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Selective Outrage

Andrew Sullivan:

Alan Keyes goes on the attack again, saying children of gay parents will live in families where "incest becomes inevitable." I await the outrage of Matthew Dowd, Lynne Cheney, Bill Kristol, Bill Safire, Mort Kondracke, Maureen Dowd, and on and on. Oh, wait. It's only if you say a positive thing about gay people that you're a homophobe.
I maintain that history will show the GOP decision to push the lesbiangate thing was a mistake, a classic Rovian instance of doing something to show off tactical skill while taking the eye off the strategic ball. Tracking polls indicate that Kerry's dip from this incident is already over. It's true that it derailed the "Bush lost all three debates" story, but it did so while costing the Bush campaign precious, precious time in which to embed their new "Kerry's too liberal" line. The reality is that the fundamentals and trends are against Bush in this campaign and he needed (and needs) to do something to turn the big picture around, not a couple of neat three-day tactical gambits. The "liberal, liberal, liberal" strategy was the strategy they came up with and they shouldn't have let themselves get distracted from it. You need to play to win, not to play to win style points for the campaign strategist while the candidate goes down.

October 18, 2004 | Permalink


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>You need to play to win, not to play to win style points for the campaign strategist while the candidate goes down.


Have you considered auditioning for SDoD?
(Who's kidding?)

['Anything would be better than those idiots.']

Posted by: ash | Oct 18, 2004 4:25:31 PM

This gay person was offended by Kerry's homophobic remark.

Posted by: Al | Oct 18, 2004 4:26:16 PM

It also sent a message out that Kerry was tough, smart, and ruthless in campaigning, which is not the kind of image Rove wants his opponents to have. I think this is really part of the Rove bag of tricks, it feels very similar to the "anti-Catholic" stuff used against McCain in Michigan.I think Rove was trying to trap Kerry into a "I-am-not-mean" defensive weekend, and the Kerry campaign handled it well. By ignoring it, which the blogosphere did not do so well.

But I think you underestimate the importance of the last debate. I think it was on the "marrying up" joke, when Kerry broke into that huge blushing grin, all of a sudden he looked like a nice guy, just folks, really likeable. My guess is that Roveco considered that a catastrophe that had to be countered immediately.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 18, 2004 4:30:51 PM

As a lesbian, I was appalled that Kerry called someone a lesbian.

Posted by: Lesbian | Oct 18, 2004 4:31:06 PM

Okay, beyond anything else, that's just about the wackiest rationale for opposing gay marriage I've seen to date. We can't let gays marry because it might lead to adoption?

Posted by: Naomi | Oct 18, 2004 4:33:09 PM

I sure hope the Cheneys are keeping a close eye on Mary, it would be a disaster if her incestuous tendencies were to become public too soon.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Oct 18, 2004 4:34:17 PM

As a gay man, I have to take exception with Mr. Keyes. There is no incest in my family and no chance of it ever. Daddies with unshaved ear hair who eat Count Chocula out of the box during ball games gross me out.

Posted by: Greg | Oct 18, 2004 4:37:50 PM

Good article by Garance on the Cheneys' hypocrisy. She's totally on the money with this:

[T]he Cheneys and the Bush-Cheney campaign reacted like frightened junior-high students who have just been called “gay.”

I think the entire damn country reacted that way, too. The apparent "it's ok to talk about your own gay kids, but not somebody else's gay kids!" standard that most of the country seems to adhere reflects an understanding of gay people that stopped at a junior high school level.

I mean, come on, when Kerry, like, made that remark, and stuff? That was, like, SOOOOO gay!

Posted by: Haggai | Oct 18, 2004 4:38:33 PM

I wonder how many more people in the country now know that Mary Cheney is totally out of the closet, used to work as the liaison between Coors and the gay community, has been 'outed' by his father, has a mother that have written about hot lesbian romance, etc.

If most of the country knows about it, it would be devastating for BC04. They will eat back their homophobia.

And we gays would have score big by making it much more difficult to be openly homophobic with the American public.

Posted by: Eduardo | Oct 18, 2004 4:50:40 PM

In that latest Gallup poll showing Kerry down 8, I noticed some promising internals: The percentage of people saying Kerry is too liberal has increased by exactly none from Sep. 3-5 to Oct. 14-16. So it appears that that attack isn't bearing fruit.

In the rest of the poll, there is nothing in the internals suggesting why Kerry lost 8 points except that Bush's job approval rating gained a few. I can't imagine why it did that, except for the debates/campaign news distracting from various debacles.

Posted by: neil | Oct 18, 2004 4:51:16 PM

I totally agree with you Matt and I'd add that it's thinking like this that shows perfectly the dangers of honing your tactical strategies in places like Texas and Alabama. I really don't know what Karl Rove is trying to accomplish here; it seems a waste of much valuable late-October pundit-air.

Posted by: Another young lesbian for Kerry | Oct 18, 2004 5:03:27 PM

Washington Post tracking poll still has Bush ahead 50-47 among likely voters. Strangely, they seem to have stopped posting the numbers for registered voters. I think Lesbiangate was at its height in the media on both Thursday and Friday, so perhaps that poll will dip back to last week's levels tomorrow, once last Friday's results drop out. If not, then that poll will seem to contradict the Zogby and Rasmussen results, which appear to have gone through a brief "how dare he call her gay!" bounce for Bush.

