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What is the deal with this Republican whining that John Edwards "took a cheap shot" at Dick Cheney in the Vice-Presidential Debate by "cruelly bringing up" his gay daughter?  This is completely ridiculous, and actually shows how the GOP likes to hide from their socially conservative religious base.

First of all, if you follow politics at all, and you didn't already know that Dick Cheney had a gay daughter, your head is in the sand.  Cheney has addressed this fact directly on the stump as recently as late August:

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney has declared that "freedom means freedom for everyone" to enter "into any kind of relationship they want to."

In unusually personal remarks on the issue, delivered at a campaign forum in Davenport, Iowa, the vice president, referred to his daughter, Mary, who is a lesbian, saying that he and his wife "have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with."

He added, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by the White House, "We have two daughters, and we have enormous pride in both of them."


Of course, the GOP counter-argument would be that debates open up the process to those who don't normally follow politics closely, and many of them might not have known about Mary Cheney, and it was a "cheap shot" to bring it up.  Well, if you want to talk about who brought up Cheney's gay daughter in the debate, I'd say it was Gwen Ifill:

IFILL: The next question goes to you, Mr. Vice President. 

I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: "Freedom means freedom for everybody." You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions. And you used your family's experience as a context for your remarks.

Can you describe then your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?

How could Cheney have used his "family's experience as a context" for remarks about gay marriage if there WASN'T a gay member in the family?  The issue was already on the table.

Third of all, Cheney's repsonse to this "cheap shot" doesn't sound like that of someone who was just stuck in the ribs, does it?

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.

What does this all mean?  Well, it seems to me that Republican backers are trying to hide their skeletons in an ever-expanding closet, because they know that members of their fundamentalist base would literally not vote for someone if they knew the candidate had a gay daughter.  That's the disgusting truth of the matter, and if anyone is providing a cheap shot, it's the GOP on the American people by whitewashing their candidates for political gain.  The tacit acknowledgement here is that the Republican Party has a base whose bigotry embarrasses them.

Originally posted to dday on Sun Oct 10, 2004 at 12:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A in a minority on this (none)
    but I thought the question was intended to be a cheap shot to embarrass the Vice President.  He hasn't changed his position on this issue, Bush did.  (Yes, I still think Cheney an asshole.)

    The question should be asked of Bush.  Ask him if he knows Mary Cheney and her partner. Ask him if he would deny them the civil protections provided by civil marriage.  Ask him if his position favoring states right only applied if states adopted positions he favors.

    Yes, I think Edwards took advantage of the opportunity to state that Cheney has a GAY daughter, it's public information and neither Cheney or his family have expressed anything but public support and love for Mary.  If it made some wingnuts nuts - fuckem.  I like it when they squirm.  

    Patriotic, flag waving, radical centrist Howard Dean voter on loan to Kerry/Edwards04.

    by rusrivman on Sun Oct 10, 2004 at 04:39:05 PM PDT

    •  you know the answer (none)
      The question should be asked of Bush.  Ask him if he knows Mary Cheney and her partner. Ask him if he would deny them the civil protections provided by civil marriage.  Ask him if his position favoring states right only applied if states adopted positions he favors.

      I'm sure he knows Mary, has a stupid hostile nickname for her, and has no problem being her pal while denying her civil rights.  And he wouldn't let her have an abortion, either, if he had his druthers.

    •  He's changed his position. (none)
      Cheney has changed his position on the FMA several times. He has said that he thinks it should be left to the states. Then in January he said that the courts had taken those rights away and now the government had to intervene. Then in August he said that he didn't support the amendment. Now he's back to "I support the President".

      All that Bush will say say about Mary Cheney is "she's a nice young woman" and "it's up to the states, the amendment will take power away from activist judges, not the states", and his usual lies. I don't know what you're expecting him to say.

  •  Cheap shot? (none)
    Dick Cheney has a daughter

    A daughter who is a lesbian politicial activist.

    She doesn't get drunk in public, smoke weed or stick her tongue out.

    So exactly why is complimenting her on being a solid public citizen and an out lesbian a "cheap shot"?.

    What's cheap about it?

    •  I agree 100%... (none)
      The issue of 'outing' in the gay community has long been a sensitive one.  My feeling is that a person does not deserve to be outed just for the sake of outing.  However, when that person actively takes a public stand against other gays, then all bets are off.  Mary works for Daddy's campaign.  Enough said.  There has been an enormous amount of gay community outreach to her in the past to encourage her to take a stand against the spewing of venom her father's administration seems so comfortable with.  Met with silence.  However, I suspect that Edwards' intent was to 'enlighten' the conservative Christian right at Cheney's hypocricy.  
  •  once again proves (none)
    that the GOP will use those they can't stand as political tools.  If Cheney's daughter was left alone in a room filled with Bush Cabinet members she wouldn't be approached by any of them.

