Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mary Cheney breaks silence too little, too late

By Steve Charing
Senior Political Analyst

Mary Cheney is a sham.
Just thought that you should know,
When we needed her to speak the most,
She was mum ‘til book dough made her crow

Mary Cheney, openly lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney is well known throughout the informed wing of the gay community. She had been out to her parents for a long time, was the gay liaison for Coors, and has a partner of 14 years. Right wing extremist goofball Alan Keyes had dubbed her a "selfish hedonist."

Recently Mary Cheney has been hitting the talk show circuit promoting her book, "Now it’s My Turn: A Daughter’s Chronicle of Political Life." I have not read it, nor would I ever consider it. I have seen and heard reports, however, that her book discloses her coming out issues including her brush with personal destruction, her family, and well as GOP politics and her father’s election campaigns.

Forgive me if I sound so loathsome towards Mary Cheney and her clan; that’s only because I am.

I took it personally when her father’s GOP, led by the rat named Rove, saw fit to label gays and lesbians as second-class citizens. They did this during the 2004 election campaign when Karl Rove managed to secure anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballots of 11 states to draw out so-called social conservatives (bigots) so they could tip the election towards the Bush-Cheney ticket. It worked, and I hate it.

But the lesbian daughter of Cheney quietly helped with the campaign while the President, conservative talk-show radio jocks, GOP surrogates, right-wing religious leaders and others vilified the gay community, some equating us with animals, incest, rape and polygamy.
An opportunity to defend herself and other lgbt individuals and to express strong opposition to this divisive tactic withered into eerie silence. So absent was Mary throughout these attacks that her photo was mockingly placed on a "Mary Cheney Missing" milk carton. Incensed gay advocates circulated the image around the Internet.

Now she is talking. The one million dollars she has received on her book advance obviously lured her out of the closet of silence. While she opines that the Republican-led effort to write discrimination into the Constitution is wrong, she ostensibly never explained why she didn’t speak out against it in 2004 or why her father couldn’t exert his vast, boundless influence to thwart the effort.

Even more disingenuous was her claim that she was piqued when John Kerry brought up her sexual orientation during the third presidential debate of the 2004 campaign She called his comments "a cheap and blatant political ploy," and that he tried "to make political points over my personal life."

Perhaps, but this faux outrage is coming from an openly gay woman whose Republican party used the wedge issue of "gay marriage" during the campaign to divide Americans. That certainly was a cheap political ploy, and its goal was to make political points. But it was carried out at the expense of millions of gay and lesbian Americans and their families.

Her repugnant mother Lynne ranted as well, calling Kerry "tawdry." Mary (and Mom) seemed to have forgotten that two weeks before Kerry’s comments, her father literally thanked John Edwards during the vice-presidential debate for his "kind words," which were similar to Kerry’s. What a family!

"I struggled with my decision to stay on the 2004 campaign," Cheney told ABC’s "Primetime." following President Bush’s statement that the nation must defend the sanctity of marriage. But instead of making a statement of her own, she remained on the staff and continued to receive her $100,000 salary from it.

More big bucks from her book advance coaxed Mary Cheney to finally speak out. The timing is right, however, since the dreaded second attempt of passing the Federal Marriage Protection Amendment is underway. But when it was needed most, her voice was silent. This time, it’s too little, too late.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Desperate GOP Trotting Out an Old Favorite

To cling to power, Republicans dredge up ‘gay marriage’ again

By Steve Charing
Senior Political Analyst

Take your pick: Iraq, soaring gas prices, Katrina, no-bid contracts, immigration, Iran, Dubai ports, unprecedented deficits, Dafur, CIA leaks, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, the Abramoff scandals, ethical behavior, secrecy, Big Oil, Haliburton, Tom DeLay, the Harriet Meyers debacle, insufficient health care, Teri Schiavo, global warming. Oh, did I mention George W. Bush?

These are not happy times for Republicans, and with good reason. Most, if not all, of these problems have the Republican finger prints all over them. All the errors in judgement, all the deceit, all the arrogance, all the incompetence was made in GOPland and attributed to their leaders.

Finally, finally the voting public has taken notice. Around three-fourths of those polled in a recent survey said the country is on the wrong track—a politically ominous sign. President Bush’s approval rating is in the low thirty percent area (it makes you question the sanity of the third of the country who still believe he is doing a good job) and Republicans significantly trail Democrats nationwide as to whom people would prefer running Congress.

The two principal concerns—Iraq and gas prices—are going to be the leading factors in what appears to be at the moment a major shift in the political winds. The "throw the scoundrels out" mantra is starting to be heard loud and clear, and Democrats hope that it will be reverberating in November.

Noticeable improvement in the tragic war in Iraq is unlikely to be realized by then. Gas prices will continue to trend upward. For the GOP dark clouds loom on the horizon because there is no upside potential for this administration, and we haven’t had the 2006 hurricane season yet! The revolving door of press secretaries and CIA directors will not stop the bleeding.

Republican strategists admit they have given up on trying to increase their hold on both houses in Congress; they are content to play defense and try to maintain what they have so that they may continue to control all three branches of government. They will use this strategy by reinvigorating their base, especially cultural conservatives.

The GOP is rightfully scared. So when a rat (named Rove) is cornered, it becomes mean and dangerous. What is the course of action? Appeal to the dark side of humanity, whip up the bigoted base and trot out gay marriage.

Why not? It worked in all 11 states in 2004 where a ban on same-sex marriage was on the ballot. President Bush was the beneficiary having won the swing state of Ohio, which many political analysts credit that issue as the tipping point in that state.

Retiring homophobic Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) will attempt to launch his presidential bid by bringing up once again a federal constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. The hearings for this endeavor begin June 5. It is likely to fail, but it offers crumbs to the "base."

These crumbs are needed to hold the base together. The latest AP-Ipsos poll indicates that many conservatives may sit out November’s elections because, among other reasons, Bush isn’t doing enough about ‘gay marriage.’ Despite all the problems facing this country—economically, politically, environmentally and socially—this is what some are obsessed about. What is wrong with these people? They were handed the Supreme Court, for heaven’s sake.

I predict the ‘gay marriage’ gambit will not pay off this time. Even some conservatives are opposed to a federal constitutional amendment that would infringe upon states’ rights. Former Missouri Republican Senator John Danforth, now an Episcopalian minister, calls such an action "silly."

When a person is paying $75 to fill up his gas-guzzler and American bodies keep coming back from Iraq, less worry outside the reddest of districts will be aimed at the marriage aspirations of Adam and Steve down the street.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

GOP still knows how to scare the voters

Letter Published in the Baltimore Sun
May 9,2006

I had to do a double-take to make sure I was correctly reading the name "Cal Thomas" as the author of "Republicans run out of gas" (Opinion • Commentary, May 3).

Mr. Thomas, a conservative, wrote a rare indictment of many Republican elected officials "who seem to care less about change than perpetuating themselves in office." He also cites faulty leadership in the White House as a major blemish on the party.

While I agree with Mr. Thomas that the GOP has applied the brakes on any good ideas for the sake of power and made a detour on traditional Republican values, I disagree with his claim that "Democrats are better at scaring voters than Republicans."

Mr. Thomas should recall how the GOP scared Americans into re-electing President Bush in 2004 on the basis of frequently hyped, color-coded terror alerts during the campaign to convince voters that only Mr. Bush was capable of protecting the American people.

They also scared many African-American, evangelical and Catholic voters in key swing states into believing that gay marriage would lead to the demise of society.

The Republicans may have run out of gas on fresh ideas and sound governance, but they seem to always have a reserve in their tank when it comes to scaring voters.

Steve Charing