edwards' lead -- but that the conservatives saw what Kerry said as being "lewd," "tawdry" or insulting.

Look at what Kerry said: "We're all God's children. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."

Is Kerry trying to score political points, or merely pointing that you can be gay and conservative, but that still makes you a human being who should be loved and respected?

I think most liberals would argue the latter. The Cheneys are obviously promoting the former.

But when Cheney says he's an "angry father," and the crowd cheers, what is actually being said? Is Cheney saying he's angry Kerry pointed out something ... truthful? Embarrassing? Better left unsaid? Like someone pointed out before, Mary Cheney isn't seven. She's an adult, a part of the Bush-Cheney campaign team, and out of the closet.

What was the crowd cheering? Cheney's anger? Their desire not to note a gay conservative (i.e. that Kerry was inaccurate to say it)?

There's a lot of psychology at stake here, depending on your political views, and your opinion on gays and lesbians.

And just because pundits are aghast doesn't mean much. You have conservative pundits on most of the major networks. The fact that Joe Scaraborough or Tucker Carlson is aghast isn't really saying much. It's almost rote -- anything Kerry says can potentially be torn apart by a conservative pundit.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider this, from mediamatters.org:

Frequent FOX News Channel guest Kellyanne Conway, president and CEO of The Polling Company, compared Senator John Kerry's reference to Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary Cheney, as a lesbian to "someone" saying, "'Your daughter is a slut.'"

Conway made the statement on FOX News Channel's Fox & Friends on October 16.

Now, if this is the message that gets out there -- from the conservative wing -- how do you expect people to react?

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

heart yes, brain no. when in a political battle, you dont do anything to lose points with the public unless it is either 1) your strong belief on something unpopular or 2) brings you benefits in some other way.

He could have used a different example.

Your unwillingess to simply admit a mistake was made diminishes the entire discussion. Let's hope John Kerry gets more people to vote for him than this group of people who you say share your view on this subject.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is insanity already. dont know kellyanne whomever but i didnt realize she had replaced Bush as the voice of the republican party. For the record i dont agree with what she said.

Also for the record, i dont listen to nor care to listen to joe scarborough or tucker carleson and i was not talking about conservative pundits BUT rather virtually everyone the night of the debate.

I am not writing any longer on this issue because i find it disingenous that people here cannot admit a simple mistake was made. Basically, I would bet my salary that there are far more registered democrats that would, if asked(after the election since now everyone is blinded by ideology), agree that the comment was a mistake.

I have a novel idea---- i believe it is possible to be a democrat, vote for Kerry, think he is a solid candidate for president and still think he makes mistakes, one of which was the lesbian comment and his handling of the fallout thereafter. i also believe it is possible to think GWB is not evil, cares about the country and still vote against him. it is also possible to believe that, while there is clear spin everywhere (in the media, on this blog etc.), there is no massive conspiracy to defraud the public, manipulate or brainwash minds.....

Come to think of it, I may be such a person.

The discourse on this subject is starting to make it appear that this site has become Crossfire without Tucker Carelson or Colmes without Hannity. Scary. I hate those shows since they are irrational on both sides. The fact that I have to take up the "other side" here scares me. I say that because in familiar terms "I am no Sean Hannity". Far from it.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on now, do you really think a significant number of people are going to factor in Kerry's lesbian comment in making their decision?
If Kerry blundered, perhaps Cheney and the media blundered in thinking the public they represent could be moved to the Right by this issue?
Now check out that link...sexy!

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the republicans know noone will be moved by the ruckus. but it taks the focus off of other issues, like the economy and iraq. Kerry played into their hands on this. Could have diffused it with a statement right away and then told his people to shut up.

This issue is of no substantive importance, period.

By the way, the same goes for the Bush comment about UBL. Noone honestly believes bush doesnt want to get him. Yes, he lied - some how he forgot he said what he said. I remember when Bush said it and the context and this is a non issue. All spin but again, i dont blame the dems for using it because Bush was stupid to say what he said in the debate.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree that a majority of Democrates, and even undecideds, would think Kerry's lesbian comment inappropriate.
My guessetimate would be that only a third of Democrates were shaken and none would be moved to the right because of this issue.
You may know of a small group of Democrates who are losing sleep over this. But as far as I can tell the only ones raising significant smoke are Bushies, Cheneyies and conservative media talking empty heads.
I pity anyone actually gullible enough to succomb to FoxNews style bullsh... described above, that Kerry really said Cheney's daughter is a slut, etc. etc.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this is important.
I completely disagree with the above blogger that Bush's comment about Osama Bin Laden is a non-significant issue on the level with the Lesbian comment from Kerry. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Bush's Osama Bin Laden displayed a pattern of Bush statements and policies that he had put the guy who attacked us on 9-11 on a backburner to the non-threat of Iraq and Sadaam. Bush's comment exemplified one piece in a pattern of conduct.
Now did Kerry's comment about Cheney's daughter similarilly show a pattern of conduct from Kerry that he was insensitive to children of top Republicans? No it did not.
The above blogger has attempted a faulty comparison indeed.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it entirely impossible to believe that Bush "forgot" making that earlier comment about Osama. Balderdash! It was a highlight of Michael Moore's film released several months ago and that is why I wasn't surprised to hear Kerry reference it.
Yeah, yeah I know Moore is a lunatic; he has no credibility. But he had Bush filmed making the same comment about his lack of concern for Osama in Fahrenheit 9-11.
I know Bush likely took pains to avoid the film and any discussion about it. You can almost envision him not hearing about the film in the same vaccuum that allowed him to avoid hearing of the reality of Iraq.
But you're not going to tell me that still the embarrassing gaffe caught live on tape in Moore's widely viewed and discussed film was not brought to Bush's attention on repeated occasions.
Bush forgot? I don't think so.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Bush's comment about Kerry EX-AGG-ER-A-TING (and he sounded like Mr. Rogers saying that big word) was simple: 50 mlllion people would watch Bush saying of course he's concerned about Osama. A fraction of those people will watch or read the post-debate commentary.

It's a calculated political gamble. But isn't that what the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign is all about? They want to keep undecideds at home because their support has flatlined at 47%. Bush and Cheney lie at the debates because they know that more people will hear them than the fact-checkers.

And yes, to a lesser extent, Kerry and Edwards are guilty of the same. But Bush and Cheney have taken half-truths to new heights.

10:45 AM  

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