Friday, October 27, 2006
Salon interviewed Camille Paglia, and her take on the manufactured Mark Foley sexual harrassment scandal is spot on:
Foley is obviously a moral degenerate, and the Republican House leadership has come across as pathetically bumbling and ineffectual. But the idea that this is some sort of major scandal in the history of American politics is ludicrous. This was a story that needed to be told for, you know, like two days.
Mark Foley was never on the radar of anyone outside the small circle of news junkies. So his fall and banishment from Washington were nothing but a drip in the torrential flood of current geopolitical problems. The way the Democratic leadership was in clear collusion with the major media to push this story in the month before the midterm election seems to me to have been a big fat gift to Ann Coulter and the other conservative commentators who say the mainstream media are simply the lapdogs of the Democrats. Every time I turned on the news it was "Foley, Foley, Foley!" -- and in suspiciously similar language and repetitive talking points.
After three or four days of it, as soon as I heard Foley's name, I turned the sound off or switched channels. It was gargantuan overkill, and I felt the Democrats were shooting themselves in the foot. I was especially repulsed by the manipulative use of a gay issue for political purposes by my own party. I think it was not only poor judgment but positively evil. Whatever short-term political gain there is, it can only have a negative impact on gay men. When a moralistic, buttoned-up Republican like Foley is revealed to have a secret, seamy gay life, it simply casts all gay men under a shadow and makes people distrust them. Why don't the Democratic strategists see this? These tactics are extremely foolish. Gay men through history have always been more vulnerable to public hysteria than are lesbians, who -- unless they're out there parading around in all-leather bull-dyke drag -- simply fit more easily into the cultural landscape than do gay men, who generally lead a more adventurous, pickup-oriented sex life.
Not only has the public image of gay men been tarnished by the over-promotion of the Foley scandal, but they have actually been put into physical danger. It's already starting with news items about teenage boys using online sites to lure gay men on dates to attack and rob them. What in the world are the Democrats thinking? We saw the beginning of this in that grotesque moment in the last presidential debates when John Kerry came out with that clearly prefab line identifying Mary Cheney as a lesbian. Since when does the Democratic Party use any gay issue in this coldblooded way as a token on the chessboard? You'd expect this stuff from right-wing ideologues, not progressives.
Agreed, but a small nit: It was John Edwards who brought up Mary Cheney's status as a lesbian in his debate with Mary's father. John Kerry had previously raised the issue, which had provoked outrage from the Vice President. John Edwards therefore thought he could bait the Veep into getting mad on national television. Kerry probed, Edwards slipped in the shiv. It backfired, though, and Edwards revealed himself as the trial lawyer he was born to be. Either way, there seems to be more actual gay-baiting from the Democratic candidates than Republican, probably because the press gives Democrats a magical invulnerability shield on the matter.
In any case, the whole interview is classic Paglia, and certainly no campaign ad for the Republicans.
CWCID: Jonah Goldberg.
The Democrats manufactured Foley's internet sex chat with underage boys? No, that's not it.
Democrats manufactured the Republican leadership taking no action on this after they learned of it? No, wait.
Democrats manufactured an NRCC/Foley deal in which Foley donated $100,000 to the campaign arm of the Republican party seemingly in exchange for their silence on his proclivities? No, that's not right either.
I guess I can't figure out how Democrats manufactured an icky Republican sex scandal and coverup. You don't like the timing. I understand. The timing is suspicious, but it's not the central issue.
The central issue is that a Congressman was sexually harassing underage boys and that the Republican Party gave its approval through a coverup.
"Fauxley"? I'm sure the underage boys appreciate that.
While I agree that timing is not the main issue, I think it's more than merely "questionable."
It seems pretty clear now that there are people on the pro-Democrat side of things who knew about Foley for a while. If they really believed that he was a danger to kids and had to be stopped and that was the primary concern, then holding onto the information for even one day is morally unconscionable. This fact doesn't let the GOP leadership off the hook - but any expression of moral outrage here and how that reflects on the Republican party is pretty seriously off base given the way Democrats have acted both in this situation and historically.
Republicans gay bait to satisfy christianist base and hire closeted queers to run their campaigns. The hypocrisy is the political problem for the Republicans. People expect democrats to have sex scandals and republicans to have financial scandals. When Republicans have sex scandals the narrative that shape our political discourse collapse. People think, maybe the Republicans don't share my values after all. The story breaks weeks before an election that is already close. You are surprised at the amount of interest this generated?
Well, if the cognative dissonance disturbs you, you can always blame Clinton.
Great point, Pudentilla. I didn't realize that Democrats never got embroiled in financial scandals.
You may want to say hello to William "I just like to keep my money chilly" Jefferson next time you're in DC. If you're into history, you may also want to check in with Dan Rostenkowski. I'm pretty sure he was indicted on sexual improprieties. Rep. Alcee Hastings was also impeached & removed from his position as a judge for a sex scandal, right? Or perhaps I'm just not quite remembering.
I could go on, but don't think I need to...
I've never encountered one, and I'm from Texas. Interestingly, all the gay bashers from my part of the state (father included) were registered Democrats. ('Old' Democrats, not the new hippy-ish Democrats)
"christianist" !! LOL there's a good McCarthite term for you.
So how exactly do Republicans/conservatives "gay bait"? Care to provide examples, guys? This I gotta hear.
Let me guess. You're going to say that anyone who opposes the gay agenda is "gay baiting"! And if we're not completely on board with domestic partner benefits and gay "marriage", we're "homophobic" to boot, right?
"Great point, Pudentilla. I didn't realize that Democrats never got embroiled in financial scandals."
but of course, I never said that dems never got embroiled in financial scandals. I was describing narrative structures in our political discourse.
"So how exactly do Republicans/conservatives "gay bait"? Care to provide examples, guys? This I gotta hear. "
I'm assuming your being disingenuous, but I will humor you.
Blackwell Compares Gay Couples, Farm Animals
Republican Gay-Baiting In Alabama
Contest for 13th already strident
Musgrave declares protecting marriage America’s top issue
G.O.P. Moves Fast to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage
"Let me guess. You're going to say that anyone who opposes the gay agenda is "gay baiting"!"
I guess it's easier to win an argument if you get to argue your opponent's side and are willing to take a dive.
I don't know what you mean by "gay agenda." Myself, I'm for equal protection of the laws for all citizens. It is entirely possible to construct an intellectually and ethically credible argument against gay marriage.
However, to assert that a state court ruling requiring the to provide gay partners with the same legal and economic benefits that it affords married partners, "raises doubts about the institution of marriage," particularly when you are already on the record supporting the legal reasoning the court adopted , and you do it in the context of a closely fought election campaign, then I think "gay baiting" is at least one term that accurately describes your behavior.
Oh, and I'll stop calling folks the base christianist when someone shows me the passage in the Gospels where Jesus condemns queers. I've looked and looked and just haven't been able to find it. Lots of stuff about social justice and helping out poor people, but not a word dissing queers.
It's actually in the Old Testament, in either Exodus or Deutoronomy. (I'm not going to bother looking it up for a specific verse) Somewhere where the laws of god are enumerated it's mentioned.
Interestingly, the same term (usually writ 'abomination' in English) is used to describe men laying with men *and* the eating of shell fish. (which are not kosher) So if you know any gay bashers who enjoy shrimp, be sure to mock them.
And women with women is not mentioned and lesbianism was much more tolerated throughout much of Christian history because of it.