Patterico's Pontifications

10/18/2006

A Blueprint for Democrats Wishing to Take Advantage of the Larry Craig Controversy

Filed under: General,Politics,Scum — Patterico @ 8:08 am



Here’s what Democrats should say if they want to obtain a cheap and cynical political advantage from the Larry Craig controversy:

I am saddened that Larry Craig is having alleged details of his personal life brought out into the open. I think it’s a shame that our politics have become so personal. However, this does highlight the GOP’s closed-minded policies when it comes to addressing how we treat sexual orientation as a matter of public policy.

That’s how it’s done. You decry the gross invasion of someone’s personal life.

Then you take advantage of it.

To the extent Democrats speak about this at all, that’s a close approximation of what they’ll say.

Sure, unadulterated outrage is the decent reaction. But where’s the political advantage in that?

P.S. I understand the Rick Ellensburgs of this world are saying that it’s all about the hypocrisy. This is just a dishonest hook on which they can hang their glee at what they perceive as an embarrassment to a Republican.

If you can show me where Larry Craig has denounced homosexuality as deviant or immoral, and you can prove he is homosexual, you’ve got a good hypocrisy charge. But if the only thing you’ve got is his votes against gay marriage or special rights for homosexuals, then you’ve got nothing. Plenty of homosexuals oppose both.

Glenn Greenwald and company are using the hypocrisy charge as a phony justification for thuggery on private matters. They should be ashamed.

96 Responses to “A Blueprint for Democrats Wishing to Take Advantage of the Larry Craig Controversy”

  1. It appears that the Lefties are arguing that gay politicians who don’t support gay marriage are hypocrites because they’re voting against their own personal interests.

    Just a rhetorical question: What does that make white politicians who vote for Affirmative Action?

    csufbomb (30e635)

  2. White Democratic politicians who vote for Affirmative Action are principled men of honor.

    White Democratic politicians who vote against Affirmative Action (and were senior recruiters for the KKK) are the senior senator from West Virginia.

    White Republican politicians who vote for Affirmative Action are forgotten un-persons.

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  3. – Love the smell of burning Left-wing hypochracy in the morning….

    – And so the mighty unwashed gaggle of the “secular Progressives” cult debunks yet another of their many self-proclaimed myths, “sexual preference tolerance” – the “We care” meme, and turns, as they generally do when seeking power trumps their incessant falsehoods, to suddenly justifying open Gay bashing as a political tool.

    You are all free now to move about the blogosphere and call them homophobes at will. Let the festivities begin.

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  4. Sorry BBH, I missed the part where anyone on the left is bashing gays.

    Outing only packs a political punch (admittedly below the belt) because Republicans rely on anti-gay sentiment for support.

    So again, assuming the allegation is true, Craig set the trap for himself. It just took someone to come along and trip it.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  5. Just go to any blue-collar union meeting and it will be obvious there are no homophobes on the left.

    B Moe (aae6e1)

  6. Republicans rely on anti-gay sentiment for support.

    So again, assuming the allegation is true, Craig set the trap for himself. It just took someone to come along and trip it. Sorry, biwah, but your statement literally reaks of of disingenuous nonsense.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  7. B Moe,

    That’s your defense of the right, and let me guess, you’re sticking to it?

    biwah (2dcf66)

  8. Harry:

    More simply:

    You live a lie.

    You’re a public figure holding federal elected office.

    You are in the United States of America.

    Your political days are numbered.

    Should it be otherwise?

    biwah (2dcf66)

  9. But everyone lies about sex. And questions about sex are nobody’s business.

    Should it be otherwise, biwah?

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  10. I’ll regret bringing Clinton into this, but wasn’t the whole schtick there that it was about his morality and credibility?

    Linda Tripp’s machinations to expose the situation were deplorable. Does that mean all of that outrage belonged only on her?

    biwah (2dcf66)

  11. LO,

    And questions about sex are nobody’s business.

    I don’t wholly disagree with that statement. As I was trying to convey, there is a distinction between polite society and “out there” in the public/political realm.

    When you try to apply your statement to the latter arena, yes the hypocrisy gets a little thick.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  12. I began to respond to biwah, but that’s such a dishonest line of argument and wrong on so many counts that I can’t see the use of it.

    It’s like arguing with lefties about media bias. If they really question it, they are just not honest enough to argue with.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  13. sponge, this is how i heard you: If they don’t agree with me, then they’re just not worth talking to. Bitching about their noncompliance, however, is well worth my time.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  14. biway, my simple take is that your basic premise, to wit, “you live a lie” is flawed. Your argument collapses at that point. One’s sexual orientation is none of your or my or anyone else’s business, period. It’s simply not a lie to decline to discuss my sexual orientation with you, it’s a matter of civility. It’s none of your business.

