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October 15, 2004

Lynne Cheney: A Pattern of Shame and Denial

By Byron LaMasters

My previous post about Lynne Cheney was getting a bit long, and I wanted to respond to this comment that Chris made:

In the case of Lynne Cheney, BOR writers headline that she's ashamed of her daughter. Show me where she said that. On the contrary, she has made it obvious for years, even in the aforementioned article, that she does NOT want her daughters' personal lives brought up in the campaign.

I'm not picking on Chris here, I just wanted to clear up some of the misconceptions coming from the other side today. For those not familiar with the context, Lynne Cheney said this regarding John Kerry's comment last night that Mary Cheney along with any other gay or lesbian could tell you that being gay or lesbian is who they were born as:

Lynne Cheney issued her post-debate rebuke to a cheering crowd outside Pittsburgh. "The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man. I'm speaking as a mom," she said. "What a cheap and tawdry political trick."

So, why does Lynne Cheney lash out like that? Easy. Salon wrote in 2000 about Lynne Cheney's response to a question about her daughter's sexual orientation. Lynne Cheney has a history of shame and denial about her daughter's sexual orientation:

On Sunday, the issue of Cheney's sexuality took an odd twist, when her mother Lynne denied ABC's Cokie Roberts' assertion that Mary Cheney has "declared that she is openly gay." An irritated Lynne Cheney shot back: "Mary has never declared such a thing. I would like to say that I'm appalled at the media interest in one of my daughters. I have two wonderful daughters. I love them very much. They are bright; they are hard-working; they are decent. And I simply am not going to talk about their personal lives. And I'm surprised, Cokie, that even you would want to bring it up on this program."

Either Lynne Cheney was absent in her daughter's life for most of the 1990s decade, or she is ashamed and in denial about Mary Cheney's sexual orientation. The fact of the matter is that it's inevitable that the personal lives of candidates and their children come up in a campaign, especially one for the White House. The personal life of the Cheney's other daughter has been displayed by the Cheney's in this campaign, whether it be when Liz Cheney appeared with her family (when Mary Cheney's family did not) after Vice President Cheney's speech at the GOP convention, or when Elizabeth Cheney says things like this in interviews:

E. CHENEY: No, I think this is an issue my dad's been very clear about. And, frankly, it's an issue that not a lot of Americans are spending a lot of time being focused on this election cycle. My family is out working very hard.

You know, I'm a security mom. I've got four little kids. And what I care about in this election cycle is electing a guy who is going to be a commander in chief, who will do whatever it takes to keep those kids safe.

So, it's fair to bring up Elizabeth Cheney's family, but it's not fair to bring up Mary Cheney's? Instead, Lynne Cheney resorted to denial in 2000. Saying "Mary has never declared such a thing" about Mary Cheney's sexual orientation is about as desperate a comment as saying "The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man" of John Kerry for bringing it up. Mary Cheney is not ashamed of her sexual orientation. Neither is John Kerry, but Lynne Cheney is ashamed. When Lynne Cheney sharply declared in 2000 that her daughter had never declared that she was a lesbian, that was a flat out falsehood. Salon continues:

Mary Cheney, 31, is not just any lesbian. Until May, she was the lesbian/gay corporate relations manager for the once-notoriously anti-gay Coors Brewing Co. In that role she became a key player in the pivotal "movement vs. market" debate raging inside the gay activist community, representing the point of view that corporate America is a better friend than government in advancing the cause of gay rights.


Judging from her efforts on behalf of Coors, Cheney will go the extra mile for a cause she believes in. To get gay advocates to drop their support for a Coors boycott, for instance, she traveled the country with the winner of the International Mr. Leather 1999 competition -- a hugely popular event on the gay-bar circuit -- meeting with gay leaders to advance the Coors cause.

Mary Cheney was active in the gay community before 2000 both privately and publically. In both he personal life, and her professional life, Mary Cheney was openly lesbian. However, her mother denied it. Why?

Posted by Byron LaMasters at October 15, 2004 12:36 AM | TrackBack


Mary Cheney is Director of Vice Presidential Operations for Bush Cheney 04,Inc. She is part of the political forum.

Posted by: jack at October 15, 2004 08:15 AM

You're stretching again Byron. An interview with CNNstudentnews is not the same as being used by your father's opposition in a national debate.

