In this election – and especially in the debate – and especially from Mr. Preparation, John Kerry – I’m pretty certain that Mary Cheney wasn’t mentioned because she was the first name off the top of Kerry’s head.
This is especially true given the fact Edwards mentioned Mary Cheney in the VP debate, and because Mary Beth Cahill, in comments on Fox immediately following the debate, declared Mary Cheney’s sexuality to be “fair game.” Also, note that Kerry worked Mary Cheney’s name into his response by the 6th word of that response. This, ladies and gentlemen, was the calculated political use of personal information on the Vice President’s children.
Now, the real question is, why would Kerry/Edwards et al think they could get an advantage by mentioning Mary Cheney? Some people have advanced the notion that it was an attempt to attack what they viewed as a bigoted portion of Bush voters – likely lower-class white blue collar workers, some of the “Reagan Republicans” that had returned to the Republican camp after security again became a major concern. I don’t think this is it – mostly because I don’t think it’s likely they would reach out to this group with references in the debates – but it’s a possibility.
The more intriguing possibility, to me, is the idea that Kerry/Edwards was actually trying to shore up some support in the black and Hispanic communities – these groups tend to be conservative on social issues, and Kerry has been doing much worse among blacks than he had hoped. I think this is more likely, especially because inroads for Republicans with these groups of voters, both of which are critical to Kerry’s re-election hopes in terms of galvanizing their turn out and getting the historical 90% of that turnout that the Democrats have captured recently, tend to come on social issues.
Generally, I think Kerry’s attempt to utilize the private lives of the Cheneys for his own political purposes is “tawdry”, to quote Mrs. Cheney’s reaction. However Dick & Lynne Cheney and Mary Cheney want to deal with that issue is between them, and I think Mufasa was spot-on in his assessment of their reaction.
Plus, I think this carries into why the remark is hurting Kerry – Kerry isn’t losing points among gays or straights per se – he’s losing points with parents.