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10/16/2004
CATEGORY: General

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

By: Rick Moran at 4:11 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

CHEAP TRICK IS NOT A ROCK GROUP
CATEGORY: General

“John Kerry is not a good man.”

Lynne Cheney, in one of the few unscripted moments of this campaign, said what tens of millions of Americans had suspected about John Kerry but were hesitant to believe.

After months of linguistic gymnastics on Iraq, twisting and turning on the issue until he ended up resembling one of those soft pretzels you can buy on the street corner (with or without mustard), Kerry has proven once again that he’ll say anything to get elected.

Now we’re not babes in the woods here. We all know politicians will say many things that aren’t necessarily true, but are appealing to one group or another. Republicans do it. Democrats do it. “A chicken in every pot!” “Remember the Maine!” “Making the world safe for democracy!”

But John Kerry wasn’t trying to appeal to anyone for votes. In what may be the most cynical campaign ploy in the history of modern presidential politics, John Kerry, John Edwards, and Mary Beth Cahill were actually attempting to discourage people from voting.

By bringing up Mary Cheney’s sexual orientation, in what any rational observer would have to say was a coordinated campaign tactic, the Kerry smear machine was hoping to depress the turnout of evangelical Christians in key battleground states where just a few thousand people staying home on election day would tip the contest Kerry’s way. The rationale being that many of these voters are casual observers of the political scene at best and would recoil in horror upon learning that the Vice President had a lesbian daughter.

How do we know this was a campaign tactic? In the hundreds of speeches given by both Edwards and Kerry on the campaign trail, nary a word was spoken about Mary Cheney. It wasn’t until the debates-first the Vice Presidential debate and then the final debate between the President and Mr. Kerry-when 50 million people were watching (including the more casually observing evangelical Christians) that Kerry and Edwards found it necessary to mention the sexual preferences of the Vice President’s daughter.

The final act of this political Kabuki dance was Mary Beth Cahill’s extraordinary claim that Mary Cheney was “fair game” in the campaign. And just for good measure, Elizabeth Edwards, sounding like the nosy neighbor next door who spreads all the malicious gossip you love to hear but makes you feel like taking a shower after visiting with, cattily said that Mrs. Cheney was probably “ashamed” of her daughter’s sexual orientation, which explained her comments about John Kerry.

What kind of hole has the Kerry campaign dug for itself? It goes without saying that most of the gay rights organizations and mainstream media outlets have rushed to Kerry’s defense. Hilary Rosen wrote a column in the Washington Post saying that Republican outrage “Rings False.” She compares what Kerry said to the battle over Bush administration efforts to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

“All of the Cheneys have sat back as senators and members of Congress who stood up for their position against the constitutional amendment were attacked in campaigns across the country. In Texas, North Dakota, South Carolina, Oklahoma, North Carolina and elsewhere, Republican candidates are using the gay issue against Democrats who have done nothing more than vote to protect the notion of fairness and equality in our Constitution.”

“Where is the outrage of Dick and Lynne Cheney over this?”


There’s no outrage, Ms. Rosen, because the President sincerely believes that the constitutional amendment is necessary. Despite your protestations, the President is NOT using the gay marriage issue in an unfair way. Politicians are held accountable to their constituents for the votes they cast. If the voters disagree with that politician on a vote he’s cast or a position he’s taken, they have every right to vote against them.

It’s what we call “democracy.”

Given this kind of rabid defense of the Kerry campaign, it came as a huge surprise that in a Washington Post Poll, 64% of respondents thought that the remark was uncalled for. Kerry has issued a statement trying to explain that he was trying to say something positive about “strong families.” Nobody’s buying it. And it may be too late now for any kind of an apology. Such a mea culpa would ring hollow given the time elapsed since the debate.

As for lasting damage, early indications are that possibly, maybe, Bush has begun a surge. Daily tracking polls (except the Washington Post) indicate the President has opened a slight lead. My feeling is that Bush would be surging with or without this cause celebre. His performance in the last debate plus a trickle of good news from Iraq and the elections in Afghanistan have combined to solidify his base and move some independents his way.

In a contest where momentum is everything, the Mary Cheney flap has given impetus to the Bush campaign while throwing a monkey wrench in Kerry’s political machine.

It may be too late for Kerry to recover.






By: Rick Moran at 3:44 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

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