“Fair game”

Mickey Kaus has a good discussion of last night’s debate. I particularly like his third point about John Kerry’s gratuitous mention of Vice President Cheney’s daughter. Kaus says there must be “some Machiavellian strategy behind the Democratic urge to keep bringing this up,” and he notes that, after the debate, Kerry’s campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said Cheney’s daughter was “fair game.”
To call the strategy Machiavellian is to give it a favorable spin. The strategy behind the “Democratic urge” is obvious. Mentioning that Cheney’s daughter is a lesbian, they feel, will not hurt them with voters who are for gay marriage because, to these voters, the label does not have a negative connotation. But the Kerry-Edwards team hopes that its approach will hurt Bush-Cheney with some voters who are against gay marriage.
The Democrats can’t resist this kind of stuff (Republicans would never try it because the MSM would crucify them). They believe that the Republicans are constantly beating them up with “wedge” issues (genuine Machiavellianism), and they see dragging Cheney’s daughter in for political gain as “turnabout.” They thus overlook the distinction between playing hardball over issues and taking cheap personal shots. They also overlook the possibility that, by treating Cheney’s daughter as “fair game,” they may alienate non-partisan voters with a sense of decency.
HINDROCKET adds: Lynne Cheney commented on Kerry’s disgusting ploy today:

Now, you know, I did have a chance to assess John Kerry once more and now the only thing I could conclude: This is not a good man.
Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick.

The Associated Press added helpfully: “She was not more specific.”
DEACON adds: Recall the way Dick Cheney handled when John Edwards brought this up during their debate. Cheney “thanked” Edwards for his words about the Cheney family and didn’t use the remainder of his 30 seconds. This was perfect. To those who didn’t realize what Edwards was trying to accomplish, Cheney sounded gracious. To those who did realize it, he sounded withering.
UPDATE: The Kerry Spot notes that John Edwards’ wife Elizabeth said on ABC Radio that Lynne Cheney “overreacted’ to John Kerry’s comments about the Cheney daughter’s homosexuality and “treated it as if it’s shameful to have this discussion. I think that’s a very sad state of affairs

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