Ed Driscoll

"Fair Game"

Hugh Hewitt writes:

Kerry’s abuse of Mary Cheney’s privacy receives extensive coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, and even a front page story in the Los Angeles Times, which tries to help Kerry out by beginning the story: “Long before John F. Kerry said as much in Wednesday night’s presidential debate, Mary Cheney had been open about the fact that she is a lesbian.” When the most biased paper in America has to defend one the most repulsive candidate actions in modern political history in the first line of a front page story, you know the candidate has committed a colossal blunder.

Incredibly, in all the ink in all of these stories, there is not one mention of Kerry’s campaign manager’s description of Mary Cheney as “fair game” in the post debate spinning. (The Wall Street Journal’s editorial on the subject today did catch and focus Mary Beth Cahill’s stunning admission.) When John Edwards lamely tries to claim innocent or even noble motives for the Kerry-Edwards low blows, keep in mind that “fair game” is a hunting term, a clear giveaway that the Kerry-Edwards campaign planned the attack as an attack. As most of the stories admit somewhere along the line, this was a malicious attempt to hurt Bush-Cheney with fundamentalist Christians. It was gay baiting of the worst sort, as James Taranto branded it yesterday, but the real anger in America is over the exploitation of children by Kerry-Edwards. My post here explains that the widespread anger and revulsion isn’t about the particulars of using Mary Cheney’s sexuality at all. It is the product of the “leave the kids out of it” sentiment that nearly all Americans hold and which until this campaign was respected by both parties and all candidates. Anger at the breach of that rule was compounded by the churlishness of Elizabeth Edwards’ “a certain amount of shame” comments, which was a direct attack on the Cheneys’ relationship with their daughter.

(Follow the links in Hugh’s actual post–there are a ton of them.)

Meanwhile, Bill Kristol (found via Power Line) writes:

How stupid does John Kerry think the American people are?

Does he really think they will believe that he singled out Mary Cheney because he “was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with this issue?” Does he think they will accept his claim that he was saying something about the Cheneys’ “love of their daughter”? Of course, he wasn’t. In his answer, he never mentioned or came close to mentioning the Cheney family, or the Cheneys’ love. He merely brought up Mary Cheney as a lesbian, out of left field, in order to get her name and sexual orientation into an answer where no such citation was expected, called for, or remotely appropriate. His campaign manager let slip the truth when after the debate she told Fox News’s Chris Wallace that Mary Cheney was “fair game.”

Kerry’s desperate attempt at next-day spin was also revealing. It showed the way he had been supposed to bring up Mary Cheney–the way he and his staff had planned to pull off this maneuver. Kerry was supposed to do what his more skilled and cleverer debating partner, John Edwards, did. He was supposed to sugarcoat his use of Mary Cheney more effectively. Edwards prefaced his answer to Gwen Ifill’s same-sex marriage question in the vice-presidential debate with, “Let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can’t have anything but respect for the fact that they’re willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter; the fact that they embrace her is a wonderful thing.”

But Kerry forgot his lines. And while Cheney had to pretend to accept Edwards’s phony, condescending compliment, and everyone else allowed Edwards’s deftly exploitative comment go by, Kerry’s appropriation of Mary Cheney came in no such lawyerly and sugary packaging. The rawness of his ruthlessness was there for all to see. The Democrats are terrified of a debate on same-sex marriage, and used Mary Cheney to try to brush back the Bush-Cheney ticket from forcing a real policy debate.

As I said on Thursday, this was the soundbite moment for my parents, who get virtually all of their news from what the Blogosphere would dub the MSM. I have a feeling my mom’s instinctive reaction was much like Lynn Cheney’s, who said:

“The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man. I’m speaking as a mom,” she said. “What a cheap and tawdry political trick.”

Betsy Newmark notes that the Kerry campaign keeps screwing up their talking points about Mary:

That’s a good point about the odious comments by Elizabeth Edwards calling Mary Cheney’s gayness a sexual preference. Wasn’t that the whole point of the question – whether or not homosexuality was a choice or not. Kerry said it wasn’t and that’s why he brought up Cheney’s daughter. Now, Elizabeth Edwards is back to saying it’s a preference. Can’t they get their talking points together?

Finally, Jim Geraghty asks:

Would it kill John Kerry or any other Democrat to remember that Dick Cheney has two daughters? We keep hearing from the Dems, “They love their daughter, they love their daughter”