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But the Bigotry Is Real


For those waiting for the mask to fall completely away from fake libertarianism (i.e. foaming-mouth reactionaries who use token support for choice and gay rights as a way to put lipstick on a really ugly pig), I think you can stop waiting. As part of a delusional willful blindness–yes, they really seem to think there’s a consensus that Bush won the debate–this exchange between paradigmatic fake libertarians Kaus and Reynolds is really something. Reynolds breathlessly claims that “Lynne Cheney is letting Kerry have it for dissing her daughter.” How, might you ask, did Kerry “dis” Mary Cheney? Let’s look at the relevant part of the transcript:

KERRY: 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.

What a monster! How could he….er, actually, this doesn’t “dis” Mary Cheney in the slightest–it’s positive in tone and substance–unless you think there’s something wrong with being gay. So are Reynolds and Kaus just rank bigots? Perhaps, but their argument on its face is almost as stupid as bigotry itself. According to Mickey, with the assent of Reynolds, the fact that Bush’s base consists of a large number of rank homophobes means that mentioning the publicly acknowledged reality of someone’s sexuality should be out of bounds–indeed, “creepy”. The intolerance of the Republican base, therefore, is a reason to vote against Democrats. Wow, fake libertarianism doesn’t get any more fake than that! Sullivan thoroughly demolishes this nonsense:

I keep getting emails asserting that Kerry’s mentioning of Mary Cheney is somehow offensive or gratuitous or a “low blow”. Huh? Mary Cheney is out of the closet and a member, with her partner, of the vice-president’s family. That’s a public fact. No one’s privacy is being invaded by mentioning this. When Kerry cites Bush’s wife or daughters, no one says it’s a “low blow.” The double standards are entirely a function of people’s lingering prejudice against gay people. And by mentioning it, Kerry showed something important. This issue is not an abstract one. It’s a concrete, human and real one. It affects many families, and Bush has decided to use this cynically as a divisive weapon in an election campaign. He deserves to be held to account for this – and how much more effective than showing a real person whose relationship and dignity he has attacked and minimized? Does this makes Bush’s base uncomfortable? Well, good. It’s about time they were made uncomfortable in their acquiescence to discrimination. Does it make Bush uncomfortable? Even better. His decision to bar gay couples from having any protections for their relationships in the constitution is not just a direct attack on the family member of the vice-president. It’s an attack on all families with gay members – and on the family as an institution. That’s a central issue in this campaign, a key indictment of Bush’s record and more than relevant to any debate. For four years, this president has tried to make gay people invisible, to avoid any mention of us, to pretend we don’t exist. Well, we do. Right in front of him.

Heh. Indeed. Ouch!

UPDATE: Again, Edroso is a must-read on the subject. Wolcott as well.

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