Mary Cheney, political football

Thomas Veil

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Feb 14, 2004
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Well, the "controversy" over Kerry's remark about Mary Cheney has turned into something of a story.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife say they are angry at Sen. John Kerry for invoking their lesbian daughter during the final presidential debate....

Temperatures have risen sharply since the vice presidential debate, just last week, when Democrat Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, Kerry's running mate, mentioned Mary Cheney and the Republican vice president thanked him for his "kind words."

This time, a back-and-forth ensued that had the vice president's wife, Lynne Cheney, accusing Kerry of a "cheap and tawdry political trick" and Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Kerry's running mate, suggesting Mrs. Cheney was ashamed of her daughter....

Kerry's defenders said he was well within bounds, particularly given that Cheney has also talked about his daughter when discussing gay issues.

But both the vice president and his wife 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, Florida. "And I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father."
Is this political posturing by Mr. & Mrs. Cheney? Given Cheney's reaction to the same subject during the VP debate, I have to think so. And if that's the case, then exactly who is exploiting Mary Cheney...John Kerry, or her own mother and father?

Incidentally, I talked with a few co-workers about this thing, and they got the same impression Elizabeth Edwards had...that Mrs. Cheney in particular might be ashamed of her daughter.
 

wordmunger

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Sep 3, 2003
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Yes, as director of vice-presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney campaign, I'm sure Mary Cheney feels like a neglected pawn in this whole tawdry affair. When she chose to represent her father in his campaign for re-election, she must have had no idea that her open gayness would be mentioned by his opponents.

By actively engaging in this campaign, and by openly admitting she is gay, she has become a mere pawn, powerless to do anything but stand by the sidelines as she directs her father's campaign.
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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Couple thoughts. I don't think Kerry's remarks were anything over the top, particularly since he wasn't saying anything bad or mean about Mary Cheney. However Mrs. Edwards comment that Lynn Cheney is ashamed is over the top and she should apologize for it.

That being said, I would tell Kerry to apologize for his remark, but make it clear that he in no way meant to attack Mary Cheney over her sexuality. Put it behind you and get back on message. Get this story off the front pages. I would also tell Kerry to say that all family members should be left out of the debate, and remind them of the recent attacks the right has leveled at Theresa Heinz-Kerry.
 

Lyle

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mactastic said:
Couple thoughts. I don't think Kerry's remarks were anything over the top, particularly since he wasn't saying anything bad or mean about Mary Cheney. However Mrs. Edwards comment that Lynn Cheney is ashamed is over the top and she should apologize for it.
I was watching one of the cable news networks (I think MSNBC) this morning and the "crawl" along the bottom of the screen had a quote from Senator Edwards which was basically an apology for Mrs. Edwards' comment. I just checked Google news and can't find a reference for it yet but maybe that will make the wires later today.

Update: OK, found a transcript of the Edwards interview with Chris Matthews from which the quote was lifted:
MATTHEWS: Your wife Elizabeth said this morning that she thinks they might be ashamed of their daughter sexuality and that’s why their so sensitive.

EDWARDS: Yeah, I have no way of knowing how they feel about it. They do talk about it openly and you know at the vice presidential debate in Cleveland they had their daughter sitting on the front row and they – I had the pleasure of meeting her – I don’t think I had met her before, although I had met the vice president before then! I think that the simple answer to this is we both admire the way they’ve dealt with their family and with their children.
mactastic said:
That being said, I would tell Kerry to apologize for his remark, but make it clear that he in no way meant to attack Mary Cheney over her sexuality. Put it behind you and get back on message. Get this story off the front pages. I would also tell Kerry to say that all family members should be left out of the debate, and remind them of the recent attacks the right has leveled at Theresa Heinz-Kerry.
I wouldn't expect an apology directly from Kerry at this point, since he's had various surrogates out doing damage control. I think a more likely strategy is for him to just ignore it and wait for the story to die down (which, given Americans' attention span, shouldn't take more than a day or so).
 

wwworry

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Mar 23, 2002
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It's weird that people want Kerry to apologize for talking about policies that would benefit Mary Cheney meanwhile Dick Cheney does not have to apologize for his discriminating amendment. Talk about upside-down!
 

3rdpath

macrumors 68000
i found kerry's debate reference to cheney's daughter a little strange but certainly not offensive or derogatory.

will cheney and his task force leverage this for everything they can...sure. if it was truly that offensive to them they should've just dropped it...now they're the ones making an issue of it.

let's just see who gets the most mileage out of it...
 

