Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Kerry's Blunder Boomerangs

The Monk called this one early:

And what was Kerry's "Cheney's daughter .. the lesbian" all about? Was that really necessary to bring up when answering a question on whether homosexuality is a choice?

I don't think so -- unless it was a not so veiled attempt to remind Christians that the Cheneys have a lesbian daughter!! .. maybe he hoped to peel a few votes away from the Bush-Cheney ticket. If so, he'll need them to make up for a few homosexual votes he lost, because I guarantee you that Kerry's slight was not lost on them.

In fact, that remark about Cheney's daughter may have been one of Kerry's biggest blunders. It can only be explained in the light of a basic truth about liberal elites. They think the American people are stupid.

Another case of boomerangulation -- now a couple of MSM heavyweights are weighing in.

First there is Bob Novak with this Chicago Sun-Times column:

Kerry campaign sources say there was no plan for Kerry to talk about Mary Cheney last Wednesday, and it never came up in the debate prep. Kerry's intimates say he was trying to compliment the Cheneys, but there is absolutely nothing complimentary in what he said. Many Republicans see a calculated plot to depress Bush's social conservative base by revealing the vice president's daughter as a lesbian. But her sexual orientation is such common knowledge on the right that the alleged Democratic plot would be foolish.

Democrats at debate-watching parties gasped in surprise. Wired focus group members across the country displayed an instant negative reaction. Old Democratic political hands, in disbelief, tried to convey their unhappiness to Kerry. Even Kerry's Republican friend, Sen. John McCain, publicly criticized the Democratic nominee.

The only Kerry aide on the plane who wanted him to quickly issue an apology for any perceived insult was senior adviser Mike McCurry, the former Clinton spokesman who is a calm, cool voice among the overheated Kerryites. McCurry was alone. The Kerry brain trust argued that the Bush people were even nastier, and this was no time to be soft.

Instead of an apology, the rhetoric escalated. Democrats outside the campaign were stunned by the words that followed. Kerry's usually serene campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill referred to Mary Cheney as ''fair game.'' The peak in meanness was attained by Elizabeth Edwards, the motherly wife of vice presidential nominee John Edwards. She contended the outburst against Kerry by Mary's mother, Lynne, ''indicates a certain degree of shame'' toward her daughter. It is difficult to exaggerate Lynne Cheney's outrage over Elizabeth Edwards' suggestion.

And then we have the venerable William Safire of the New York Times (Link requires registration):

The memoir about the Kerry-Edwards campaign that will be the best seller will reveal the debate rehearsal aimed at focusing national attention on the fact that Vice President Cheney has a daughter who is a lesbian.

That this twice-delivered low blow was deliberate is indisputable. The first shot was taken by John Edwards, seizing a moderator's opening to smarmily compliment the Cheneys for loving their openly gay daughter, Mary.

The percentage of voters aware of Mary Cheney's sexual orientation was tiny.

But Edwards's answer in the vice-presidential debate raised that percentage. Because Cheney refused to react and the media did not see the spotlight on lesbianism as part of a political plan, the opening shot worked.

Emboldened, members of Kerry's debate preparation team made Mary Cheney's private life the centerpiece of their answer to the question, especially worrisome to them, about same-sex marriage. Kerry was prepped to insert her sexuality into his rehearsed answer: "If you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian. ..."

But in this second time around, the gratuitous insertion of Cheney's daughter into an answer slipping around a hot-button social issue revealed that it was part of a deliberate Kerry campaign strategy.

One purpose was to drive a wedge between the Republican running mates. President Bush supports a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a union of a man and a woman; Cheney has long been on record favoring state option, but always adds that the president sets administration policy. That rare divergence of views is hardly embarrassing.

The sleazier purpose of the Kerry-Edwards spotlight on Mary Cheney is to confuse and dismay Bush supporters who believe that same-sex marriage is wrong, to suggest that Bush is as "soft on same-sex" as Kerry is, and thereby to reduce a Bush core constituency's eagerness to go to the polls.

It should hurt Kerry. It's not about Mary Cheney's lesbianism. It's all about John Kerry's character .. or lack thereof.

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