Republicans to Purge Gay Staffers?

Max Blumenthal has a post at Talk2Action about the possibility that Republicans in Congress will begin to purge their staffs of all gays and lesbians because religious right leaders are now viewing them as a "homosexual clique" put in place to undermine the party:

Immediately after the scandal broke about former Representative Mark Foley, Republican of Florida, some anti-Republican gay rights activists composed a memo containing the names of closeted gay Republican congressional staffers and sent it to leading Christian right advocacy groups. The founder and CEO of one of those groups, the American Family Association's Rev. Don Wildmon, told me he has received that memo, which he simply referred to as "The List." Based on The List's contents, Wildmon is convinced that a secretive gay "clique" boring within the Republican-controlled Congress is responsible for covering up Foley's sexual predation toward teenage male House pages. Moreover, Wildmon calls on the Republican Party leadership to promptly purge the "subversive" gay staffers.

"They oughta fire every one of `em," Wildmon told me in his trademark Mississippi drawl. "I don't care if they're heterosexual or homosexual or whatever they are. If you've got that going on, that subverts the will of the people; that subverts the voters. That is subversive activity. There should be no organization among staffers in Washington of that nature and if they find out that they're there and they're a member, they oughta be dismissed el pronto."

And in fact, the Republicans may well try and turn the current investigation into the Foley scandal into a witch hunt to find gay staffers who might have known what was going on:

While Hastert never suggested his staffers were part of any gay Republican "clique," openly gay Hill staffers who had contact with Hastert's staff and his congressional allies have become subjects of a House Ethics Committee and FBI investigation into Foleygate. One of the gay staffers, Kirk Fordham, the former chief of staff to Foley, was serving as Rep. Reynolds' chief of staff when the news broke of Foley's activities. The other, Jeff Trandahl, served as Clerk of the House from 1999 to 2005 and oversaw the page program.

Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, has confirmed he was informed by Fordham of Foley's lurid IM's in 2005. Fordham, however, alleges that Palmer knew of Foley's behavior much earlier than 2005. Trandahl, for his part, was presented with Foley's IM's in 2003 and, together with Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), told Foley to break contact with the teen.

Even though Fordham and Trandahl are key figures in the Foley scandal, the disclosure of their actions does not absolve House Republican leaders of their own roles in keeping Foley's licentious and possibly illegal behavior from the public. Yet Fordham and Trandahl are tempting targets for the gay-obsessed Christian right. In their desperate effort to stave off a Democratic takeover of Congress and preserve their political agenda, Wildmon and his allies have volunteered as Hastert's surrogates, casting him as the victim of a gay Republican cabal.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins first laid out the strategy on October 9, writing in FRC's newsletter, "Has the social agenda of the GOP been stalled by homosexual members and or staffers? When we look over events of this Congress, we have to wonder." Perkins continued: "Does the [Republican] party want to represent values voters or Mark Foley and friends?" Though a portrait of Trandahl appeared beside Perkins' missive, Perkins stopped just short of calling for a purge of gay GOP staffers.

Andrew Sullivan, appearing on the Colbert Report recently, made the point that most Republicans in Congress, even those with a track record of anti-gay policies and statements, are personally okay with gay people and have many of them on their staffs. Sullivan pointed out that there is a disconnect between their public policy choices and their private tolerance and that this disconnect could not go on forever, either they were going to have to purge all the gays from their midst or they would have to abandon the anti-gay agenda of the religious right.

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It's kinda sad that there's nowhere to go for people who happen to be homosexual, but who also share the ostensible former-philosophy of the Republican party (individual rights and responsibilities, limited government interference, fiscal responsibility-- none of which the Republicans even pretend to work for any more, but they still like to talk about "freedom" a lot).

If you don't like the philosophy of the Deomcratic party, but you are gay (where the Republican party has long made it clear that you not only aren't welcome, but that you are considered evil), what are you supposed to do? I dunno.

On the other hand, given that what gay Republicans there are have failed to desert their party publicly and en masse, it's not suprising that the Republicans will go ever and ever more in discriminating against them. I guess we can hope that there will be a silver lining: if the Republicans perform an obvious and egregious act of discrimination against specific individuals, perhaps that will wake up gay Republicans and convince them that no matter what else about the party's former-philosophy they might like, that party is not for them.

Hell, I used to be a Republican myself (although I'm not gay). The Bush Administration woke me up bigtime.

-Rob

Sure, 'individual rights, limited government, and fiscal responsibility' have always been good sound bites, but they haven't been a part of any Republican platform for, well, ever. Corporate giveaways, institutional bigotry, and support of dictators all point to one goal: Keep the white rich male dominant, and fuck everyone else.

Putting out that list of gay republicants was a singularly stupid move and I am disgusted by it. I don't care what reasons an individual has for not being entirely open about their sexuality, it is there damned business. This may well blow up in the faces of whatever lowlife decided that they had the right to just throw that out there. Purging the party of staffers who are gay is just the thing to keep them in the dark ages. Consider that many politicians start their political life as a staff member of other politicians. As they get further into their careers they either become politicians or gain considerable influence over those they serve. I would imagine that a lot of these folks would be inclined to move away from institutional bigotry and bring the republicans back to a semblance of conservative philosophy - someplace it would be nice to see political discourse move to. I am tired of debating sychophantic morons who's best argument is; "if it comes from a liberal or a democrat - it's just wrong."

The other dirty little secret is the intolerance in the gay community over anyone gay that believes individual rights, limited goverment, and fiscal responsibility. I believe the republicans in the last 30 years have been the party of that supports these ideals however in practice their agenda has been hijacked by a "family-values" element and little progress has been made. But as a gay man who believes in those ideals - I can't bring myself to vote for democrats. Luckily I live in a state (minnesota) where there is a strong independent system. Not that any of them ever wins. But the majority of gay people that I know are frankly insulted and act like Stogoe when ever they find out my stance. They just don't seem to get that bigger goverment is against our interests and our freedoms. All they see is that government is there to solve all our problems which in reality is the cause of many of our issues.

If there is any positive outcome to these forced outings (which i am firmly against) - its my hope that many of these staffers switch to bring independent or more publicly moderate candidates into office or run themselves.

I'm kind of a liberal with slight libertarian leanings. I used to like conservatism much more when I identified it with William Buckley and George Will. Nowadays conservatism is Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, and only idiots support it.

Stogoe writes, "they haven't been a part of any Republican platform for, well, ever."

It was the liberal Republican party, denounced by the conservative Democrats as radical, that pushed through Congress the reconstruction amendments banning slavery, defending civil liberty against state law, and guaranteeing voting rights. Admittedly, that was a century and a half past, and the Republican stronghold then was the eastern seaboard, the Great Lakes, and the west coast. It is a strange story how the two parties essentially reversed in their views on such issues, and simultaneously reversed their areas of geographical support.

John Bingham, the Republican congressman who penned the 14th amendment, must spin in his grave every time a conservative Republican like Lino Graglia proposes its repeal.

The other dirty little secret is the intolerance in the gay community over anyone gay that believes individual rights, limited goverment, and fiscal responsibility. I believe the republicans in the last 30 years have been the party of that supports these ideals

You'd have a hard time finding actual, on the ground, in the law, proof of this.

Fiscal responsibility?

The GOP compared to the Democrats? The last thirty years?

What planet have you been on?

yoshi-

I'm sorry, but I have to laugh at the myth that Republicans are for smaller government. I know they say that, and they've said it for a long time, but the facts clearly don't support it. Words mean nothing. When they have power, they increase the size of government, both quantitatively and qualitatively, at astounding rates. Not that the Democrats are any better in that particular issue, they certainly aren't. But I can't imagine why, at this late date, anyone would still be under the delusion that the Republicans are the party of smaller government. I'm glad that you're for those things, I'm for them too. But the Republican party certainly isn't.

"however in practice their agenda has been hijacked by a "family-values" element and little progress has been made"

How convenient that you all ignored the sentence following when attacking my comments.

"Andrew Sullivan, appearing on the Colbert Report recently, made the point that most Republicans in Congress, even those with a track record of anti-gay policies and statements, are personally okay with gay people and have many of them on their staffs. Sullivan pointed out that there is a disconnect between their public policy choices"

Growing up in the South I heard the same description of many white people - personally OK with individual blacks but they didn't like them as a group.

By Bill Jarrell (not verified) on 14 Oct 2006 #permalink

Political movements often thrive when they have an identifiable enemy. Communism had capitalism, Christianity had heathens, Islam has infidels, the American right has communism and socialism, and Bush got Al Queda and anyone who didn't agree with him. Then in 2004 Bush got gay marriage and gays. But now the chickens come home to roost. It seems that many of those chickens were roosters chasing other rooster in the Republican hen house. Horrors. So the right wing, who think they have a god given right to dictate policay positions to the Republicans and thereby to all Americans, has now discovered sin in its own midst. A purge is on the horizon. It will probably take place, but it will also reveal the right wing of the Republicans for their hypocrisy and hate, rendering them electoral pariahs in the eyes of many. And although I welcome their agonized thrashing--which was too long in coming--let's have no illusions about the claimed prefection of the Democrats. Their behavior will be just as offensive in a similar situation. It's always best to maintain a tension between the two parties, so that each party watches the other carefully and both have to compromise to achieve anything of significance. Long live gridlock.

Yoshi,

12 years later we know the Contract for America is a failure. Actually we knew that six years ago, so technically six years after the fact, we knew that the Contract for America was a failure.

In 1994, Republicans stormed into Congress with some great ideas. My dad and I were at the forefront of campaigning for Bob Ney (yes that Bob Ney) in his first run for Congress in 1994.

People like Bob and Newt had big talk about a balanced budget, fiscal responsibility, and social conservatism. They have had every opportunity to do the first two and are turning my country into a borderline fascist state to accomplish the third.

The Party since GW has been even worse though. For the past six years, they have been wrong on every issue from top to bottom. I have only agreed witht the President on a couple of issues, but his execution has been so half-assed and misguided I have to abandon those as well. I thought the President was right on his even-handedness regarding immigration, but he got shouted down and rolled over and played dead. I thought he was right in calling to send people to Mars, but he is cannibalizing the rest of NASA to do it. We are actually going to just abandon the Hubble? How ridiculous is that? I thought that No Child Left Behind MIGHT have been a good idea...wrong there. I thought that the Medicare bill MIGHT have been a good idea...really, really wrong there.

BUT I can say in total honestly, there has not been a thing that the Republican led Congress has done since GW came to office that I agreed with...except for maybe the horse-slaughtering bill. And I'm afraid to read the actual text because I'm positive that they'll haved fucked that softball up too.

If somebody can think of something Congress has done that wouldn't make a sane person pull their hair out I would like to know. I really would like to believe that they're aren't so many idiots running my country right now.

This is the most damning part, minus the War in Iraq, the average Republican views the last six years as being a resounding success. Why has it been a resounding success? Because by God the Democrats would have been in there fucking EVERYTHING up! Thank God we're in charge!

By Russell Claus (not verified) on 14 Oct 2006 #permalink

Anyone who cares,

Just so we're clear here, I'm not saying the Democrats will be any better...no wait yes I am.

I can not imagine how the Democrats would even be half as bad considering the majority of the mistakes made in the past six years are simply mistakes Democrats would not have made.

They would not have invaded Iraq.
They would not have been bashing gays.
They would not have codified torture.
They would not have let the assault weapons ban lapse.
They would not have abandoned Afghanistan to the Taliban.
They would not have blockaded stem-cell research.
They would not have pretended to be responsible.

They would have made different, new, and probably quite novel mistakes of their own, but those mistakes would not have seen as staring at the abyss morally this country has been dragged too right now (hopefully).

By Russell Claus (not verified) on 14 Oct 2006 #permalink

Actually, to go way, way off on a tangent, the Republicans were pretty much wrong on the horse slaughter bill too. Banning horse slaughter does nothing to solve the problem of unwanted horses and probably makes it worse, as many of these horses will end up starving to death. As a recreational horse owner, I don't like that slaughter exists, but recognize it's necessity. Such organizations as (to name a few) the American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association, and American Association of Equine Practitioners all support humane horse slaughter.

But, let's return to the topic at hand.

By carlsonjok (not verified) on 14 Oct 2006 #permalink

One of the surest predictors of George Bush's stand on any issue is to ask which position decreases individual autonomy and liberty. This has uncanny accuracy: abortion, gay marriage, Plan B, sodomy laws, medical marijuana, Oregon's assisted suicide act, the contraceptive gag rule, and many more. Even on the one issue where supporting civil liberty would enhearten his base -- the renewal of the assault weapons ban -- Bush came down on the other side, stating his support and willingness to sign the legislation. I cannot recall any issue with civil liberty at stake where Bush has supported the side of civil liberty.

It would be a fascinating study in psychology how Republicans cling to the rhetoric of individual liberty, while opposing it so thoroughly in practice. Bush litters his speeches with the word "freedom." This discrepancy causes not a flutter in Republican ranks. It is a cognitive dissonance that is difficult to pierce.

yoshi wrote:

"however in practice their agenda has been hijacked by a "family-values" element and little progress has been made"

How convenient that you all ignored the sentence following when attacking my comments.

If you define my response as an "attack", you might consider that you're being a tad oversensitive. It was a perfectly polite response. I also don't think this sentence you cite has much to do with my point. The lack of fiscal responsibility by the Republicans has virtually nothing to do with the religious right and has everything to do with the corporate welfare elements of the party. The religious right agenda doesn't have much of a spending element to it and does little to increase the size of the budget. The growth in the budget is primarily caused by the party paying off their campaign contributors through tax breaks and subsidies. See the Medicare prescription drug bill, which contained hundreds of billions in such paybacks, or the energy bill for an even better example. Incidentally, that's also why the Democrats are no better at fiscal discipline, because they've got big benefactors to pay off with corporate welfare too. But they don't have the religious right to blame for it, as you're attempting to do with the Republicans. The religious right is a danger to our liberties, but it doesn't do much to our pocketbooks.

Ed Brayton writes, "The religious right is a danger to our liberties, but it doesn't do much to our pocketbooks."

Quite so. At least in the near term. Liberty and science are important to our long-term financial health. I don't expect it, but one can imagine plausible scenarios decades out where the religious right's assault on liberty and science lead to important economic advances taking place entirely offshore. I even can imagine US citizens having to travel abroad for medical treatments from technology that the religious right bans in the US.

I'm a 49 year gay man. I have a husband and two mostly wonderful kids. The direction this country is going is so bad I will give up the last 30 years of gains for gay people to stop it. We a faced with losing our democracy and I will do almost anything to stop that.

You know what I hope for every day? That Bush is in fact a closet gay, and his followers will be suddenly forced to try and kick out the guy they have been worshipping for 6 years.

You know what I hope for every day? That Bush is in fact a closet gay, and his followers will be suddenly forced to try and kick out the guy they have been worshipping for 6 years.

They wouldn't even skip a beat because Orwell's 1984 is a how-to manual in modern politics.

The party line would immediately be: "But, we've always been against Bush. He's a R.I.N.O. and we have always thought and said that."

Then they would likely go on to explain why it was somehow all Bill Clinton's fault anyway.

The lack of fiscal responsibility by the Republicans has virtually nothing to do with the religious right and has everything to do with the corporate welfare elements of the party.

It does have something to do with it in one case-- the fact that the "traditional family values" kick has so much traction has allowed the Republican party tostop giving even mouth service to fiscal responsibility. Nobody talks about it any more. Nowadays they talk about protecting country from terrorists abroad and a lack of "traditional values" at home. They don't even have to pretend to value fiscal responsibility in order to appeal to what has become their core voter base.

They've never done a good job with actually doing anything about fiscal responsibility, but they used to say that that was something they cared about.

-Rob

One might dispute the contention that the Republicans, at least over the last 40 some-odd years, have been particularly interested in either fiscal/economic responsibility or in liberty. Recall Nixon's wage and price controls. Recall St. Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, while increasing spending (note that he had a Republican senate for the first six years of his administration, so he could have reined in government spending if he had wanted to--which, of course, he didn't). Recall the expansion of corporate welfare in the 1990s under the Republican congress (remember Tom DeLay's mohair subsidy?).

It should be obvious that GWBush's tax cuts are par for the course for the Republican party. It strikes me as a bit unChristian to load his proflagacy onto subsequent generations, but that's just me. According to the Fundamentalists and evangelicals that he panders to, that's OK, because he's a good Christian. /sarcasm

One might dispute the contention that the Republicans, at least over the last 40 some-odd years, have been particularly interested in either fiscal/economic responsibility or in liberty.

Well, sure.

But they used to talk about the former, and claim to be for it; they no longer even do that, since the pro-theocracy is giving them better traction with their voters.

They still talk about freedom and liberty, but perhaps one day they'll realize how stupid that sounds in light of a lot of the other things they say they stand for (like elimination of habeus corpus on the president's say-so, Constitutional amendments outlawing gay marriage, secret prisons, torture, military tribunals, no-warrant surveillance, etc.)

-Rob

I'm thrilled to see Ed Brayton at Talk2Action (Thanks Ed!) If you would like to know more about what the 'Family Values Wing' has been doing, give Talk2Action a try. I'd advise ensuring that your liquor cabinet is well stocked first. To cope with the shuddering later.

==============================
They would not have invaded Iraq.
They would not have been bashing gays.
They would not have codified torture.
-------------------------------
They would not have let the assault weapons ban lapse.
-------------------------------
They would not have abandoned Afghanistan to the Taliban.
They would not have blockaded stem-cell research.
They would not have pretended to be responsible.
===============================

On another forum, people are vowing to always and forever vote Republican because of ending the ban on assault weapons.

According to them it is the only issue.

Anyone voting against assault weapons is an enemy of the Constitution and of the State.

On another forum, people are vowing to always and forever vote Republican because of ending the ban on assault weapons.

According to them it is the only issue.

Anyone voting against assault weapons is an enemy of the Constitution and of the State.

I've seen this one before too. "I don't care about the other amendments as long as we have the 2nd Amendment. We can RISE UP and protect our LIBERTY!" I loved how one person responded to it: "Great! When do we start? Are we waiting until they suspend habeus corpus and start torturing people?"

By Troublesome Frog (not verified) on 15 Oct 2006 #permalink

Yep, selling their souls for a cold gun.

I have a lesbian GOP friend who consistently votes for the homophobic Rethug party here in VA, cause Rush tells her that the Dems will take her beloved firearms away. Even votes, tho the GOP makes her relationship with her SO of 12 years legally null and void in all possible contractual ways that approximate marriage.

But, oh, they both have their guns.

Funny thing, the GOP wants to bring back sodomy laws.
When they make her and her gal-pal felons, they won't be able to "bear arms."

Moronic gun fetish. Oh, and BTW, the Dems will never take all your guns away, dearie. Not in Virginnie.

I have to wonder if the Democratic variability on gun issues is worth the votes it loses. Would it get many back, if the Democratic Party were to write a gun rights clause into its national platform? Or would whatever is done in that regard never be enough, the various firearm groups always able to push for something even more, and egg this on as a partisan issue?

Anyone who thinks the assault weapons ban is important should consider not just how arbitrary it was, and that it never achieved much except with regard to styling, but also how much better things now would be, had Gore carried his home state of Tennessee in 2000.

We've gotten far away from the question of 'outing gay Republican staffers.' Maybe that's a good thing, because that is one of the hardest questions out there. I usually oppose 'outing' but have never been entirely sure about the question when it refers to hypocrites who work against the rights of gays. (Going back in time, what would have happened if, during the McCarthy era someone had outed Cohn, Schine, McCarthy himself, and Hoover? Actually, I'm not sure Schine was himself gay, but Cohn's pursuit of him and attempt to win him special favors in fact fueled the actions against the Army that brought McCarthy down.)