The tapes show Bush crafting a strategy for navigating the tricky political waters between Christian conservative and secular voters, repeatedly worrying that evangelicals would be angered by a refusal to bash gays and that secular Americans would be turned off by meetings with evangelical leaders.People say they like Bush because he takes a stand. That doesn't sound like much of a stand to me. Sounds like trying have your cake and eat it, too. Now, you could argue that all politicians do the same thing and I wouldn't disagree. In fact, it appears that the Bush administration has come up with a policy on gay marriage that strikes a fine if in my mind immoral balance. (By "fine" I mean "careful," not "good".) They get to make a nod towards the anti-gay conservatives, knowing full well that such a despicable amendment would likely never come to pass. Lynne and Dick Cheney even get to go on air repeatedly and say they're against such an amendment (but that in the VP's case, he'll "support the President") and that the states should have the right to handle the matter in whatever manner they see fit. But you'll notice what they very carefully avoid: they never, NEVER come anywhere near close to saying homosexual behavior is OK. That's the taboo. That's the thing that would infuriate their religious right.
On one tape, Bush explains that he told one prominent evangelical that he would not "kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"
So, even though Dick and Lynne Cheney's own daughter is gay and even though this powerful couple have a tremendous and historic opportunity before them to teach all of America a powerful lesson in decency and tolerance, they will remain silent on the matter. (John Kerry couldn't resist pointing out this hypocrisy, and he paid mightily for the awkward fashion that he did so.) A recent illustration: Lynne Cheney interviewed this past week by Terri Gross on Fresh Air. Gross asked her repeatedly to share he rpersonal thoughts on gay marriage and Cheney kept saying it's a states rights issue. She sounded angry as she repeated herself, but she never gave her personal opinion. She just parroted off the safe and distant answer again and again. I really believe Dick and Lynne Cheney are not personally anti-gay, but because of their behavior, they may as well be.
Bush and company may have gays in their administration, have gay friends and family, may even anoint gay men to be mouthpieces for the administration, but you're not going to hear them come out and say that, hey folks, all this anti-gay sentiment is wrong. We need to move along as a society and accept the fact that science and reason have comprehensively determined that this sort of sexual behavior is quite natural (of course, Bush himself may not believe that latter part, but I susepct the Cheney's do.) And that's not going to happen because that will lose the administration too many votes and too much support. So it's not taking a stand that all this is about; it's preserving support. That's not behavior possessing of any integrity, regardless of which party it's coming from. I long for a President--from either (or any) party who'll stand up and say, this sort of discrimination is wrong and here's why. Who'll educate the American populus. Guess, we'll be waiting a long while for that candidate. Kerry certainly didn't have the spine to come out that clearly on the subject.
In the recorded conversations, Bush also admitted he smoked pot. Who cares? His genuflecting before the religious right has done far more harm to his fellow Americans than any spliff toking he did all those years ago.