At the VP debate last Tuesday, Dick Cheney got to play the "good cop" role to George Bush's "bad cop," for a change, instead of the usual vice versa. Cheney sent the administration's positive comment half of their intentional mixed message about gay marriage. One of Cheney's daughters is gay, so he was the natural candidate for the "good cop" role to reach out to less conservative Republican and moderate voters.
He spoke positive words about his daughter's lifestyle, and then indicated that he does not support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He mumbled something unclear about states' rights, and then issue closed. Done. All this in direct contradiction to George Bush's earlier (now invisible) indignant public proclamations.
Later that evening on MSNBC, a Republican guest commentator openly chuckled with Ron Reagan about how gay marriage is a low priority issue for Bush and Cheney. They actually said (on camera!) what most voters now realize.....that Bush is using this issue only to "pander to their base." It's a low priority compared to Iraq, tax cuts for the very wealthy, privitization of social security to benefit the stock market, etc.
As I write this, I have my right hand on my Bible. Honest, they said it.
Gay marriage is a no brainer, no sweat political issue for Bush and Cheney, and nothing more. Bush may personally be opposed to gay marriage, but that has little connection to the ambitious, political man.
No brainer because it takes no strategic thought on their part. Bush pays lip service to supporting a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and he automatically draws conservative evangelical support. And apparently, he also draws a free pass on all other moral, financial and social issues.
Cheney has the gay relative, so he deliberately plays the other side of the street, thus signaling to others that they don't really mean it (i.e. Bush's words).
No sweat because everyone knows that a constitutional amendment will never pass, and that the issue will be decided in the courts. By judges who are already on the bench. So outside of lip service, their hands are tied. They can't...they don't have to...do anything. And whatever comes to pass, they can claim to be victims.
Bush and Cheney are clever politicians. I'll give them that. On the gay marriage issue, they've pulled off that most coveted political coup.....they are keeping their cake and eating it too, and their political base is blindly swallowing it.
It's sad, though, that millions of good, well-meaning conservative evangelical Christians believe their political hogwash, and plan to throw their votes away on this doubletalking good cop/bad cop twosome.