Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Friday, October 15, 2004

Kerry's Lesbian Fixation

posted by Jazz at 10/15/2004 04:01:00 PM


Is it a fixation? Was it appropriate for him to mention Dick Cheney's daughter during the last debate? It's certainly a talking point which has the BC04 team screeching in righteous indignation. This is some very sensitive ground to tread upon, but I've found a source for opinion on this which I think merits a look. Dennis, over at The Moderate Republican has weighed in on two aspects of this issue that both deserve consideration.

Before I quote him, however, it seems prudent to mention that Dennis is coming at these questions from a fairly unique perspective. He's black, he's gay, he's a Republican, and he's a minister who lives in the mid-west. Now, I realize that many of you are fighting an immediate urge to rush out to his house and get a photo before the species is completely extinct, but let's respect his privacy, shall we? Before you click over and read his entire analysis, (which is well worth the time) allow me to chime in.

On to the two aspects of this which I found of interest. The first point Dennis makes concerns why it might be natural for Kerry to highlight the sexual orientation of the Vice President's daughter.

"First, this really shows how scared the far right is concerning homosexuality. For them it is shameful and should be something that is not talked about, in other words keep it in the closet. It seems like the Bush campaign and their far right allies want to use this opportunity to slam John Kerry as opportunistic and mean."

The second point, which took me longer to see, speaks to why it still might have been in poor taste. The analogy used rings true in my ears.

"However, John Kerry probably should have left mentioning Mary alone. Mickey Kaus noted if a white candidate had a black spouse, and the other candidate mentioned that when talking about race, it would be considered a little over the top. I think Kerry could have made the point without talking about Mary, but it was kinda like a tempting apple that he had to bite into."

A little over the top? That's putting it mildly. When you think of the comparison to a mixed race couple, the difference becomes obvious. Commenting that an opponent had a spouse of a different race would be political suicide, so there is a case to be made that a comment about a gay relative is equally suspect. On the other hand, however, is this a sign that our country as come a bit further in general acceptance of our gay citizens? To be comfortable in discussing it in a matter of fact, accepting fashion might actually be a sign of hope. We just need Republicans to start treating the subject in the same fashion.

I've gone on and on about the need for the GOP to open up a true "big tent" and to shed the image of the Republican party as the "good ole' white boys' club." This sort of incident is, I think, an indicator that the Democrats are still light years ahead on that score, and our party needs a wake-up call to the realities of a diverse, accepting voting populace.