Friday, February 02, 2007

Now She Takes the High Road

''This is a baby,'' Vice President Cheney's daughter Mary said at a forum in New York on Wednesday. ''This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child.''

Last week the Veep grew testy in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer when the subject of Mary's pregnancy was raised, insisting this is a private matter.

I'd give them both resounding snap-snap you go, girls, except unfortunately this righteous indignation rings hollow and hypocritical.

Let us not forget that Cheney serves as second in command to a President who has several times publicly called for an amendment to the Constitution to prevent Mary Cheney's family from having any meaningful legal status. Let us not forget that Karl Rove -- whose father was gay -- engineered getting 11 anti-gay marriage initiatives on the ballots for the November 2004 election to increase the wingnut turnout.

Dick Cheney has betrayed the best interests and civil rights of his own daughter -- and now grandchild -- in order to serve an administration that turned gay people and committed same-sex relationships into the very brand of rhetorical props that Mary now claims to disdain. I didn't realize that "family values" meant sacrificing your own flesh and blood on the altar of political expedience.

Bush, Cheney and Rove courted the support of people who believe that Mary's relationship and pregnancy are threats to our very civilization. They continue to demonize people just like Mary on a daily basis, and continue to "accuse" liberal Democrats of supporting gay marriage. They rode to power on a message of fear and prejudice, trivializing the relationships and dignity of millions of Americans in the process.

Now you're angry, Mary? Because finally you're feeling victimized and cheapened by the ugly debate over your civil rights?

Wish you'd spoken up a few years ago. You brought this on yourself.


Andy said...

Hi, I've only had 1 comment in the last 36 hours and I'm feeling lonely, so I thought I'd start the ball rolling.

The Law Fairy said...

Well, I'll comment then -- even though I really don't have much substantive to add besides "right on!" ;)

I had to roll my eyes at Dick's saying Wolf shouldn't inquire into his personal life. First, Republicans are hardly the ones to call people out on below-the-belt potshots. Second, it wasn't a potshot. It was a valid illustration that Dick supports policies that hurt people, and it seemed very odd that he would support policies that hurt his own family. It's a bizarre sort of hypocrisy -- but I guess I'm just incapable of compartmentalizing my life that much.

Gino said...

since i'm not in the mood for a barrage of namecalling from your minions, i'll stay from this one.

Andy said...

I have minions?

LeshDogg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LeshDogg said...

There's considerable wrong on both sides here, I think. Is Wolfie wrong to take said potshot? Eh, maybe (as a more liberal-minded individual, I feel like saying, "Go get 'em!"). He should probably have taken the high road (maybe said something like, "Congrats on being a's the baby and it's mom(mies)?"). But having not seen the interview, I only question whether Wolfie's question came up in context or if it was a non-sequitur. In context, OK. Non-sequitur, then the question was out-of-bounds.

However, that doesn't give Cheney the right to be holier than thou about the whole mess. His political choices made this an issue. He should be held answerable for the decisions that he makes that put apparent strife on his family.

LeshDogg said...

Oh more point.

If the baby is "not a prop," then what was it doing (literally? figuratively?) at a forum discussion?

Can't have your cake and eat it, too, Mary.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, I dunno. She probably is being hypocritical. But isn't it better for there to be *someone* in the spotlight, especially in the GOP spotlight, providing an example of lesbian parenthood? Especially if she turns out to be a good mommy. Which I would imagine she would.

Steve Chapman said...

I don't have much respect for Vice President Cheney. He is a pompous, self-absorbed jackass.

I do however believe that we must be careful related to Mary Cheney and her pregnancy.

She did not ask for her father to be in politics. She did not ask for her relationship to be front page news.

She has lived her life on her own terms. She did not ask for the spotlight and we shouldn't think that she is going to be the "spokeswoman" of the cause.

We all have to balance loving our parents even when they may not understand our sexuality. Mary Cheney is doing the same thing just in public.

I think it is a bit hypocritical and mean spirited for us to call Ms. Cheney out in this situation.

Andy said...

Oh, Steve, I completely disagree. She wrote a book. She actively campaigned for her father and President Bush in both 2000 and 2004. And, as LeshDogg pointed out, she was speaking about her pregnancy at a public forum. She's not some private person who's been thrust unwillingly into the spotlight.

As I said in my post, she lent her time, effort and presence to a campaign that made demonizing families just like hers part of its platform. She deserves to be called out for it.

Yes, she's right to say this is a private matter and this is a baby, not a prop. She should have started saying things like that 7 years ago.

little-cicero said...

The fact that you are painfully neglecting here is that the Veep has NOT taken the same position as the Pres on the subject of gay rights. He has made clear his position that marriage is up the states, and I have heard neither he nor the President say anything about gay adoption.

