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Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Oct
5
2006

The Politics of Personal Destruction are back again – and with a vengeance! Smelling blood in the water following the outing and subsequent resignation of Congressman Mark Foley, Democratic activists, in the name of advancing gay rights, are emboldened and wielding their knives.

There are other Republicans in elected office – and not just in Congress – who have not fully disclosed their sexuality. And you know what? It’s time for them to come out. And not just because the gay jihad is coming for them.

Judging by the reactions to former Foley’s outing last week, you’d think it’s nearly impossible for a Republican Congressman to be gay. President Bush has said that he was “disgusted” and “disappointed” by Foley’s actions, and he’s just one of many voices in the chorus. Often forgotten in the “Cocktober Surprise Scandal” is that no one is yet accusing Congressman Foley of having sex with ANYONE – let alone a minor – so we’re left to assume that it’s being a gay and chasing teenage tail which everyone is finding so disgusting.

But it’s not the “gay” that many Republicans have trouble with – it’s the lying.

In fact, for the last decade, Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona has served openly and proudly in the Republican Caucus. He spoke at the 2000 Republican Convention – focusing on international trade – and President Bush largely adopted his Social Security plan following the 2004 election.

But lying about one’s private life is a whole ‘nother thing and this is where the Foley case starts to sound like Bill Clinton’s Monicagate. People’s private lives are their private lives – as long as they don’t break the law. It appears that did not happen in Foley’s case. Similarly, President Clinton was impeached over his perjury. The sex did not get him impeached, it was the lying.

But it’s easy to lose sight of these nicecities. In the coming days, there may well be a purge of gay and lesbian staffers from Republican offices on Capitol Hill. There’s a list of them being circulated and they’re being, um, fingered by the Republican bosses for “covering up” Mark Foley’s action. Hey, somebody has to take the fall – that’s what staff is for, right?

But if anyone – anyone – in Washington was shocked that Mark Foley was gay, they probably still think there are Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

The observant didn’t lack for hints. During the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia, the Motion Picture Association of America threw a party saluting Foley, a sort of reward for his supporting legislation MPAA wanted passed. Jon Secada was performing and guests included Senator Fred Thompson, Congressman David Dreier, and the aforementioned Jim Kolbe. Oh, and it was held at Shampoo – the City of Brotherly Love’s largest gay nightclub.

While the Republican Party in Washington has been tolerant of gays in their midst, with a wink and a nod, the Party needs to abandon it’s own, private “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” mentality. If the Republican Party is truly the party of limited government, then it should recognize that it should stay out of people’s bedrooms as it strives to stay out of our pocketbooks.

For their own political interests – and that of equal rights, in general – it makes sense for gay Congressmen, mayors, Senators, state and local lawmakers who are in the closet to come out now. Being gay should no longer be a deep secret every Republican has to keep. One man has been sending suggestive messages over the internet to teenagers – Mark Foley. So, right now, to Republicans, being gay is de minimus compared to being a gay who cruises teenagers.

Any Republican coming out now would see barriers – perceived or real – to higher office fall by the wayside. Such an announcement would be also be critical for the cause of gay civil rights. It would remind America that being gay does not mean being a pedophile and maybe remind people that, in fact, 98% of pedophiles are heterosexuals.

Many will fear that supporting tolerance of gays and lesbians will endanger the votes of the Religious Right – but evidence is to the contrary. After all, where would they go? To support the Party of Hillary Clinton and Barney Frank?

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has shown that, since reaching out and promoting a position that all Californians should be respected under the law, his poll numbers have soared to a double-digit lead. It’s time for the GOP to follow Arnold’s lead, come out and pitch a big tent and support equality for all Americans.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 9:10 AM | Permalink

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