Wednesday, May 10, 2006

So now she has written a book about being a self hating lesbian...and becoming just another media whore....well not really but...

Cheney's daughter tells the inside story
In her new book, Mary focuses more on politics, less on homosexuality

Updated: 10:01 a.m. ET May 9, 2006

NEW YORK - "Are the eyes too much?" (No the horns are)

Mary Cheney is peering into the makeup artist's mirror in the early hours of the morning, getting "done" for her appearance on "Good Morning America" with Diane Sawyer. Taped to the mirror is the list of today's guest stars. The name Nick Lachey -- aka the soon-to-be-ex-Mr. Jessica Simpson -- she recognizes. Totally clueless on actress Emmy Rossum. Needs some prompting on Josh Lucas ("Sweet Home Alabama"? Hottie who ends up with Reese Witherspoon?).

Let's say she's a little bit out of her element. Mary Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, had made it her business to fly under the radar. She's a pro at shunning the limelight. As the openly gay daughter of a man running for office in a party opposed to gay marriage, she took the hits and let them slide off her as if she were coated with Teflon. Kind of like daddy.

Alan Keyes refers to her as a "selfish hedonist"? No response. Gay-rights activists lampoon her by putting her face on a milk carton ("Have you seen me?")? No response. Her sexual orientation becomes fodder for a presidential debate? No response.

Protesters show up in her hideout home town of Conifer, Colo., and plant a "Bride of Satan" sign outside her house? Nope, not a word.

Until now, that is. Cheney's self-written story of life as a political daughter, campaign strategist and happily partnered gay woman is out this week, with a carefully planned media campaign surrounding its release. At 37, she's trying out the Washington life -- swapping snowboarding in the Rockies for commuting on the Dulles Toll Road -- and heading out on the publicity trail while longtime partner Heather Poe rips up pink shag carpet in their new Great Falls home and consults with Lynne Cheney, Mary's mom, about redecorating plans.

Focus on sexuality
Called "Now It's My Turn: A Daughter's Chronicle of Political Life," Cheney's book is primarily an insider's story on campaign politics, a primer for those outside the D.C. political bubble on what life is really like in the midst of a presidential campaign -- with the added insight of what it's like to be a candidate's child. (Cheney served as her father's personal aide in 2000, then as director of vice presidential operations on the 2004 campaign).

It's the other 10 percent of the book, though, that the title speaks to -- and that has earned early public focus, from Vanity Fair to People to Sawyer, which is why she's moving through the hallways of the "GMA" studio on this particular morning, dressed in a tasteful gray suit with a splash of color -- turquoise -- added by the shirt underneath. She is the essence of understatement. Hasn't she always been?

Lucas goes by -- also in gray, but with that early-morning sexy stubble he's perfected -- and neither bats an eyelash of recognition. Lachey's bandmates look up as her Secret Service entourage passes the greenroom and they have that "huh?" look of "who was that?" Rossum glides by in a cascade of gorgeous brown curls, getting briefed by an assistant on the other boldface names gracing the hallways on this particular Monday morning.

"Oh, Mary Cheney is here," she's told.

Her eyes light up for an instant.

"Mary J. Blige?"

Um, no, not exactly.

Speaking her mind
Only a woman with Mary Cheney's gift for understatement could write a book that essentially says she thinks the president of the United States -- that would be her father's boss, mind you -- is trying to "write discrimination into the Constitution" and that this effort is a "gross affront" to herself along with gays and lesbians everywhere.

That would be in that "10 percent of the book"-- Cheney's own description -- where she writes about coming out to her parents, how she felt about John Kerry and John Edwards bringing up her sexuality in campaign debates, and where she stands on the Federal Marriage Amendment Act, which would ban legal unions between same-sex partners. She opposes it and describes her own relationship as a marriage.

"I didn't sit there and think 'I can't really do 11 percent,'" Cheney says, in a classic moment of caustic wit. "If I wrote a whole chapter [about coming out] I think it would be pretty boring."

Actually, she manages to tackle a seminal issue in many gay people's lives in a handful of paragraphs. To summarize what she's already summarized:

She was 16. She and her first girlfriend had just broken up. She skipped school, crashed the car, came home and decided it was time to just do it. Mom cried ("Your life will be so hard") but quickly came around. Dad said he loved her and just wanted her to be happy. The end.

Only it's not the end, because now everybody wants to know about it. It is, she laughs, the most-cited passage in the book -- and here she thought her book was really about showing those millions of people who do not live in the political bubble what it's really like to be inside a political campaign. Ha!

Jokingly asked what kind of car it was, she immediately shoots back, deadpan: "It was a 1982 Toyota Starlet. Tan. Hatchback."

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