    Under your construct of what we have a right to know, do we get to hear about whether any particular politician, his wife, daughter, girl friend, or the politician herself had an abortion or participated in an abortion? After all, we have to know whether their life is consistent with their publicly expressed political philosophy, right?

    Do we then get to explore the number of alcoholic drinks they imbibe weekly? After all, we wouldn’t want a representative with a drinking problem. No wait, … nah, I won’t go there.

    Any impure thoughts between the ears? I think Jimmy Carter already dealt with this one but perhaps the question should have been demanded of subsequent presidents, … nah, won’t go there either.

    Is there any limit to your demand that politicians not “live a lie”, as you define it of course? We all realize these are public people but there are some aspects of one’s life that should not be subject to public scrutiny, and one of those aspects is one’s sexual orientation, unless of course it results in abuse of others, such as children. But in that case, legal action can and should be taken.

    I would argue that absent evidence of sexual wrong-doing one’s sexual orientation is immaterial to their ability to contribute productively to our society. Does it strike you as the least bit ironic that an evangelical Christian conservative heterosexual is arguing on behalf of the privacy rights of people with a different sexual orientation than myself?

    It seems to me that wearing an “I am gay” sign, which you seem to want to require, is not much different from wearing a Star of David. But then one’s religious beliefs are another private area that is nobody else’s business, or are they?

    I’ll stick with my original assessment of your comment, thank you.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  15. Harry, I admit I only read your first paragraph, but HOW MANY TIMES on this site have righty commenters insisted that it’s NOT about orientation, it’s about behavior! They have exclaimed this disinction to the heavens on every gay issue from the military to marriage to equal protection.

    So now, faced with a situation where it is clearly about behavior and not orientation, you are bringing out your atrophied little orientation defense. Come on. I am surprised at you.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  16. Hypocrisy my ass. The man is an elected representative of his party. I would expect him to vote differently (at times) than his personal beliefs if that is how the people that elected him are best represented. That doesn’t make him a hypocrite, it makes him a true representative. Now, if he disowned his homosexual son, well then that could be construed as hypocritical. I haven’t heard that alleged yet, but hey, the day is still young.

    And by the way, where’s the proof of this allegation? Anonymous sources? Hearsay? That’s pretty weak.

    Daveg (e750c1)

  17. – biwah, surely you jest…. for 6 years+, all we’ve heard from the Left is a daily constant drumbeat of homophobic complaints, great angst and ourage concerning the Rights ugliness toward the gay community, and now suddenly its fair game? Weeks before an election?

    – Is there a ceazy aunt in an attic in Indianna you think might buy this crap?

    – Amazing. Irony is clearly not in the Proggressives dictionary. Actually I’m loving it. Carry on. More. Faster please. What next, “outing” Atheists, Illegal immigrents, and unwed mothers?….

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  18. Harry, I admit I only read your first paragraph…

    I am constantly amazed how people do this and think their subsequent comments should be taken seriously. That’s why I no longer comment on lefty blogs. Reading them is enough, arguing the merits of an issue is a waste of time.

    Harry, I agree that personal behavior should be personal unless it is illegal or could create a conflict of interest. But smearing someone for political gain is reprehensible, regardless of party affiliation. If there was evidence, why did this not come out then? This is clearly extortion and only shows how values are not even a consideration for the vast majority on the left. I am very hopeful that people see through this smear, make wise choices in November, and really send the message that playing dirty no longer gets you ahead.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  19. biwah, unfortunately you are conflating “righty commenters” with my statements in your present answer. I have no problem discussing my arguments but can’t be responsible for the other “righty commenters”.

    Having said that, I didn’t make the argument you suggest and I still disagree with your latest premise that this has nothing to do with orientation and everything to do with behavior. How so? It’s still private behavior about which you and I have no compelling interest, unless of course, it’s illegal, as was Foley’s (maybe).

    Though I used the term “sexual orientation” I am not limiting my argument to orientation at all. Read the rest of my response. It’s clearly a behavior-driven argument in addition to the “orientation” aspect. Unless the politician’s public behavior is such that it brings discredit to his office, such as did the behavior of Rep Studds, Rep Frank, Sen Kennedy, Sen Packwood, et al, then it’s still a private matter. If not, then I will ask my abortion question again, or perhaps we should be asking our heterosexual representatives for graphic details of how they “behave” sexually. This is just so clearly no one’s business.

    I’m surprised that this isn’t explicitly obvious to you.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  20. stashiu3:

    For the same reason that folks are now claiming that George Allen used the “N-word” at various points in his career, but never saw fit to mention it during his runs for governor of VA, or his campaign six years ago.

    OTOH, let’s also keep in mind that many of the accusations leveled at Kerry were not sounded prior to his Presidential run in 2004, either. So, things that don’t come out ’til later is a widespread occurrence, unfortunately.

