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    February 02, 2007

    Mary Cheney has it her way

    Posted by: Chris

    Mary_cheneyheather_poe When it comes to being gay, Mary Cheney is a tramp. Not because she sleeps around, of course, but because when it comes to her whether sexual orientation is public or private, she doesn't just want to have it both ways, she wants to have it every way. 

    When it suits her interests, usually financial, her sexual orientation is public and a subject of pride.  When it doesn't suit her interest, usually political, being gay is a private matter and she and her family feign offense that it's a  fit subject of conversation.

    Long before her father was elected vice president, Mary took a job at Coors Brewing Co., a brewery owned by an anti-gay family, to do outreach to gay and lesbian consumers.  Then, during the 2000 presidential campaign, her mother Lynne Cheney outright denied Mary was a lesbian and took offense when Cokie Roberts raised the question on ABC's "This Week."

    Through a term and a half of gay-baiting Bush administration policy, including an unconscionable push for a federal marriage amendment, Mary stayed silent, deeming the subject off limits.  In fact, she famously uttered an expletive when John Kerry and John Edwards referenced her during the 2004 debates.

    Only a year or so later, when Mary stood to make a buck on a memoir, her sexual orientation was again relevant, though she only put out as little as necessary to collect her paycheck. Now that the book tour is done and she's again off the dole, her sexual orientation and pregnancy are again off limits, even if under attack by her father's political allies.

    So, even though she was selected no doubt primarily for her sexual orientation to participate in a Barnard College panel discussion, Mary took offense that her pregnancy had been a matter of public discussion. From a New York Times account:

    "When Heather and I decided to have a baby, I knew it wasn’t going to be the most popular decision," Ms. Cheney said, referring to her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe. She then gestured to her middle — any bulge disguised by a boxy jacket — and asserted: "This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue. It is my child."

    Let's get this straight, so to speak. Her relationship can be a prop to sell books, but her pregnancy can't be a prop for politics.

    Not surprisingly, she defended her father's defensive reaction when CNN's Wolf Blitzer fawningly asked about the pregnancy as well. "He was trying to get a rise out of my father," Mary told a New York Times reporter. If that's the case, he clearly succeeded, since the vice president angrily dismissed the question as "over the line."

    Blitzer certainly didn't come across as "trying to get a rise" out of the vice president.  In fact, the only thing "over the line" was Blitzer's schmaltzy insistence at the time that he meant no offense by the question, "We like your daughters," he said.  (Who's "we," anyway?  CNN?  Time-Warner?  Americans generally?)  "Believe me," Wolf went on, "I'm very, very sympathetic to Liz and to Mary. I like them both," he said, referring to Cheney's other daughter, whose family is trotted out regularly to GOP events.  Would that every hardball question were thrown so softly.

    My good friend and former Window Media colleague Steve Koval minced no words in labeling Mary a "gay apologist" for her father and the GOP.  "You don't work to elect an anti-gay administration that uses same-sex marriage as a wedge issue to ensure victory, and then get to complain about how having a baby with your same-sex partner is somehow not a legitimate subject."

    In my view, you don't even need to go that far because that formulation can take you down a very slippery slope.   Having used her sexual orientation to make money on more than one occasion, and having joined the debate over gay rights in her book, Mary Cheney has no right to expect that she gets to pick and choose when she'll be asked the question.  Neither do her parents.



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    1. Alan down in Florida on Feb 3, 2007 2:17:39 PM:

      I can't even find a word that I can nitpick about. You are 100% correct and you know from me that's not an easy admission. But this posting is perfect.

    1. boomer on Feb 3, 2007 3:15:19 PM:

      Dan Savage's rant as a gay parent was especially on target. http://www.thestranger.com/blog/2007/02/the_passion_of_mary_cheney

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Feb 5, 2007 1:40:52 PM:

      When it doesn't suit her interest, usually political, being gay is a private matter and she and her family feign offense that it's a fit subject of conversation.

      If you'd like to tell us what relevance the sexual orientation of Dick Cheney's daughter has to his job, I'd love to hear it.

      And as far as the charge of "gay-baiting" goes, any gay person who voted for or gave money to John Kerry, who flatly stated that he had the "same position" as President Bush on the issue, or for Howard Dean, who flatly stated that the REAL Democrat Party platform was that "marriage is between a man and a woman" whilst on The 700 Club, needs to seriously consider their behavior in the light of that whole "mote in your neighbor's, beam in yours" thing.

      Mary Cheney demonstrates convincingly that a) one's life need not be ruled by their sexuality and b) a gay person can be out and successful without being a slave to the Democrat Party.

      Which is why gays like Dan Savage hate her; she threatens the entire ideology on which they've based their existence.

    1. Audrey B. on Feb 8, 2007 2:13:35 AM:

      I'm more intrigued by the little girl in the picture. She looks seriously pissed off about something. She must have totally missed Fairly Odd Parents to participate in this ridicules photo-op.

    1. raj on Feb 8, 2007 2:48:48 AM:

      Hey, whatever. Mary Cheney wants to be a professional lesbian when she wants to be--as when she was shilling for the Coors Brewing Company (owned by homophobes) to try to break the gay boycott against them, and she wants to be a non-lesbian lesbian when she wants to be, as she did in 2000, 2004 and now.

      I'm sorry, Ms. Profi Lesbian (and then not) Cheney, the world doesn't exactly work like that.

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