Former Vice President Dick Cheney
and former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman are among the high-profile figures lobbying Maryland lawmakers to vote in favor of marriage equality in the state. Mehlman called Republican Del. Wade Kach, who also reportedly received an offer to talk to Cheney about the issue; Kach said however that out of state input was not a factor in his decision to support the bill, which he had voted against in committee just two days before.
Actively supporting gay marriage legislation at a crucial moment certainly goes on the list of good things Dick Cheney has done in his life. But it does not begin to erase his lifetime deficit on even this single issue, since he (and Mehlman) were both participants in the Republican party's wildly cynical 2004 election strategy of putting anti-gay measures on ballots in key states to increase turnout among social conservative voters.
Minnesota Republicans are trying that move again, putting an amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state on the 2012 ballot. If Dick Cheney and Ken Mehlman work against that bill, even at the cost of whatever turnout advantage it might help Republicans gain, they'll start deserving real credit for a principled stance. If the only votes they'll work to sway are those of legislators in solidly Democratic states, though, they'll never make a dent in the negative balance they ran up in 2004.
2:34 PM PT: Related, in absolutely no surprise, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a gay marriage bill in his state. Do you think Mehlman or Cheney got in touch with him?