Lyle

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Jun 11, 2003
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wwworry said:
It's weird that people want Kerry to apologize for talking about policies that would benefit Mary Cheney...
I don't think anyone's asked Kerry to apologize for talking about his policies vis-a-vis gay rights. The current controversy is about him using Mary Cheney as an example in his answer to the moderator's debate question, and whether he should apologize for that.
 

Dont Hurt Me

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Republicans will use this as another excuse not to talk about real issues. Instead of addressing high oil,screwed up healthcare, and a false war costing us billions we will be talking about Cheneys Daughters sexual habits. This helps our nation doesnt it. :rolleyes: I really thought with a republican congress and president great things could be done. boy was i wrong.
 

Chip NoVaMac

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Dec 25, 2003
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3rdpath said:
i found kerry's debate reference to cheney's daughter a little strange but certainly not offensive or derogatory.

will cheney and his task force leverage this for everything they can...sure. if it was truly that offensive to them they should've just dropped it...now they're the ones making an issue of it.

let's just see who gets the most mileage out of it...
Being Gay, I found no issues with Kerry's remarks. In particular that Cheney opened that door back in his debate. I thought it thoughtful and with lots of respect for Mary Cheney. What is missing is the debate on legal benefits for those in long term committed relationships (12 years and counting here). Get to the heart of the Constitution of providing equal protections for all.

Not sure if I were in Mary's shoes, that I could be involved in a campaign or a Party that marginalizes my existence to the level that she has. Reminder, I am not talking the issue of "marriage". We have allowed "marriage" to represent both the religious institution and the legal benefits bestowed.
 

Chip NoVaMac

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Dec 25, 2003
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Dont Hurt Me said:
Republicans will use this as another excuse not to talk about real issues. Instead of addressing high oil,screwed up healthcare, and a false war costing us billions we will be talking about Cheneys Daughters sexual habits. This helps our nation doesnt it. :rolleyes: I really thought with a republican congress and president great things could be done. boy was i wrong.
As I said in the post below yours, I think that this should open the debate nationally as to whether we are a land of freedom and equality. It is not about the term "marriage" in my mind. It is providing equal protections under the law. Those protections should not be governed by religious beliefs.

For in my view we have separation of church and state for a reason; maybe not as the Founding Fathers had envisioned. Yet I do not see them forgetting the possibilities of their actions.
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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2 more things:

wordmunger said:
Yes, as director of vice-presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney campaign, I'm sure Mary Cheney feels like a neglected pawn in this whole tawdry affair. When she chose to represent her father in his campaign for re-election, she must have had no idea that her open gayness would be mentioned by his opponents.

By actively engaging in this campaign, and by openly admitting she is gay, she has become a mere pawn, powerless to do anything but stand by the sidelines as she directs her father's campaign.
If Mary Cheney is actively involved in her father's campaign, then declaring her 'off limits' is a little hypocritical, no? Anyone who puts themselves out there in a political capacity ought to expect to be a target for the opposition right? Now if she were staying out of the campaign limelight that would be different, but she got involved willingly. That makes her 'fair game'.

Lyle said:
I wouldn't expect an apology directly from Kerry at this point, since he's had various surrogates out doing damage control. I think a more likely strategy is for him to just ignore it and wait for the story to die down (which, given Americans' attention span, shouldn't take more than a day or so).
I wouldn't expect an apology either. That's because I'm not advising the Kerry campaign. I only said that I thought it would be a good idea, not that I thought it would happen.

That being said, I don't think Kerry has time to let the story die naturally in this compressed time frame. An apology with an explanation would take the wind out of the sails of the right wing's indignation and force them to look for another distraction to attack on. Also it could remind people that Theresa Heinz-Kerry was the victim of some pretty vicious smears by the right, which would mitigate some of the damage from Kerry's statements regarding Mary Cheney.
 

Dont Hurt Me

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Dec 21, 2002
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Republicans took the gloves off along time ago attacking Kerry's vietnam record and medals. This was fair play even by the low standards the Republicans have sunk to. Still a distraction to the major issues facing us as a nation. Screwed up war, no national healthcare,mexican border thats ignored by both party's and a corporate policy that is sucking the factories out of America faster then Ross Perot can say lickitysplit!
 