Posted by: Haggai | Oct 18, 2004 5:09:55 PM

The Cheney's faux outrage at Kerry's comment was not only preposterous, it was also hypocritical. Not only was Mary out--and so Kerry could hardly have outed her--a few weeks ago, Alan Keyes mentioned the fact that Mary was a lesbian and called her a "hedonist" because of that, and there wasn't a peep of protest from the Cheneys. I guess to them it's ok if a candidate fo their own party calls their child a hedonist.

Posted by: raj | Oct 18, 2004 5:35:17 PM

"Lesbiangate". Really, too great word to waste on such a piffle of a non-scandal.

Posted by: Another young lesbian for Kerry | Oct 18, 2004 5:38:30 PM

Why does every scandal (alleged and real) have to be a '-gate' anyhow? Sorta erodes the term if it always gets used. What's worse, a few decades down the road, we might have people spontaneously believing that 'Watergate' must have been about Water. This is a cause for concern...

Posted by: G. Svenson | Oct 18, 2004 5:43:15 PM

I've never seen Republican bigotry so pronounced, so out in the open, so repulsive and slimey.

Posted by: Slothrop | Oct 18, 2004 5:43:42 PM

I disagree, Matt. The Republicans have no line that works. "Liberal, liberal, liberal" just won't cut it anymore. So you undermine Kerry anyway you can, and enough three-day tactical gambits may wear him down. It's their only hope (except for election fraud, of course).

Posted by: PeterG | Oct 18, 2004 5:44:37 PM

also derailed was the repeated clip of bush not worrying about OBL--which possibly would be more damaging than the debate loss storyline, considering it was a substantive error and not just more media perception bs.

Posted by: slick rick | Oct 18, 2004 6:09:22 PM

With the possible exception of "Al" in the comment above, I am aware of exactly ZERO gay people who are even the least bit offended by Kerry's remarks. As an OUT and PROUD queer boy, I can assure you there's nothing but politically expedient smoke and mirrors going on with this whole Marygate faux outrage. Frankly, I think only Evangelical Christians and closeted, self-loathing, possibly even married queers could find Kerry's remarks offensive. Of course, there's no shortage of the latter here in Pennsylvania, and presumably in other notoriously closeted places where people feel obligated to get married to prove to their family that they're straight. So many failed marriages here in Southwestern Pennsylvania . . .

Posted by: Richard | Oct 18, 2004 6:13:21 PM

Paging Mary Cheney. Until she says she is offended, and says why, and says something that makes sense and sounds authentic, there is no story here.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci | Oct 18, 2004 6:50:12 PM

As for Keyes's point, there's an old folk song in which a daughter (in some versions, a son) goes to her/his father to say she/he wants to marry x. Father says no because, unknown to mother, x is the father's child from an old affair, and the mariage would be incestuous. Same problem with later marriage prospects y and z. In frustration, child goes to mother who says "I'm going to tell you something that your father never knew/he's not the man who fathered you, so marry whom ye will."
And these were, presumably, straight people.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci | Oct 18, 2004 6:55:35 PM

I'm a lesbian trapped inside a man's body, and while I have been thoroughly confused on a number of issues, this is not one of them. I'm voting for Kerry.

Posted by: lesbiannotlesbian | Oct 18, 2004 6:56:43 PM

Someone should point out that it is not only in gay families that a child might not know one or both of the biological parents. He has heard of adoption, sperm and egg donation, etc.? I don't know if my biological father had more children after he left. Good god, I might be sleeping with my cousin!! Obama better get about 90% of the Illinois vote.

Posted by: bostonliberal | Oct 18, 2004 7:05:33 PM

Since Keyes is losing by such a huge margin, it only makes sense that he will attack increasingly mainstream groups, especially after he has found that other Republicans are to spineless to speak out against him.

So, this week, it is adopted kids: if you don't know who your mother and father are, how do you know you aren't committing incest with your brother or sister? [Note that this is not an attack on gay people: it is an attack on adoption -- remember that? yeah, the preferred alternative to abortion? That one.]

Well brother Keyes: how sure are you about who is really your father? I know what you were told: but who was he, really?

Posted by: TomR | Oct 18, 2004 7:08:44 PM

I myself wonder what the effect of Bush saying
he did not know whether homosexuality was a choice or not had on his base. I have argued this issue with some of these morons on the GU talkboard and they are absolutely certain it is.

Bush waffled, and Kerry made it perfectly clear what his view was, and why he thought so, and pointed out, via Mary Cheney, that this should not be a partisan issue, as the Bush campaign has made it.

It is difficult to see how Bush can say anything to his base to energise them using this issue now. He cannot not know on National TV in the debate, and then days later whip up the base at a campaign rally. This is a non-issue campaign wise now. It has been effectively defanged.

On C-Span there was a debate around the issue of gay marriage last week, that went through some of the polling on this issue.This was the big issue for the fundies. For everyone else it was a very low factor in deciding their vote. That is why it appears as though the damage done to Kerry has been slight.

Posted by: Alan | Oct 18, 2004 7:40:53 PM

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