Return of the Manly Men

Article excerpt

Reminders that Mary Cheney is "with her partner" make the word partner sound less domestic and more Western. You expect a tumbleweed to bounce by.

During the presidential campaign, W's nannies had him meet with the Log Cabin Syrup Republicans. Afterward--and after a shower, no doubt--he said, in typical Bush Vaguespeak, that he had learned a few things. It's true he hasn't worn any of those turquoise Western-wear bolos in public. But he seems to have had front-row seats at the movie Being John Ashcroft and liked what he saw. He wasn't the only one.

The Ashcroft-kissing Congress listened to the former senator's lies under oath about not obstructing Jim Hormel's ambassadorship based on his sexual orientation just as if they were the truth--and, sans filibuster, confirmed him. Mr. Integrity then asked to be sworn in by Clarence Uncle Thomas under cover of night. May Christopher Dodd, the Democrat who voted for confirmation, be plagued by boils on his Connecticut yanker.

Perhaps because this is a Viagra-powered coup or because these guys are taking hits off Andrew Sullivan's testosterone drip, it is a very manly-man time. Include Karen Hughes. It is thus a very de-gayed moment. Chad may have been pregnant, but nobody suggested he was gay.

Despite the hushed reverential reminders that the Cheneys have a gay daughter, whenever those suckups we call the press hush-hush-whispered, "Look, there she is at the swearing-in, and she's with her partner," the word partner sounded less domestic and more Western, and you expected a tumbleweed to bounce by. There might be something about Mary, but she can't signify for all of us. And let's review: Only Dick Cheney, the Bush Whisperer, has the gay daughter. His lovely wife, Lon Cheney, demurs on the dyke thing.

Between the silence and the solemnity, there's not a lot of room for humor. Even before Clinton was elected, in the Clinton I versus Bush I campaign, there was that wonderful photo of Bill's and Al's heads air-brushed onto two intertwined buffed and bare-chested guys in denim cutoffs. The fun couple appeared on T-shirts, cards, and ads. I bet Bill and Al even had a laugh about it. …