Lyle

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Jun 11, 2003
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mactastic said:
If Mary Cheney is actively involved in her father's campaign, then declaring her 'off limits' is a little hypocritical, no? Anyone who puts themselves out there in a political capacity ought to expect to be a target for the opposition right? Now if she were staying out of the campaign limelight that would be different, but she got involved willingly. That makes her 'fair game'.
By that reasoning, would you agree that the sex life of anyone "actively involved" in the Kerry campaign is fair game for discussion? For example, would it be appropriate at this point for the Bush campaign to try to dig up dirt on Kerry's daughters' sex lives, since they've been pretty actively involved in their dad's presidential run? I don't really think that's what you meant, but I think it just opens up a whole can of worms that neither party really needs to, um, open up.
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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Lyle said:
By that reasoning, would you agree that the sex life of anyone "actively involved" in the Kerry campaign is fair game for discussion? For example, would it be appropriate at this point for the Bush campaign to try to dig up dirt on Kerry's daughters' sex lives, since they've been pretty actively involved in their dad's presidential run? I don't really think that's what you meant, but I think it just opens up a whole can of worms that neither party really needs to, um, open up.
This isn't really about anyone's "sex life," is it? I thought it was actually about civil rights. As for "digging up dirt," I don't see where this has occurred. The Cheney family has openly acknowledged their daughter's gayness, so it's not like her privacy is being violated.
 

pseudobrit

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Jul 23, 2002
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I'm reminded of the pervert rule:

The people who makes the biggest stink and become massively indignant about nudity or some other nonsexual display of the human body are usually the ones who are the biggest sexually dysfunctional perverts.

Same here, only different:

The people (Bush-Cheney campaign) who make the biggest stink about someone using a term describing sexual orientation are only "shocked" because being labeled a homosexual, regardless of content, is assumed an insult because they view orientations other than heterosexuality as a disease, curse or sin.

The stink test:

If Dick Cheney, from a previous marriage or adoption, had a black daughter, and Kerry brought that fact up while discussing civil liberties, would the Cheney familiy/Bush campaign have acted outraged?

No, because being born black isn't considered a sin or disease.

They fact that they react in such outrage as if Kerry made fun of their deformed, hunchbacked retarded daughter shows how they in fact view their daughter's sexual orientation.
 

Taft

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Jan 31, 2002
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Good reasons this is a non issue.

I got this list from salon.com:

  • Mary Cheney has been happily out of the closet for at least a decade, so John Kerry was hardly dragging her out against her will.
  • She spent the late '90s working as a veritable professional lesbian, as gay and lesbian corporate relations manager for Coors Brewing Co.
  • Dick Cheney himself has been using her sexuality on the campaign trail. Click here to watch a Human Rights Campaign ad with him on the stump on Aug. 24, 2004: "Lynne and I have a gay daughter ... "
  • The Bush-Cheney administration has shamelessly used homosexuality as a wedge issue, never hesitating to play the sodomite card when it serves their political ends.
  • John Edwards brought up Mary Cheney in response to a similar gay-rights question just eight days earlier in the veep debate. Dick Cheney responded by thanking him for his kind remarks.

Taft
 

mactastic

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Lyle said:
By that reasoning, would you agree that the sex life of anyone "actively involved" in the Kerry campaign is fair game for discussion?
Sex life? Saying the word lesbian isn't a reference to her sex life. But I'm sure the point you were trying to make was 'are the lives of Kerry campaign staffers, particularly the higher-up, fair game. And the answer is 'yes they are'.
For example, would it be appropriate at this point for the Bush campaign to try to dig up dirt on Kerry's daughters' sex lives, since they've been pretty actively involved in their dad's presidential run? I don't really think that's what you meant, but I think it just opens up a whole can of worms that neither party really needs to, um, open up.
What Kerry said had nothing to do with Mary Cheney's sex life. And nobody had to 'dig up' the fact that Mary Cheney is a lesbian, did they?

Calling someone a lesbian is not a bad or dirty thing.
 

t300

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Apr 10, 2004
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Taft said:
[*]She spent the late '90s working as a veritable professional lesbian, as gay and lesbian corporate relations manager for Coors Brewing Co.
lol...WHAT? Why does Coors Brewing have a Gay and Lesbian Corporate Relations Manager? That is silly...


By the way, kind of off topic, but kinda on topic...

Guys and Girls can be gay, but only girls can be a lesbian, which at the same time, can be used as an adjective and a noun... You could say "Janice is a lesbian" but I think people would not like you if you said "Dan is a gay."

Don't know why...Just wanted to bring that up.
 

t300

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Apr 10, 2004
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pseudobrit said:
I dunno, maybe because gay people drink beer and Coors wanted them as customers.
That doesn't make much sense at all.