THE BLOG

There's Something About Mary Cheney

Like many others, I was kind of hoping self-loathing lesbian Mary Cheney had just crawled off into a hole somewhere. Somewhere reserved for The Good Germans. But, no, she's back with a vengeance -- and a book deal.

In a desperate attempt to gain enough attention to earn back her million dollar advance, Wednesday she called John Kerry a "son of a bitch" for mentioning her homosexuality during the 2004 debates. After all, she was just trying to keep a low-profile as Chief of Operations for her beloved father's campaign, just a cog in the machine pushing libelous swift-boat attacks, which called Kerry a child killer. But Kerry and John Edwards, in response to questions about gay rights, had the nerve to call the openly lesbian daughter of the VP, a lesbian. Son of a bitch.

It seems that Mary shrewdly deduced that Kerry and Edwards were using her sexuality to play politics in, of all places, national political debates. And that outrages Mary, whose comments are coincidentally timed with the release of her book, which is coincidentally timed with the upcoming Senate vote on gay marriage. She was in the debate audience when Edwards famously praised her parents for speaking proudly of her, and claims she looked right at him and mouthed the words, "Go f*ck yourself."

Well, Mary, those of us who've read the excerpts of your book cordially invite you to do the same.

As for the book, lyrically titled "Now It's My Turn," well... let's just say there's no rush to finish Scooter Libby's period romance novella to run out to buy this work of "non-fiction." It ain't going nowhere. In the opening chapter-- a touching father-lesbian daughter moment-- Mary, or more likely her ghostwriter, sets the scene thus:

"We spent a week sitting in duck blinds in Argentina, hunting perdiz in Uruguay... talking about typical father-daughter topics: my plans for starting business school in the fall, how the rest of the family was doing, and whether or not we would be able to get in a few days of fishing in Jackson Hole later that summer."

The Cheneys' ongoing slaughter of wildlife is about the only thing that rings true in the first four chapters.

According to Mary, her loving father and their close-knit family had absolutely no idea that Dick would be tapped as VP. None! It came as a complete shock when George W. Bush turned to Cheney at his ranch "in the stifling Texas summer heat, and said, 'You know, Dick, you're the solution to my problem.'" That, according to Mary, is how it went down. The beginning of what could be one of the darkest periods in American history, thanks in no small part to her father, Lord Vader. And by the way, Mary, "problem"? What "problem"? Bush had been in serious talks with Senator John Danforth of Missouri, who even Mary and her ghostwriter call "a well-respected senator from a key battleground state." But I guess that's old dad Dick for ya', solving problems before they even arise.

For those who may be tempted to buy Mary's "political memoir" let me provide an appetizer typical of Mary's prose, which I believe will prove the entire book was written by an optional auto-feature on Microsoft Word: "As I drove home to Colorado, I thought about everything that had happened in the last few days and everything that lay ahead." Not generic enough for you? Well, if you click the "auto-fill-gay" feature, you get the next paragraph:

"I also had to consider Heather Poe, my partner, and her feelings on the matter. She is a smart, warm, funny, and incredibly private person who rarely enjoys being at the center of attention. Heather and I first met when I was in college -- I was on the women's hockey team and Heather played for one of the other teams in the league, and we started dating about a year after I graduated. In the eight years that we had been together, we had pretty successfully managed to stay out of the spotlight... 'It's not my first choice,' she said, 'but I love you and we'll figure out a way to deal with whatever happens next.'"

Really, Mary? That was really the conversation? Wow. Hope they aren't paying you seven figures to write original content for your new employer, AOL.

For those who can't get enough of Mary's literary efforts, she boasts she has a political thriller outlined, the first fifty pages already written. Hopefully it will prove more successful than her mother's lesbian-themed historical novel.

There is one section of the whole bad-faith endeavor that is mildly interesting. Upon her father's nomination, the media onslaught to get the exclusive interview with the lesbian daughter culminated in hilarious answering machine messages from Diane Sawyer, Maria Shriver, Connie Chung and others, shamelessly working every angle, and, of course, leaving their home numbers out of concern. Mary, an opportunist to the core, saved and transcribed the messages, most notably:

"Well hello, Mary, this is someone you don't know. It's Ellen DeGeneres and I just spoke with Mark, Diane Sawyer's producer, and they tell me you're going through a lot of stuff, so I thought I'd call and see if I can be of any help at all. Just support, I guess, and so call me if you'd like to. It's xxx-xxx-xxxx and we'll talk, all right? Bye."

Yes, Ellen wanted to help Mary Cheney. Particularly if it meant that special kind of help that can only occur under the diffused lighting of Diane Sawyer's set. Mary Cheney, the woman who kept her mouth shut as gays and lesbians were used as punching bags by her father's administration; Mary Cheney, who actually helped in her own persecution; Mary Cheney, who only spoke out when paid a million dollars, and even then only admitted to "thinking of quitting" when the Administration sought to nullify the life that she and her hockey-playing "life partner" had built together... This Mary Cheney, in her book of tortured self-exculpation, actually surprises us with a moment of unexpected candor:

"The only person I was tempted to call back was Ellen DeGeneres."

Maybe Mary is human after all. In the worst possible ways.