The unholy alliance between thinking Republicans and Baueresque fanatics has never been more difficult to watch.
First, a quick look back at an exchange during the Veep debate.
Edwards: “Let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can’t have anything but respect for the fact that they’re willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It’s a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.”
Cheney: “Well, Gwen, let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that very much.”
Now let’s fast forward to this week when the not so compassionate wing of the GOP is up in arms about the fact that Kerry mentioned Mary.
Gary Bauer sums things up:
“I think it is part of a strategy to suppress traditional-values voters, to knock 1 or 2 percent off in some rural areas by causing people to turn on the president.”
Is the Vice President really going to let Gary Bauer talk that way about his daughter?
Nothing Kerry has said during the entire campaign is as offensive as this statement by Gary Bauer.
First, Gary Bauer is calling rural voters idiots. There is no other way to read this.
Second, what is Bauer saying about Mary Cheney here? That her existence is so damning that “traditional voters” will turn on her father’s re-election bid? Maybe a public stoning would be enough to turn back the tide?
Third, those rural voters already know that Mary Cheney is a lesbian. Why would one more mention make any difference? They get it. And they know they can depend on this administration to sell out their own families to pander to the religious right. So why worry?
Fourth, just look at Gary Bauer. This kind of wanton homophobia does not come naturally.
Fifth, there is a strategy at work here. But it’s not being employed by the Kerry team. The strategy is to shift attention away from Iraq and the Bush performance in the debates and onto an easier topic to discuss and one that can actually bring out the base on November 2. And that strategy seems, to some extent, to be working.
It just so happens that it’s working at the expense of Mary Cheney.