Of course, one could argue it showed the same flaws in his style as well. Critics say that he actually could have had a bipartisan agreement in Congress on the faith-based intiative--there was strong support–-but he preferred scoring political points to building a broad consensus. (Even the guy who actually ran his program said Bush opted for going alone over bipartisanship: "I could cite a half-dozen examples, but, on the so-called faith bill, they basically rejected any idea that the president's best political interests-not to mention the best policy for the country-could be served by letting centrist Senate Democrats in on the issue."). Bush has, in fact, accomplished a great deal through unilateral action but did so in a way that didn't build a bipartisan political consensus that was within his grasp.

Mary Cheney Missing Again?

Was Mary Cheney, the vice president' lesbian daughter, missing again from the final family celebration on the podium after Bush's speech? I'm eager to hear the explanation but at first blush this continues to be appalling. Even the most conservative of religious conservatives say that it's the duty of the parent to give unconditional love to their child.

What possible explanation is there here that doesn't make the Cheneys look like ghoulish parents? I suppose we should wait for more information; perhaps she had an appendicitis attack and was immobile. More likely, either they discouraged her from appearing or she voluntarily exiled herself, not wanting to embarrass her dad, at which point dad should have said, "I love you. You belong up here with me."

As I wrote earlier, perhaps Mary said she couldn't wound her partner by going up there without her. If that was the case, the compassionate thing for the Cheneys to do would be take away the awkwardness by having the podium scene without spouses. They would have produced a slightly less cheery photo up but made a powerful statement about love, pride and family.

And this has nothing to do with one's position on gay marriage. Having Mary Cheney up there would have in no way contradicted either Dick Cheney or George W. Bush's policies on gay marriage. Bush should be asked about this, too. Powerful evidence was offered that, on a personal level, Bush is a compassionate man. So why didn't he go to Cheney and say: "Hey, don't sweat it Dick. Mary is part of our family. Don't worry about the politics"?

And for the Rebuttal, Cardinal Egan

George Pataki: "Senator Kerry says, 'America should go to war not when it wants to go to war but when it has to go to war.' Well, Senator: the fire fighters and cops who ran into those burning towers and died on September 11th didn't want to go to war, they were heroes in a war they didn't even know existed."

New York's Cardinal Egan, selected by the Bush campaign to deliver the benediction Thursday night: "Make us, Lord, a people of wisdom and understanding who resort to conflict only when all hope of peace is lost."

Ann Coulter? Meet Ron Silver

Overheard: Conservative author Ann Coulter to actor Ron Silver, who spoke at the convention.

Coulter: "Your speech was spectacular! Spectacular!"

Silver: "So, please remember when you hear me on West Wing, those are Aaron Sorkin's words, not mine. I'm an actor."

Woodrow W. Bush

As I stood on the floor of the hall last night, I was thinking this could have been a speech delivered by Woodrow Wilson, the liberal Democratic president who led America in World War I. Bush mentioned the poor more than Kerry had and was more idealistic than Kerry was in his foreign policy aspirations. "The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom," he said. Of course, it was the Republicans who argued at the time that such romanticism had no place in foreign policy and that the main goal of military strength should be defend America, not advance freedom.

Mary Cheney's Absence

I gather that after Dick Cheney’s speech, Mary Cheney, the vice president’s gay daughter, did not go up on the platform with the rest of the family--her sister, her sister's husband, and their kids.

This strikes me as potentially a huge and poignant story. Perhaps the Cheneys told her she couldn’t come up, but I think that’s extremely unlikely. I’m guessing that Mary Cheney faced an excruciating decision. If she went up without her partner it would be a huge insult to her partner. If she went up with her partner, it might hurt or complicate life for her father.

Dick Cheney could have avoided putting Mary in such an awkward position by not having any family members up after the speech, but then that wouldn't have been as good a photo op. Did he end up humiliating his daughter in order to get a better image?

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