IN THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE BY WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, you can almost hear him lilting, “the RNC doth protest too much, me thinks.”
In particular, I liked Buckley’s lines:
Sen. Kerry was commenting on the referee’s question, previously answered by President Bush, whether to be gay is a matter of choice or a matter of biological determination. Bush had said he couldn’t give the final answer to this. Kerry said: All you need to reflect upon is that the daughter of your running mate is herself gay and isn’t for that reason in the least thought less of by her parents, or by me, or by the voting public.
Mr. Bush said nothing more, and there were no indications, on leave-taking, that he had been offended by the use of Ms. Cheney’s lesbianism to make a political point.
Later in the piece, Buckley writes;
It is not in question that Mary Cheney’s gayness had already become a part of the cast of characters in the political play. Senator Kerry was in no sense “outing” someone who had hidden her sexual impulses. So that the question narrowed to whether what was said was an expression of magnanimity and inclusiveness, or whether it was a bid for votes from the bigoted.
This last interpretation of it was taken by an evangelical Christian politician, Gary Bauer, who ran for the presidency four years ago. He reasoned as follows: that traditional-values voters would react to the public reference as to an animadversion against the Bush ticket, and that by saying what he had said, Kerry could reasonably hope “to knock l or 2 percent off in some rural areas by causing people to turn on the president.” This view holds that Kerry was in fact trading on bigotry.
That position is of course irreconcilable with the position that Mr. Cheney has profited politically from publicizing his daughter’s gayness — that he has, in effect, said to the gay community: Look, my own beloved daughter is a member of the Cheney family, and a member also of the gay community. You can hardly suspect in the GOP ticket prejudice against gays, when you see that we have one in the family, whom we cherish.
Buckley never answers his own question, but the course of his response and its methodology implies that he is disgusted by his fellow conservatives’ behavior.
If Buckley were to amend his piece in the next few days, he might even write that those who doth protest too much are now unambiguously politicizing Mary Cheney themselves.
Thanks to SB for sending this article my way.
— Steve Clemons