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Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Kerry-Edwards campaign's references to Mary Cheney's sexuality

There is no shortage of material in John Kerry's background and that of his immediate family from which one could take cheap shots for political gain.  One could easily craft a comparably vile statement that Dubya could have made, himself or through surrogates.  Indeed, I've reluctantly done so in the extended portion of this post, but I frankly urge you not to read it unless you doubt that there are factual grounds on which such cheap shots could be based. 

I would never urge someone to base his or her vote on such cheap shots.   But the fact that Sen. Kerry, Sen. Edwards, and/or their campaign think Mary Cheney's sexuality is "fair game" to exploit is something that itself speaks to their character, or lack thereof, and that voters can and should consider.


At the third debate, both candidates were asked about how their religious views affected them and their policies. Imagine if Dubya had said:

I respect Sen. Kerry's faith as a Roman Catholic.  I have no fault to find with the fact that he was a serial adulter while still technically married to his first wife, or that he divorced her while she was battling mental illness.  She supports his candidacy, they've both maintained their relationship with their daughters, and that's wonderful.  His church found it appropriate to grant him an annulment โ€” a formal, retroactive declaration that Sen. Kerry's first marriage never existed in the eyes of the church โ€” and even though his first wife strongly objects to Senator Kerry's and Mrs. Theresa Heinz Kerry's efforts to sanctify their own marriage at the expense of declaring Sen. Kerry's two daughters illegitimate, one has to admire their family's ability to get beyond that and continue their lives as a loving, mixed family.  Of course, only someone who's ashamed of his daughters' status as bastards would be reluctant to discuss that in a public forum, so I know the Senator would be willing to discuss that subject calmly, perhaps even eagerly, to illustrate how they've overcome the narrow-mindedness of such attitudes.  However, I do think that since I'm not of the Catholic faith myself, it would be inappropriate for me to weigh in on the assertions of various Catholic priests and bishops that Sen. Kerry should be refused holy communion because of his support for legalized infantcide through partial birth abortions and more generally his support for abortion-on-demand.

Would such a statement, however piously couched and with whatever disclaimers, nonetheless be an aggregation of vile, disgusting cheap shots?  Yeah, very definitely.  Would those cheap shots nevertheless be factually accurate?  Yeah, they are.  Have I known these bits for months and months, and previously declined to blog about them even briefly?  Of course.  Have Republican candidates and their proxies, including Karl Rove, made cheap shots in other campaigns?   Yes, of course; but Dubya hasn't, and he hasn't permitted his campaign to do so, and he and Vice President Cheney are who's on the ballot on Nov. 2.

Do I personally think that Sen. Kerry's failed first marriage and divorce, the subsequent annulment of it, and the intrinsic conflict between his and his church's positions on abortion are reasons not to vote for him?  No, I don't.  I'm a divorced father of four myself, and I absolutely, sincerely, and without any reservation applaud Sen. Kerry and his ex-wife for what appear to have been extraordinary and successful efforts to overcome the challenges they've faced on that score.  I strongly oppose discrimination on the basis of sexual preference, I have no opposition to gay marriage, I reluctantly support abortion rights in at least some circumstances, and I think the Catholic Church's official views on divorce are extreme, outdated, and sometimes quite cruel in their effect on parties (especially children) who bear no moral responsibility for a marriage's failure. 

But I acknowledge and respect the fact that other principled and intelligent individuals differ with my views on these topics; I have no desire to debate these topics with them or persuade them to my own point of view (hence my previous, and subsequent, decision not to blog about them); and I certainly accept the political reality that these issues can be exploited for disproportionate and cynical political gain among such persons.  They're relevant now only in passing, and not for anything these points say directly about Sen. Kerry, but only in response to the Kerry-Edwards campaign's repeated references to Mary Cheney's sexuality, as an example of that campaign's hypocrisy, cynicism, and political opportunism.  In other words, I'm willing to acknowledge a cheap shot when I see (or, here, reluctantly make) one.

Comments on this post are closed, and I'll not blog about these topics in the future.

Posted by Beldar at 07:04 AM in Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


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