A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Monday, October 18, 2004

When all else fails. . .

. . .change the terms of the debate. That's what appears to be happening over at Andrew Sullivan's blog. Suddenly, the question isn't whether or not Kerry engaged in any gay-baiting. Rather, the question is whether any leading Republican has expressed any outrage over previous instances when committed by Republicans.

Whatever the answer, I don't see how it impacts on the Kerry question. I mean, either Kerry deliberately used Mary Cheney as a political wedge, or he didn't. But, if side questions are to come into the issue, then one could just as fairly ask Andrew why it is that Kerry, of all politicians, gets the benefit of the doubt when it comes to cynically using wedge politics. What has the Kerry campaign done to warrant a pass on this issue? John Edwards promised people in wheelchairs that John Kerry would have them walking, if only they elect him President. Mary Beth Cahill, according to reports I've read, declared Mary Cheney "fair game" in the aftermath.

To me, it's much like the Pat Buchanan anti-Semitism charge, and William F. Buckley's examination of it. In the end, even if John Kerry didn't use Mary Cheney as a political wedge against her father, his campaign to this point has made it impossible to defend him against the charge.

As to whether or not there are examples of leading Republicans expressing outrage over the issue in the past, I'll grant that if there are, I don't know of them. But, at the same time, I can't recall any previous instance approaching the high profile and stakes of this one. And, of course, the level of press scrutiny never reached this level before, so there it hasn't really been demanded. I can see where one could come to the conclusion that conservatives bury their heads in the sand when confronted with the issue, and only speak up when forced to by a hostile press. But, that's a whole other point, altogether. One in which Republicans are in no way unique, by the way.

So, even if it's true that Republicans don't protest gay-baiting with much zeal, unless there is a lot of attention being paid, that does nothing to answer the question: Did John Kerry use Mary Cheney's sex life as a wedge issue in the campaign?

The lesson Andrew draws from this is that Republicans are hostile to gay rights, except when it suits their interests to support them.

The lesson he seems to be missing is that Democrats are no different.

free website counters