In his column this week (“The O’Reilly Factor for Lesbians”), Frank Rich discusses the Republican overreaction to John Kerry’s “Cheney’s gay daughter” remark. The main trajectory of the story involves the phony outrage by the conservatives for “outing” somebody who was already openly gay.
Actually, the aspect of the story I’m most interested in is the Bush/Cheney campaign’s panicked response. Noting how Karl Rove relies on a demographic strategy to win elections, Rich emphasizes how dependent (at this point, you could probably say desperate) Bush is to turn out every one of those approximately four million Christian fundamentalist voters. As a result, it’s not surprising that Karl would be quite concerned about Mary’s sexual orientation becoming (more) common knowledge. (You’d think she had ties to al Qaeda, as well.)
The press and the blogosphere have mainly charted the Bush counterattack in terms of these overwrought and falsely indignant “outing” charges. If you follow the flow of the campaign from a more visual perspective, however, you might see another aspect to the response. That angle is to innundate the (conservative) electorate with the face of Cheney’s “healthy” daughter.
In exhibit one, check out this Q. and A. section that just popped up on the Bush/Cheney website:
Annoited as an official campaign spokesman, Liz is now answering the hand-picked questions of all those Bush fundamentalists out there writing in to the campaign. Of course, as a woman and a mother of four, this qualifies Liz as an expert on family values.
In exhibit two, here’s a shot from the Bush/Cheney photo gallery showing the Anti-Mary on the campaign trail, reintroducing the Vice-President in Eugene, Oregon as the healthy father of a living, breathing heterosexual.
And in exhibit three (after stints last Wednesday on the O’Reilly Factor–where she primarily dodged questions about Mary, and on Thursday on CNN –in which Judy Woodruff was apparently too scared to even bring Mary up), here was the coup of the weekend: Karl managed to land the Anti-Mary (now, suddenly, a campaign “senior advisor”) on “Face The Nation” to debate Kerry’s senior advisor, Joe Lockhart. (The move was so slick, The Note didn’t even take note of it.)
Why the Kerry people agreed to that match up (especially during the “woman’s vote” blitz), I can’t figure out.
(image sources: Bush/Cheney ’04; YahooNews)