Daily Archives: October 14, 2004

Choice is the Fool’s Name for Fate

There has been a lot of silliness in this election, but to date nothing quite so silly as the ham-fistedly manufactured “controversy” provoked by this inane “debate” question.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President, let’s get back to economic issues. But let’s shift to some other questions here.
Both of you are opposed to gay marriage. But to understand how you have come to that conclusion, I want to ask you a more basic question. Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?
BUSH: You know, Bob, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I do know that we have a choice to make in America and that is to treat people with tolerance and respect and dignity. It’s important that we do that.

And I also know in a free society people, consenting adults can live the way they want to live.

And that’s to be honored.

But as we respect someone’s rights, and as we profess tolerance, we shouldn’t change — or have to change — our basic views on the sanctity of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I think it’s very important that we protect marriage as an institution, between a man and a woman.

I proposed a constitutional amendment. The reason I did so was because I was worried that activist judges are actually defining the definition of marriage, and the surest way to protect marriage between a man and woman is to amend the Constitution.

It has also the benefit of allowing citizens to participate in the process. After all, when you amend the Constitution, state legislatures must participate in the ratification of the Constitution.

I’m deeply concerned that judges are making those decisions and not the citizenry of the United States. You know, Congress passed a law called DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.

My opponent was against it. It basically protected states from the action of one state to another. It also defined marriage as between a man and woman.
But I’m concerned that that will get overturned. And if it gets overturned, then we’ll end up with marriage being defined by courts, and I don’t think that’s in our nation’s interests.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: 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.

I think if you talk to anybody, it’s not choice. I’ve met people who struggled with this for years, people who were in a marriage because they were living a sort of convention, and they struggled with it.

And I’ve met wives who are supportive of their husbands or vice versa when they finally sort of broke out and allowed themselves to live who they were, who they felt God had made them.

I think we have to respect that.

The president and I share the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
But I also believe that because we are the United States of America, we’re a country with a great, unbelievable Constitution, with rights that we afford people, that you can’t discriminate in the workplace. You can’t discriminate in the rights that you afford people.

You can’t disallow someone the right to visit their partner in a hospital. You have to allow people to transfer property, which is why I’m for partnership rights and so forth.

Now, with respect to DOMA and the marriage laws, the states have always been able to manage those laws. And they’re proving today, every state, that they can manage them adequately.

Now as anybody who has been paying so much as the slightest attention to politcs knows Mary Cheney is an “out” lesbian, and has been so for years and years.

Well over a decade ago she was a PR rep for “Coors,” called into action to
repair the damage caused by one of the most successful boycotts in U.S. history and don’t you forget it for a nanosecond !

The Coors family is, as the say, to the right of Atilla the Hun. They utilized their earnings to create and fund anti-gay orgs back in the 70’s and made no secret of that fact. Gay liberation (a movement of the left and don’t let neo-fascist hacks like The Creature From the Blog Lagoon tell you otherwise) responded by calling for a boycott of “Coors” beer. Almost overnight gay and lesbian bars nationwide refused to stock the swill, and gays and lesbians from sea to shining sea refused to buy it.

It worked.

And so by the mid-80’s the company, desperate for good PR, tried a new
tack. They pretended the Coors family wasn’t really involved with the “Coors” company. They declared an end to sexual orientation discrimination in their hiring practices, going so far as to offer same-sex partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees. And they hired Mary Cheney to go all around the country hat in hand to tell gay/lesbian orgs that “Coors” had mended its ways and that it’s (awful) beer was now OK to drink.

It didn’t work.

But Mary Cheney gave it all she had, and established a name for herself as an “out” and presumably proud, daughter of a Conservative Republican.

Mary isn’t the only Gay/Cheney connection. When Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense under George Bush the elder, his right-hand man was one Pete Williams, who with his boyfriend (perhaps not coincidentally) had a summer share on Fire Island with The Creature From the Blog Lagoon and the Creature’s then-boyfriend during the Gulf War.

Williams was quite visible during this conflict, standing before a balckboard, chalk at the ready, to brief the media on the latest manuver. Being a civilian employee his sexual orientation was protected — which wasn’t the case for huge numbers of gay and lesbian soldiers who after risking their lives for their country were tossed out on the asses at war’s end. This disgraceful state of affairs led to Michelangelo Signorile’s “outing” of Williams (detailed in his classic studyQueer in America

And this in turn led to Williams leaving government service and becoming a reporter for NBC news, where he is to this very day. (NBC being owned by General Electric, the world’s largest “defensive weapons” contractor, Williams’ re-employment was a lateral shift )

So the Cheneys, it would appear, are “gay-friendly,” no?

not exactly

Dick Cheney and his wife say they are angry at John Kerry for invoking their lesbian daughter during the final presidential debate. Kerry says he was just trying to say something nice about how the Cheneys have dealt with the issue and meant no offense

Temperatures have risen sharply since the vice presidential debate, just last week, when Democrat Sen. John Edwards 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 Sen. 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.

Debating President Bush Wednesday night, Kerry referred to Mary Cheney when asked whether homosexuality is a choice.
“We’re all God’s children,” he 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.”

