The Note

10. Vice President Cheney never really has been challenged in a sustained way for his failure to maintain the position he seemed to take in the Veep debate in 2000 -- in favor of letting states sort this issue out, rather than supporting a national constitutional amendment. Democrats cite this all the time as their strongest pushback on the controversy. As a matter of pure political discipline -- consistent (implicit) denial that the personal is the political -- the entire Cheney family is to be applauded.

11. In each of the last three presidential campaigns, one of the two major parties has tried to score political points on the issue of gay rights, and in each of those elections, the party that tried to make it an issue lost the election.

12. Very few Democrats support legalized gay marriage, while the Republican Party is divided on the wisdom of amending the Constitution at this stage of the controversy. Many GOP leaders in Congress have little enthusiasm for trying to get the amending process going.

13. The leading Republican pro-gay rights group, the Log Cabin Republicans, is unhappy with the President's support for the amendment; it isn't clear what they will do about that unhappiness from now through election day. They have run television commercials featuring Cheney's words and asserting their opposition to the amendment.

14. In the main, gay rights groups -- some of which Kerry met with on Friday in Washington -- are part of the liberal left coalition whose overriding mantra is "we badly want to beat George Bush -- check that, we MUST beat George Bush -- and therefore we are willing to overlook flaws in John Kerry."

15. It is almost certainly true that the national political press corps which covers this issue is more accepting of gay marriage than the nation as a whole; it is certainly true that the national political press corps does not fully appreciate the religious, moral, and psychosexual reasons why this is such an emotional matter for opponents of gay marriage.

16. Some suburban voters -- among the most key swing voters in this race -- and others, might be turned off by politicians pushing the issue of banning gay marriage at a time of war or economic crisis -- and/or by a sense that pushing a constitutional amendment to enshrine unequal treatment is unfair and unnecessarily anti-gay. And Republican strategists are well aware of this. This is probably the main reason that Republicans associated with the Bush campaign have only rarely gone after John Kerry on this issue so far.

17. Only in America could this type of legal, legislative, cultural, social, and political fight occur.

Now, on to this week's festivities...

Today, President Bush attends an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka, Kan., and then attends a fundraising reception, Atlanta, Ga. Sen. Kerry attends an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka, Kan., and then attends a rally with Howard Dean in Portland, Ore.

On Tuesday, the President makes remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. Sen. Kerry holds a conversation on economic opportunity in Portland, Ore., then attends a staff party at his campaign headquarters, Washington, D.C.

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