    Alan Keyes is an idiot because he says what all the republicans want to say.  they think gays are subhuman.  they think blacks are "different".  they think that hispanics are dirty and skill-less.  But come election time you have gop blacks, hispanics, and gays popping up on news channels everywhere, extolling the virtues of being republican.

    hypocrisy is fine if you don't have a conscience.  Cheney has none.  while supporting his party in private, he publicly breaks with them but only in general and vague terms.

    all people are created equal

    by thebloviator on Sun Oct 10, 2004 at 05:01:18 PM PDT

    •  my only question would be (none)
      what Cheney's daughter really believes deep down inside?  Is she really proud of the fact that she gets trampled on by Keyes and other gopers and gets no or little public defense from her father?

      all people are created equal

      by thebloviator on Sun Oct 10, 2004 at 05:03:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One of the Children (none)
      A first grader I work with at a local public school asked me "Do you think I'm black?"  I responded "What color do you think you are?"  He answered "Chocolate brown.  I don't understand why people keep saying I am black."  I asked him what color he thought I was, "Whitish pink."  
  •  It was a cheap shot...and I loved it (none)
    We have to show that we're willing to hit below the belt in order to gain respect and win this election.  The Republicans have been killing us on gay marriage all year, and Edwards exposed their hypocrisy with one, cleverly executed ploy.  It shows that the differences between Republicans and Democrats aren't that great at the end of the day.  Civil unions are ok if you're a gay Republican connected with a powerful Republican family but not for everyone else.  Edwards was brilliant.
    •  Same as it ever was (none)
      Civil unions are ok if you're a gay Republican connected with a powerful Republican family but not for everyone else.

      Yup.  Just like when Dan Quayle wanted his daughter to have the right to choose, just not anyone else's.

      Was this a cheap shot by Edwards?  You betcha.  Am I glad?  Hell yes.  I hope the Bush/Cheney fundie base is still speaking in tongues over the fact that Cheney has a devil-possessed lezzie for a daughter.

  •  Edwards' statement on Mary Cheney (none)
    was one of those things that is perfectly translatable several ways.

    With that statement Edwards gets three things accomplished:

       1. Points out the hypocrisy: GOP families are full of gay people yet they legislate against them.

       2. Say "nyah, nyah, nyah, you've got a gay daughter" to those who would be inclined to hear it that way.

    and

    3. Does point out the obvious difference between the GOP and the Dems regarding gays and lesbians.

    California Uber Alles

    by joeesha on Sun Oct 10, 2004 at 05:16:36 PM PDT

  •  Why they're complaining (none)
    They're only complaining because it was a remarkably effective attack.

    John Edwards, in his nicest voice, salutes Cheney's support for his daughter. But in so doing, he outs Cheney as someone who knowingly supports someone who has a "gay lifestyle" as the fundies say. That one comment probably cost BushCo a chunk of votes, because they painted Cheney in (in fundie-speak) as gay-loving fruitcakes.

    You're right. The wingnuts have no basis to blame Edwards for this. But that's not to deny that, given the investment BushCo has made in using gay marriage as a wedge issue, this was an incredibly effective attack.

    When Edwards said this, I turned to the woman next to me and said, "He's vicious as hell. Thank god he's OUR vicious." Because Edwards played Cheney's base for all its bigoted charm.

  •  I suppose you could say.... (none)
    that Cheney is more liberal than the repugnican base.  You could also say that I'm on my way over to Cabela's for a case of shotgun shells, because that's just fuckin' scary.

    My preznit went to Iraq and all I got was this crummy economy!

    by roxtar on Sun Oct 10, 2004 at 05:58:10 PM PDT

  •  i guess i'm not that observant (none)
    because i didn't see edwards as trying to do any knifing on this issue. gwen ifill asked a question. cheney had to respond and edwards had to talk about it. it's kind of a given of american politics that you don't attack the other guy's family members. you try to be gracious, as bush was in thanking the kerry daughters for being nice to his daughters and kerry was in praising laura bush as "a terrific first lady".

    if there's a problem with what edwards said, it doesn't exist for most people who believe gays are people. the problem lies with the republicans bush and co. try to appeal to. i think cheney knew edwards was sincere - the look on his face was not snarly, he was not looking down or away but at the audience. i suspect he was looking at his family in the audience. i've always found myself giving cheney points on this issue; unlike newt gingrich, who has completely repudiated his sister, cheney has at least cared enough about his daughter to accept her and her partner and to be willing to take his lumps for it as far as his own party is concerned.

  •  it's only a cheap shot (none)
    if you being gay is wrong.

    the beauty of edwards' statement is that it is a real compliment within our framework of family values to compliment someone on being tolerant and caring and proud of one's well-adjusted children, and at the same time a reminder to the hateful that cheney is not a true believer in their republic of gideon utopianism.

    to the wingnuts it is an insult because they do not accept the basic right of gays and lesbians to be treated with dignity. that they lack basic family values is no fault of edwards' or of ours. what kind of deviant doesn't love their own children?

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