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Why conservatives can't handle Mary's (and Heather's) baby

Andrew Sullivan has an excellent piece up at The New Republic about the knickers-in-a-twist position the Republicans are in as Mary Cheney’s baby destroys a conservative delusion

Forced to confront a gay, pregnant, partnered conservative in their midst, the party’s past sure-fire strategy of hellfire and damnation falls flat. The fire-breathing bible-beating faction of the far right fringe has been predictable and consistently unhinged in its response to Cheney’s pregnancy, but the rest of the conservative movement (the ones who accept gay and lesbians in private), dependent on the Christosupremacists as its Republican Base, has found itself floundering when it comes to taking a public position on marriage equality, amendments, and partnership rights in light of Cheney and Poe’s family business.

Conservatives who don’t believe that homosexuality is some kind of choice, who have gay friends and peers, and who are not animated by religious certitude, have adopted the public-disapproval-private-tolerance position.

They go along with the ferociously anti-gay policies of their Christianist allies because their political coalition would collapse without such an alliance. But they tend to refuse to join the fight for or against these policies. They prefer to stay silent on the amendment to the federal constitution to ban legally enforceable rights for gay couples, or, if forced to deal with it, they point out that the amendment never had a chance of succeeding. Their preferred position is complete silence on the subject or a demurral that it is a state matter. Asked what they believe in their own states, they dodge. Their severest disapproval is reserved not for those engaged in aggressive demonization of gays but for those who have the rudeness and effrontery to bring up the demonization.

If you want to see a prime example of the right squirming in its seat over what to say or do, take a look at what Jonah Goldberg’s solution is to addressing “the gay problem,” after the flip.

…Jonah Goldberg, is a nimbler enabler of anti-gay discrimination. He rightly surmised that any discussion of this issue could only expose the incoherence or cruelty of the right’s position on gay families, and so he advised saying nothing. He commented a day after the news about the absence of any mention of the pregnancy on The Corner: “I did like the radio silence around here.”

…Goldberg’s final position, it appears, is that he simply doesn’t give a damn. He can’t be bothered to take a position. But then he splutters, hearing a rising protest from the social right: “I do agree with, or am intellectually sympathetic to, many of their principled arguments on this stuff (depending on which social conservatives and which arguments we’re talking about).” Is that all clear now? Goldberg then approvingly quotes a reader who “gets my drift.” The reader writes: “You take a reasonable stance on this Mary Cheney thing: none at all.” And, yes, that is indeed Goldberg’s position.

In fact, it is now the only coherent conservative position on a matter made impossible to avoid by the living, breathing reality of a mother and her child. Their position is nothing at all. Neither for amending the constitution to bar gay marriage nor against it. Neither for gay marriage nor against it. Neither supportive of Mary Cheney nor hostile. After two decades of debate, discussion, state initiatives, lawsuits, protests, custody battles, and on and on, the last coherent conservative position is nothing. On Mary Cheney, they are forced to take a stand. But any stand either attacks the base of the party or attacks someone they know and love. So they have no alternative but to stand very still, say nothing, and hope that someone changes the subject. It is as close to intellectual and moral bankruptcy as one can imagine.

Well the one thing we can be sure of is that most Democrats are willing to oblige these cowards and would love to change the subject as well. They are in the awkward, equally morally bankrupt position of having endorsed a “leave it to the states” position that has supported the passage of state amendments that discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. We have been left hanging out to dry by both parties, one hostile, the other fearful of being too publicly cozy with the same homos they ask to fill their coffers.

And both parties have an ally in the mainstream media  (see Hey news media: what’s wrong with being gay?), seemingly incapable of covering gay pols, sexual orientation, gay scandals like Foley or topics about gay rights properly because of their own biases, ones they’d never admit to of course. Adam Reilly of The Phoenix said it quite well.

More broadly, repeatedly treating sexual orientation with great delicacy tacitly endorses the notion that being gay is something to be ashamed of.

…[O]n some level, it seems, even well-intentioned straight observers seem to think there’s something vaguely unseemly about being gay or lesbian. That sentiment may not be the only reason the media handle the issue as delicately as we do. But it’s part of the equation.

The MSM is right there with those Dems and Republicans running for cover. We all notice how the right pulls out the privacy card when it comes to talking about Mary Cheney. Since she ran her father’s campaign and prior to that worked as a professional homosexual for Coors, that doesn’t wash and they (the MSM, and Bush) know it.  This is about the rights of all gay and lesbian couples that don’t have the profile Cheney has, and the fact that the conservative gay elephant is right there in the middle of the room can’t folks from discussing the issue, the hypocrisy and the cruelty of the right.

You can’t shut this one down.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding