Foleygate Could Get Really Ugly

I may get Mad, but then there's just out-and-out mean. The scandal involving former Rep. Foley could take a really nasty turn. Before I get started, let me make something clear: the Foley scandal has as much to do with homosexuality as pedophillia has to do with heterosexuality. Which is to say, nothing at all. Nonetheless, in the social conservative mindset, pedophillia and homosexuality are linked, and, in terms of the political dynamic, that idiocy does matter. It would be kinda like thinking Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11, even though he didn't.

One of the dirty secrets in Washington is the noticeable presence of gay Republicans--they are quite common, but they are never discussed. Now, if homosexuality doesn't bother you, this isn't an issue, but, as Foleygate shows, if you're a social conservative, this is very, very disturbing. Gay Republicans--closeted, or at least, 'non-public' ones--have been part of Washington circles for a very long time. In the 80s, they referred to themselves as the "'Lavender Bund", and in the 90s, one self-applied nickname was the "laissez fairies." (Gay Republicans, at least, seem to have a very well-developed sense of humor).

So how is this going to get ugly? Journalist David Corn was sent a list of prominent gay Republican staffers put together by angry gay activists (note: Corn has no intention of 'outing' anyone on the list). Corn writes:

What's interesting about The List--which includes nine chiefs of staffs, two press secretaries, and two directors of communications--is that (if it's acucurate) it shows that some of the religious right's favorite representatives and senators have gay staffers helping them advance their political careers and agendas. These include Representative Katherine Harris and Henry Hyde and Senators Bill Frist, George Allen, Mitch McConnell and Rick Santorum. Should we salute these legislators for being open-minded enough to have such tolerant hiring practices? After all, Santorum in a 2003 AP interview compared homosexuality to bestiality, incest and polygamy. It would be rather big of Santorum to employ a fellow who engages in activity akin to such horrors. That is, if Santorum knows about his orientation.

...anytime a gay Republican is outed by events, a dicey issue is raised: what about those GOPers who are gay and who serve a party that is anti-gay? Are they hypocrites, opportunists, or just confused individuals? Is it possible to support a party because you adhere to most of its tenets--even if that party refuses to recognize you as a full citizen? The men on The List might want to think hard about these questions--as they probably already have--for if I have a copy of The List, there's a good chance it will be appearing soon on a website near everyone.

This doesn't surprise me: it's been an open secret that Sen. Allen--yes, "Macaca"--has had several gay staffers. And "There's a good chance"? Gay activists are already circulating 'The List' to reporters (e.g., David Corn). Let's just say that the "good chance" could very well approach unity on that puppy. As Billmon notes, this will create real problems for the Republicans:

But here's the thing: Their Biblically literate (and literal) followers don't know it, and probably aren't too happy to learn that GOP actually stands for Gays Obscured but Protected. I think that's one reason why another post-Foley conservative talking point -- that the House leadership didn't crack down on him because it was afraid of appearing homophobic -- was quickly recalled. Sensitivity on that score isn't exactly a Christian fundamentalist selling point.

The 'politics' of sex always turn ugly. And if the Christopath right was not so utterly obsessed with what consenting adults do in their private lives, we would probably avoid the coming ugliness.

More like this

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…
Dale Carpenter has an excellent essay on the response to the Foley scandal from the anti-gay right. I think he correctly highlights what this episode tells us about the response of the religious right. I'll post a long excerpt below the fold. William Eskridge, a Yale law professor, has written that…
And don't forget TEH GAY! (from Because, you see, some conservatives 'discovered' that TEH GAY KONSPIRACIE is actually a covert op by the Democrats to infiltrate the Republican Party. Really. Even with top-notch pharmaceuticals, I couldn't make this lunacy up. Said lunacy…
The LA Times has a story about some religious right leaders pushing for gays to be purged from the Republican Party. In the wake of the Foley scandal, there are increasing calls to get gay people out of the party entirely. "The big-tent strategy could ultimately spell doom for the Republican Party…

This issue was somewhat discussed in the West Wing where Josh asks increduily to the Gay Republican Senator why he was supporting a DOMA type act. And his reply I thought was fairly interesting, he said he always wondered why the anti-gun types just didn't bring a couple of million people to the next NRA meeting and just vote it out of existence.

The other point he made was that he supported the Republican Party platform (back before the current regime's notion of republican) and he said his life did not have to revolve solely around his sexuality.

I don't necessarily buy both arguments but food for thought.

How come when pedophiliac men go after little boys that is not homosexuality?

By James Matoon Scott (not verified) on 09 Oct 2006 #permalink