Maybe the states rights is a political maneuver. I neither know nor do I care. Cheney can love his daughter and granddaughter while at the same time disagreeing with her choices. That's what parents do. You are wrong to call him a hypocrite because love has nothing to do with politics. He can have a loving relationship with his grandaughter while at the same time believing that future children should not be deprived of a father and a mother if avoidable.

Andy said...

because love has nothing to do with politics

Well, there's a sad truth.

I have heard neither he nor the President say anything about gay adoption.

Actually two years ago the President said, "Studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman." That is categorically not the case. All the available academic research that has been done (meaning, not done by conservative think-tanks who went looking for anecdotal evidence to support predetermined assumptions) show that "there is no scientific evidence that children raised by gay couples do any worse--socially, academically or emotionally--than their peers raised in more traditional households."

Cheney may well hold federalist beliefs that states should make their own determinations about same-sex marriage, but he's thrown his hat in the same ring with the folks who actively support a Constitutional amendment to prevent that from happening.

Nice spin, here. Children should not be deprived of a father and a mother if avoidable. 31% of America's children are raised in single-parent households. Stop holding less than 10% of the population responsible for the shortcomings of the other 90+%.

And are we talking parenting or marriage here, LC? Because as I've repeatedly shown on this blog, civil marriage has nothing to do with procreative intent or capabiility or desire to raise children. Similarly, if the welfare of children were really the right-wing's top concern, they would extend civil marriage to same sex couples, because they are currently depriving children in those households of a multitude of rights and protections afforded to the children (biological or otherwise) of civilly married heterosexual couples.

But back to Cheney. No, he's not made the same hay over homosexuality that the President has, that's for sure. But I'll close by adding that Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has said that indifference is more dangerous than hatred.

kr said...

'Have to say, LC, that it seems more likely that partners in a homosexual relationship are both going to make the emotional buy-in on a lifetime committment to the kid--because the effort to get or to birthe a kid is actually an _effort_.

Not so much, any given heterosexual, single or committed. For heterosexuals, effort is required to NOT conceive, and even then, it sometimes happens anyway ... and then there is the maze of "rights" about who gets to decide what about the fate of a child at various points in the child's life ... there are lots of ways heterosexuals can end up with unparented kids.

One good thing about society staring hard at homosexual couples with children, they get the kind of scrutiny perhaps all parents should get. Imagine how much abuse would no longer slip under the radar, how much childhood hunger, if we all admitted we are responsible to ALL the children, and demanded that ALL parents be "good parents," not just the (I hope I use this term correctly) societally looked-down-upon parents.

Like so many "conservative issues" (ie, excuses to condemn our neighbor), we should concentrate on building up the human support structures that maximize healing instead of standing back and declaring, "Well, you're just Wrong!"

kr said...

major typo: "(I hope I use this term correctly)" was from an earlier thought that I editted out--incompletely.

sorry so nonsensical.

Matthew said...

"... she lent her time, effort and presence to a campaign that made demonizing families just like hers part of its platform. She deserves to be called out for it.

Yes, she's right to say this is a private matter and this is a baby, not a prop. She should have started saying things like that 7 years ago."

Right on, Andy! Well put.

Matthew said...

I should also add that the vice-president's official government website lists that he is married, and names his wife and his daughters.

Cheney, politicians and society in general needs to really decide whether or not someone's personal life is truly personal. You can't refuse to discuss your family one minute, and then mention it by name the next.

little-cicero said...

I just don't understand why she and her father can't work to see that their man is elected while disagreeing with him on an issue. This is not a matter of hypocrisy because the VP has not spoken out against gay marriage. You are guilting him by association here.

As for the argument of gay adoption...that is for another day. I would like to reitterate that I (and possibly the President) believe that two gay parents are better than one straight parent or no parent. Gender aside, adopting parents are of equal quality due to their willingness and altruism, but when you account for gender, nature itself suggests that a child should have a parent of each sex if possible. Men and women have different contributions to offer- some documented and some undocumented. To me that is obvious.

little-cicero said...

Matthew, that comment is ridiculous. Are you serious? I'm not making a stand, I'm honestly questioning whether you are joking.

Andy said...

LC, you're attempting to minimize a very serious issue here. The President openly supports A CONSTITUTIONAL BAN on legal recognition for Mary's relationship and protections for her child. This is not a "difference of opinion." The Republican Party has made demonization of gay people and non-traditional families a central campaign strategy across the country.

The way this strategy works is to dehumanize gay people and to trivialize their relationships and emotional bonds, and to baldly state that two men or two women choosing to make a public lifetime commitment to each other is by definition inferior to an opposite-sex couple doing the exact same thing. It's easier to make these kinds of assertions and generalizations when you're talking about "homosexuals" and not about, for example, someone with a name. Someone named Mary Cheney. Someone who has been a responsible adult, educated, professional, who has been in a committed relationship for 14 years, and someone who has made the conscious decision to bring a child into a stable household that is prepared for the responsibility. Mary is not unique in this regard. There are millions of gay and lesbian people in America just like her, who deserve respect and equal legal status.