Bush said he didn’t know if it was a choice or not. But no one was talking about that on Thursday.

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, Fla. “And I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father.”

He told a local TV station: “I thought it was totally inappropriate.”

Mrs. Cheney was even sharper as she denounced Kerry after a debate party in the Pittsburgh suburb of Coraopolis, Pa., Wednesday night.

“This is not a good man,” she said. “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.”

So declares the author of a lesbian bodice-ripper greatly sought-after on e-bay.

A campaign spokeswoman said Mary Cheney declined to comment.

Well she never does, does she. Despite ceaseless efforts to get her to say something — anything — about herself, her parents, her lover Heather, whether she thinks Ellen is better off now than she was a few years ago, Mary Cheney has been as silent as King Tut’s tomb.

Others, however, have been quite anxious to speak in her, er. . . .defense ?

The communications director for Bush-Cheney, Nicolle Devenish, said Kerry miscalculated the impact of his remarks and now is “backpedaling from what is a crass, below-the-belt political strategy to attack the vice president’s daughter.”

She said his statement constituted “a political mistake that I think they’ll pay a hefty price for.”

And (of all people) Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler agrees, claiming Kerry made an “unwise comment” (Thereby proving that even the most sophisticated of straights can be utterly clueless when it comes to gay issues.)

Kerry responded Thursday that he did not mean to offend anyone. “I love my daughters. They love their daughter. I was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with the issue,” he said in a statement.

Edwards defended his running mate, saying the subject was clearly fair game. “Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, had themselves brought it up,” he said on MSNBC.

Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, was harsher, suggesting that while Mrs. Cheney has been “a wonderful advocate” for her daughter, she also might be ashamed of her.

“She’s overreacted to this and treated it as if it’s shameful to have this discussion. I think that’s a very sad state of affairs,” she told ABC radio. “I think that it indicates a certain amount of shame with respect to her daughter’s sexual preferences.”

Some prominent politicians who have struggled with the issue said Thursday that Kerry’s comments were well within bounds. “I think what John Kerry said was very kind,” said Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., whose daughter is a lesbian.
Former Republican Rep. Steve Gunderson, who is gay, said: “It’s trying to put a human face and make clear the issue of one’s sexual orientation does not honor partisan lines.”

Sen. John McCain traveling with Bush Thursday, didn’t buy it.

“Maybe Sen. Kerry didn’t appreciate the sensitivity” of the subject, McCain, R-Ariz., told reporters on Air Force One. “Whether intended or not, it was very inappropriate.”

Though of course it couldn’t be MORE appropriate.

Mary Cheney, who is openly gay, runs operations in the vice president’s campaign office.

Let’s have that one again, shall we?

“Mary Cheney, who is openly gay, runs operations in the vice president’s campaign office.”

She and her partner were an established couple and owned a house together in Colorado when Dick Cheney was picked as Bush’s running mate in 2000. Mary Cheney, who had run a gay and lesbian outreach program for Coors Brewing Co., wears a gold band on her left hand.

The pair sat side by side in the vice president’s box during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, though neither joined the family onstage afterward, and neither was in sight for the convention finale a day later.

Not pressing their luck.

The Cheneys’ other daughter, Liz, also works on the campaign and sometimes introduces her dad on the campaign trail.

The vice president spoke this summer about his daughter’s sexuality and his view of gay relationships. He also publicly disagreed with Bush about the need for a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages, saying he preferred that the states settle the issue.

“Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it’s an issue our family is very familiar with,” Cheney told a Davenport, Iowa, audience that included his daughter. “With respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone.”

The vice president stated no objection when Edwards, a North Carolina senator, brought up Mary Cheney during their debate last week. Edwards expressed “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.”

Cheney thanked his opponent for the “kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that very much.”

Gritting his teeth all the while. A chilling sight.

In Wednesday night’s debate, Bush and Kerry each said they believe marriage should be restricted to same-sex couples, but the president supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and Kerry does not. Kerry does support giving gay couples many of the civil rights that come with marriage.

Maybe marry should go into show business. Here’s a Randy Newman number that with appropriate gender alteration would be perfect for her.

Oh I may go out tomorrow if I can borrow a coat to wear
Oh, I’d step out in style with my sincere smile and my dancing bear
Outrageous, alarming, courageous, charming
Oh, who would think a boy and bear
Could be well accepted everywhere
It’s just amazing how fair people can be

Seen at the nicest places where well-fed faces all stop to stare
Making the grandest entrance is Simon Smith and his dancing bear
They’ll love us, won’t they?
They feed us, don’t they?
Oh, who would think a boy and bear
Could be well accepted everywhere
It’s just amazing how fair people can be

Who needs money when you’re funny?
The big attraction everywhere
Will be Simon Smith and his dancing bear
It’s Simon Smith and the amazing dancing bear

Now can’t you just see her doing that one on Ellen?

Or maybe she’d prefer “Don’t Let It Bother You” from The Gay Divorcee, the Astaire-Rogers classic in which the great Erik Rhodes reminds us all (the hapless Bob Schieffer included) that Chance is the fool’s name for Fate!”