Tempest in a Gay Teapot

So Republican outrage — outrage, I tell you! — continues to burn. A few points.

  • I’ve said it before, but apparently I need to say it again: if you think “lesbian” is an insult, then you’re probably anti-gay. Or as I wrote in an update to my live-bloggin’ post from debate three:

    Now to editorialize on the Republicans trying to make an issue of Kerry’s lesbian reference: Kerry’s answer only insulted the Cheneys if you believe gays are immoral or inferior. Your protests are disingenuous at best; more likely, they reveal your dark hate.

  • It’s a bad sign that the media decided to focus on this, rather than the more outrageous error, Bush forgetting/lying about whether or not he cares that OBL remains at large:

    Here’s Bush on 3/13/2002:

    And I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don’t know where he is. I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban. But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became — we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his al Qaeda killers anymore.”

    Bush on October 13,2004, in Debate III:

    KERRY: Yes. When the president had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, he took his focus off of them, outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, and Osama bin Laden escaped.

    Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, “Where is Osama bin Laden? ” He said, “I don’t know. I don’t really think about him very much. I’m not that concerned. ”

    We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror.

    SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?

    BUSH: Gosh, I just don’t think I ever said I’m not worried about Osama bin Laden. It’s kind of one of those exaggerations.

    Of course we’re worried about Osama bin Laden. We’re on the hunt after Osama bin Laden. We’re using every asset at our disposal to get Osama bin Laden.

    [To get the full measure of Bush’s dissembling, you really need to hear and see the way he emphasized “exaggeration,” speaking slowly and emphasizing each syllable: exag-ger-a-tions.]

  • Seriously, Bush is confused or dissembling about how much he is focusing on capturing a man who would like — as we are constantly reminded — to kill us all! But what are we concerned about? Kerry saying, of an openly out woman who has worked in gay outreach for Coors and is currently employed by the Bush-Cheney campaign,

    “We’re all God’s children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was, she’s being who she was born as.”

    It’s freakin’ astounding. We’re all gonna die! Who cares, look over there! John Kerry said “lesbian.”

  • We’ve long known, at least since Rick Santorum said “Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?”, that Republicans have a hard time distinguishing actual threats that could kill straight (and gay) people from “threats” that have no impact whatsoever on straight people’s lives. Now we know that the craven sheep on the cable networks suffer from that same affliction.
  • On the other hand, the good news in this kerfuffle is that it’s a pretty clear sign of desperation from the Bush camp. And, after losing three debates and witnessing the polls turning, it’s no surprise that they are desperate.

    And let this be a warning: this is probably only a modest foreshadowing of what the rest of the campaign will look like. It’s going to be an ugly three weeks. And if you don’t believe me, read this.

  • And speaking of outrage, has anyone seen a statement from Mary Cheney or her partner? I can’t really take Lynne Cheney’s crocodile tears seriously, given that in her book, Sisters, she wrote this passage:

    The women who embraced in the wagon were Adam and Eve crossing a dark cathedral stage — no, Eve and Eve, loving one another as they would not be able to once they ate of the fruit and knew themselves as they truly were. She felt curiously moved, curiously envious of them…Let us go away together, away from the anger and imperatives of men. We shall find ourselves a secluded bower where they dare not venture. There will be only the two of us, and we shall linger through long afternoons of sweet retirement. In the evenings I shall read to you while you work your cross-stitch in the firelight. And then we shall go to bed, our bed, my dearest girl.

    In fact, reading that cheese, I can’t take Lynne Cheney seriously at all.

  • I could go on, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll simply refer you to this story in Salon.


UPDATE: I’ve “emboldened” Kerry’s quote first because it lets me use the world “emboldened,” and second because as commenters point out, the stories on his remarks all to often omit the relevant quote. If you read his actual quote, I think it’s a quite humane statement, “we’re all God’s children,” with an implicit, “including Dick Cheney’s daughter, despite what many of your supporters belive.”