It's fine for Mr. Cheney to have different opinions than the President. But it is not fine for him to stand silently by while his President campaigns on a message of fear and misinformation that he knows to be inaccurate and prejudiced. Come on, LC, the debate is not over whether gay marriage should be up to the states or not, it's about whether there's something wrong with gay people.

If Vice President Cheney really felt that a gay couple's decision to have and raise a child should be a private one, then he should not have allowed his President to make a campaign issue out of it. No one is exploiting Mary Cheney. Rather it's the opposite: we're tired of being exploited for her father's political gain.

Matthew said...

"Matthew, that comment is ridiculous. Are you serious? I'm not making a stand, I'm honestly questioning whether you are joking."

little-cicero, no, I'm not joking. Are you serious?

John Kerry got whammed by the press and, more importantly, Dick and Lynne Cheney, for even mentioning that Mary Cheney was a lesbian. This was, btw, at the same debate that the moderator acknowledged the president and Mr. Kerry's families, who were in the audience. There was no outcry then. Why not?

And simply saying, "Because Kerry said Mary Cheney was a lesbian" doesn't cut it. Then you're making homosexuality akin to some sadistic state of being. The analogy I like to use is that saying someone's gay is (unfortunately) taken by many to be the equivalent of saying that someone pushed a little old lady down the stairs. Saying someone's straight, or simply not acknowledging their sexuality, is aking to saying that they've helped a little old lady across the street with her groceries.

Sorry, but I'm not ashamed of my sexual orientation being mentioned, and if Mary Cheney is going to be having a baby with her partner, and Dick Cheney says he'll be "proud" to be its grandpa, then they shouldn't be ashamed to have it mentioned, either. Simple as that, saavy?

Oh, and you wrote:

"I would like to reitterate that I (and possibly the President) believe that two gay parents are better than one straight parent or no parent."

Um, the president wants a Consitutional Amendment to go through that would ban gay marriage and "any legal incidents thereof," which, in similar state constitutional amendments across the country, has been show in court to also ban domestic partner benefits. So, Bush is in support of measures that would strip gay couples of any legal stability to raise a child.

Perhaps next time you should just speak for yourself?

The Law Fairy said...


It's very funny to me to hear people talk about how important "balance" is in a marriage relationship, when very very often those same people are quick to criticize diversity initiatives.


little-cicero said...

Andy, I see your argument but you are basing it on the non-quantifiable perception of fear-mongering and dehumanizing. I don't agree with the president on many aspects of this issue. Like Matthew said, I probably shouldn't be speaking for him, because we disagree extensively.

Now that Andy has finally stated that this is about whether there is something wrong with gay people, I can finally clarify my view.

Unfortunately I have to take the Clinton way out and say, what do you mean by "wrong"? I believe that homosexuality is wrong, but being that gays cannot choose their orientation, I don't think you can say that something is wrong with THEM.

At the same time, on my side there are millions of true bigots whose ideas about gays might drive me out of the room in disgust- I truly feel guilt for relying on their votes to do what I think is right.

Still you must understand that I and many others believe that there is nothing wrong with gays AND that their relationships are not equal in all respects at the same time. I can believe that you and your future boyfriend are good people (which I probably would) and that your union is not a marriage and is less preferable for the raising of children- at the same time.

From my perspective, seeing this as a rational debate about what is best for the institutions of marriage and parenting, there is no hypocrisy. If you see this as bigots vs. gays then you are right to call Cheney a hypocrite, but you are overlooking the true debate that is being undertaken in the realm of the rational. Maybe I'm wrong- the fact that I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh may be depriving me of the rational vaccum I so desperately need to see this debate as you do.

little-cicero said...

Matthew: You're right, I should not and DID not speak for the President, but I did take into consideration his views which I was sparsely aware of. Notice the use of the word "possibly"- speculation can be used in honest discourse. Now I know what the President's views are- how wonderful!

As I said to Andy in the prior comment, this is a rational discussion to me. I have my prejudices about homosexuality and am very open about them, but all that I want done about homosexuality is... Nothing! If all that I want done is to solidify the age-old definition of marriage and to give preference to quality straight couples in adopting children (on non-bigoted grounds) then why would I be considered a hypocrite in Dick Cheney's position.

The question here is whether Cheney is a hypocrite due to Bush's policies. That being said, despite my partial ignorance of Bush's particular views ranging from several years ago, I must try to incorporate his ideas into the discussion of my own.

The reason I called your comment ridiculous is that posting family members does not constitute discussing family members. Mostly though, in the discussion of bringing up family members in politics you're talking about decorum and respect for human dignity. It's only right to bring up family members in political discourse if they are involved in the policy at hand.

You could say that Mary Cheney plays an emotional role in Cheney's policies. Were it in the proper context the VP would be wrong to be hostile in his response, but Blitzer did not give a heads-up or "advise and consent" here.