Interesting, though typically ultrapartisan, column by Frank Rich of NYT today:
As usual, Rich sees hypocrisy only among his enemies, and he should have done well to include an acknowledgment that Kerry's and Edwards' mentions of Mary Cheney in the debates were cheap, trashy, and nakedly ambitious, by no means a behavior indicative of a worthy national leader or a decent human being.
However, Rich correctly points out that it is impossible to "out" someone whose procilvities are as well-known as those of the young Ms. Cheney, which Bush supporters have accused Kerry of doing in his awkward and seemingly bizarre mention of her during Debate 3. As Rich notes, there is evidently something else behind the Republicans' protests at Kerry's debate gambit:
"To understand what strange game is playing out here, you must go back to the equally close 2000 election. In the campaign postmortems, Karl Rove famously attributed his candidate's shortfall in the popular vote to four million "fundamentalists and evangelicals" in the Republican base who didn't turn up on Election Day. A common theory among Bush operatives had it that these no-shows had been alienated by the pre-election revelation of Mr. Bush's arrest for drunk driving years earlier.
"The current Bush-Cheney campaign clearly believes that for these voters, Mary Cheney's sexuality could be a last-minute turnoff equivalent to Mr. Bush's D.U.I. history. When Rich Lowry of National Review said on Fox that "millions and millions of people" were not aware that Mary Cheney was gay until Mr. Kerry brought it up, it was clear just which four million he was talking about. Mr. Kerry, his critics all speculate, was deliberately seeking to depress voter turnout among Mr. Rove's M.I.A. religious conservatives by broadcasting Mary Cheney's sexuality to them for the first time."
Exactly. To which I should add, if the religious conservatives are so out of it that they don't know about Mary Cheney, and so short-sighted as to stay home because the vice president has not chained his daughter up in the Blair House attic, then any party that depends on their votes has no right to claim the White House.