06/15/2006 06:42 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Mary, Queen of Squat

Vice president Dick Cheney has just announced that he is traveling to Minnesota to campaign for a Republican congressional candidate named Michele Bachmann. If Bachmann has any recognition nationally, it's due to her shrill homophobia--she's one of those ultra-right wingers who's convinced there's a homosexual plot to take over the country. During a recent gay rights rally in Minneapolis, Bachmann was famously photographed squatting in the bushes, spying on just what it was that gay men and women do at these rallies. (She must have been disappointed to realize the answer was: Rally.)

Has Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, Mary, said anything about her father's support of one the nation's poster children for homophobia?


In fact, has Mary Cheney said anything recently about the Republican party's never-ceasing battle against gays?


Although she has gone on record supporting gay marriage (which her father, his boss, and all of her fellow Republicans stridently repudiate), Mary Cheney has also gone on record opposing politicians who support gays. She has called Democrat John Kerry a "son of a bitch," and has made it clear that she considers herself a blissfully happy republican.

On the other hand, Ms. Cheney has made a great deal of money as a gay rights advocate, both in a corporate sense (as a "liaison to the gay community," the kind of position that usually means you do nothing but accept money and act gay), and as an author--Simon and Schuster paid Cheney one million dollars to write a book about her life.

Thus, the openly gay Ms. Cheney seems to support gay rights only to the extent she can get money from it. Otherwise, she supports those who oppose it.

When you don't stand for anything at all, however, no one stands with you. The homophobic right wing has no respect for Mary Cheney, the more liberal gay community considers her a traitor, and no one in the middle cares.

It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that Mary Cheney's book, Now It's My Turn (a title horribly reminiscent of Nancy Reagan's own attempt at self-justification, My Turn), is more than just a dismal disaster. It is the Hurricane Katrina of recently published books. Given a reported advance of one million dollars, it has sold about six thousand copies, which means the publisher has lost over 90 percent of its investment so far.

(Random disclosure: I wrote a satirical book about Mary Cheney's father Dick, called Duck! for which I an advance that amounted to less than 5 percent of Mary Cheney's, but my book has outsold hers. Then again, Osama bin Laden's Etiquette Guide for Jewish Newlyweds would outsell Mary Cheney.)

Baffling to most people is why an otherwise intelligent company would publish such a disaster. (Second random disclosure: I was once an editor at S&S, still have friends there, and think very highly of the company). For that you can mostly blame Mary Matalin, whom S&S hired to create a line of conservative books. Maybe Matalin has learned her first lesson in publishing: When an author's only interest seems to be herself, it doesn't really matter what her background is, conservative, liberal, middle of the road, gay, or straight. No one other than the author cares.