Not even the same ballpark.

Keep talking about it. Again, the GOP thanks you. =)

Posted by: Chris Elam at October 15, 2004 10:34 AM

You're stretching again Byron. An interview with CNNstudentnews is not the same as being used by your father's opposition in a national debate.

Not even the same ballpark.

Keep talking about it. Again, the GOP thanks you. =)

Posted by: Chris Elam at October 15, 2004 10:35 AM

Jack nailed it.

This is not an innocent daughter, like a 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton, as Dick and Lynne are feigning, but a nepotistic, paid political role Mary is playing in the campaign.

Dick needs to be confronted with the words "your lesbian campaign manager" until this sinks in.

Posted by: melior at October 15, 2004 03:13 PM

ABC poll has it 2 to 1, that comment was inappropiate.

And the Mighty Wurlitzer works its magic again.

There is no way ABC would have gotten that result if they'd asked the question right after the debate. But, after two full days of the SCLM repeating the GOP's nonstop crocodile tears, the VRWC has managed once again to convince most Americans of a complete falsehood: that Kerry "outed" Mary Cheney in the debate Wednesday night.

Just like they convinced most Americans that Al Gore claimed to have "invented the Internet."

Just like they convinced most Americans that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

The truth is, Mary Cheney has been out of the closet for over a decade. The truth is, she's running her dad's campaign. The truth is, John Kerry doesn't think there's anything wrong with that. (My opinion is, Dick Cheney doesn't either - probably the only issue he and I would agree on - but many Rethugs, apparently including both Lynne and the Shrub, do.)

But the GOP still controls the media, so the truth doesn't matter.

Posted by: Mathwiz at October 15, 2004 04:45 PM

To both those on the right and the left on this issue, maybe you should be looking at it as a generational conflict. Lynne Cheney is probably roughly around 60 ( I really don't know), and to her, having someone say that a person in her family is gay on national television is something that just isn't done in polite company. Now Mary Cheney is in her 30's, and to people in this generation, being out and gay is really not that big a deal.
Does this mean Lynne is ashamed of her daughter? I doubt it. Does this mean that Lynne feels homosexuality is a deviant or "non-normal" behavior? Rather likely. That's why she doesn't like to talk about it in public, especially to a large audience. And no matter that Mary would probably tell her mother it's no big deal, it is still a big deal to Lynne.
All this notwithstanding, I don't think that Kerry did anything wrong by mentioning Mary Cheney in the context of the question asked. And yes, it does show the hypocrisy of Republicans in that people among their top echelon would still support policies detrimental to thier family members to pander to their "base".

Posted by: grnwayrob at October 15, 2004 05:56 PM

peter, here's some numbers you'll also probably like: kerry 3, bush 0.

"lookin back at ya"

(seriously, wtf does that mean?!)

Posted by: Sal D at October 15, 2004 06:47 PM

Sal D,

I stopped trying to figure out what peter is trying to convey with his comments a long time ago. I'd block him from posting, but I keep them for comic relief.

Posted by: Byron L at October 15, 2004 07:01 PM

My opinion is that this was planned in advance by the Cheneys. They saw how Edwards brought it up in the debate, and said if it happens again, we're going to turn it against them.

As a gay person, I just don't get why this story even is out there. That's why I think it is manufactured.

I don't see how Mrs Cheney can say that John Kerry "is not a good man" when all he had were nice words for their family, yet the entire right wing of their party wants to put Mary Cheney back in the closet. Where was her outrage when Alan Keyes called her daughter a selfish hedonist? Surely if she is truly protective of her daughter she would have spoken up then. The fact that she didn't shows she is just using this for political gain.

Posted by: Jason Young at October 16, 2004 12:17 AM

If I were Lynn Cheney, I would be more ashamed of the lesbian sex novel I wrote a few years ago entitled "Sisters". Look it up on Amazon.com and read the mostly crappy reviews. Maybe she is embarrassed that her own issues/unfulfilled fantasies are bothering her....

Kerry was well within the bounds of decency, and this is yet another tactic by BC04 to deflect the heat from their failed administration and their disastrous policies--by manipulating public discourse. It is the Cheneys who are using their own daughter as a political pawn, not Kerry. Just my $0.02.

Posted by: Andrea M. at October 17, 2004 12:16 PM
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