I caught the tail end of the debates last night on an airport TV screen, trying to discern the political orientations of those around me from their facial expressions. Everyone just looked mad.
From what I could tell, the big gaffe out of the debate was forecasted to be Bush’s “I never said I wasn’t worried about Osama” line, which pundits predicted would drench the airwaves tomorrow, juxtaposed with some video of that one time he said he wasn’t worried about Osama.
Wrong. The Fran-Drescher-esque drones of CNN Headline News today focused their incessant banter on a different “story” out of yesterday’s debate — Kerry had the utter gall to identify Dick Cheney’s daughter as a lesbian.
It’s not that Kerry just blurted this out of the blue; he’d been asked whether he thought homosexuality was a choice. This was his response:
We’re all God’s children, Bob. 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.
It’s not that Mary Cheney isn’t out and proud.
It’s not that Kerry’s answer contained even a tinge of disrespect for Mary Cheney.
It’s that a savvy Bush campaign adviser realized that the Osama thing was going to be all over the news today and selected his own brilliant little dodge. The entire Cheney family (except for Mary) was out in full force today, shocked, SHOCKED!! that Kerry could have mentioned their daughter to “score political points.”
I did have a chance to assess John Kerry once more. And the only thing I could conclude is this is not a good man. This is not a good man. And, of course, I am speaking as a mom and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick.
You saw a man who will say and do anything in order to get elected. And I am not speaking just as a father here, though I am a pretty angry father. But I’m also speaking as a citizen.
Even other-daughter Liz was trotted out on Paula Zahn to share her family’s suffering, poor wounded lamb.
Feel free to look at Kerry’s statement one more time.
The media bought this???! News directors/editors everywhere actually swallowed the notion that a campaign run by Karl “No Smear’s Too Queer” Rove was outraged that an opposing candidate had affirmingly mentioned the sexuality of a profoundly public lesbian?? We’ve lost our marbles.
The only logical way to interpret Kerry’s statement as any sort of a swipe at Mary Cheney is to grant that homosexuality is tainted. Andrew Sullivan can take it from there.
Color me disgusted. Not at the Bush/Cheney campaign — all’s fair in love and politics — but at the journalists who swallowed, digested, and shat this sham into our diet of news.