Saturday, October 16, 2004

Further thoughts on the Mary Cheney remark

Last night I mentioned that I didn't think Kerry and Edwards will be seen to have dug themselves into a hole unless we can convince people somehow that there really is a hole. And that it would take an honest, unblinking examination of the incident by the media to reveal that hole.

I slept on it. I take it back. Sort of.

I'm convinced the issue isn't going to sway Kerry voters to abandon him and vote for George Bush. And although Kerry is attempting to divide Bush's supporters on the issue of gay marriage, that's not going to happen either. The incident won't send Bush supporters scurrying toward Kerry. Any Bush supporter who fears catching gay cooties certainly isn't going to vote for someone as far left as Kerry.

But for those who haven't been following the campaigns closely, all they're going to hear is the basics: "Kerry said that Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian." These people aren't going to pay close attention to the "nuance." They're not interested in analyzing the context to see if the comment was appropriate. They won't bother to deconstruct the incident into meaninglessness. They will know right away that it wasn't appropriate. And in that sense, the potential disaster for Kerry here is great.

If this campaign is going to be determined by undecided swing voters, then I take back what I said earlier. Kerry may have just lost the race.

I don't particularly like coming to that conclusion, because it suggests that Bush's victory depends on people who aren't thinking deeply about it. But maybe I can look at it another way. This election is going to be determined by people who vote by gut instinct.


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