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  21. Stashiu, I read the rest, and my comment is unchanged. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if it is addressed on the merits.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  22. LO:

    So, things that don’t come out ’til later is a widespread occurrence, unfortunately.

    Again, I join in your observation, but all the “oughts” and ought nots” don’t change the fact that it works this way, and it works this way in relative parity.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  23. – Actually I’d go one step further Stashiu3. I’d like to see a nice big fat Greek defamation of character suit, with the plaintiff taking home a check with lots of Zero’s to put an end to the political ploys of this sort, or at least make the scumbag Pol’s that feed off this sort of “uncivil” campaigning think twice before they do it. For all concerned in the process out there, “freedom of speech” does not include freedom to defame.

    – So far, from the man’s response, he’s saying it’s all contrived bunk, but the Left side of the blogosphere doesn’t seem to think that matters. Wonder if there could possibly be an agenda here. Duuuuuuuhhhhhh.

    – But yes. As voters we can make our displeasure with these tactics painfully clear to both sides.

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  24. […] And I am generally sympathetic to this viewpoint: […]

    Balloon Juice (c62e7c)

  25. Harry, just noticed that you did in fact answer my comment. Thank you.

    The distinction between orientation and behavior has become crucial through all of the debates that have gone on here and elsewhere.

    To your “star of david” argument, my response is that when the evangelical christian wears a star of david and proclaims to be a jew, but is something else entirely once in private, that discrepancy sheds a lot of light on that person’s character as it affects that person’s public office.

    Trial lawyers would say (based on the rules of evidence), once you’ve made a claim about your character, you’ve “opened the door” to where it can now be attacked. If a man (hesitate to name Craig because we don’t really know) holds himself out to be a straight married man, but his behavior in train station bathrooms belies his claims about who he is, then I’d say the door is open.

    Privacy, whatever its boundaries, does not protect you from having your credibility impeached.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  26. LO: I agree 100% and would not defend the attacks on Kerry unless the issues had been brought up in previous elections. Both sides need to learn that playing dirty is no longer a winning strategy. Unfortunately, the only ones capable of teaching that particular lesson are the voters. I will vote for a principled Democrat who I vehemently disagree with if the alternative is a Republican thug who plays dirty. A politician with principles can be trusted to give more consideration to those opinions of his constituents, and less (not zero, of course) to his party’s platform or personal opinions.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  27. Biwah: forcing someone out of the closet against their will is abusive. This is true regardless of their political stance.

    It’s not quite as bad as rape; but it’s as close as you can get without getting physical.

    It is NOT ok.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  28. As voters we can make our displeasure with these tactics painfully clear to both sides.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  29. I meant to follow that with my agreement, but with skepticism. Political parties don’t get their fingerprints on hit jobs of this caliber.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  30. Stashiu3, Harry, I admit I only read your first paragraph…

    I am constantly amazed how people do this and think their subsequent comments should be taken seriously. That’s why I no longer comment on lefty blogs. Reading them is enough, arguing the merits of an issue is a waste of time. Yep, it causes me to wonder why I spend the time to actually think through an argument before posting, myself.

    Harry, I agree that personal behavior should be personal unless it is illegal or could create a conflict of interest.

    First, thanks for your earlier extensive commentary on your experience at Gitmo and for your service. Your comments were very insightful and educational for this old retired CW4 Army Aviator.

    As for the point at hand, I couldn’t agree more, except that I would submit that your statement applies equally well to heterosexuals, particularly regarding conduct. This is why I don’t find many of these arguments, such as biwah’s, that are directed at homosexual conduct or orientation very pursuasive. And on a humanitarian and libertarian level I definitely find this whole “outing” business personally disgusting.

    I guess this is where we go when we can’t debate larger ideas about where to take the country. So it’s “we hate Bush and some republicans are gay” at least for the next few weeks then I suppose we’ll see whether the technique resonated with the American public.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  31. Now you might have a point if it wasn’t for the fact that Blackwell, the GOP candidate in Ohio, hadn’t accused Strickland of being gay yesterday.

    I guess one unaffiliated gay activist acting out does equal the Republican party in Ohio doing exactly the same thing.

    At least to the wingnut-o-sphere.

    Ed (fcb51d)

  32. – The Lefts new campaign slogan should be:

    – “Secular Proggressives, we only bash Gays when we need to win elections”

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  33. the biggest issue in senator craig’s future is whether or not he is gay. this is a sad commentary on how stupid our country has become. imagine if instant messaging had existed in athenian times, the spicy texts of socrates and plato talking to their young male students…
    but we aren’t athens. outing and gay-bashing are what the people **want**, give it to them!
    patterico says “unadulterated outrage is the decent reaction.” i disagree. i distrust people who use the word “decent” and there is so much outrage in circulation, it has become devalued. in lieu of unadulterated outrage, i offer you cynical pragmatism and ironic schadenfreude. as long as it won’t get me arrested or disciplined by the bar, i’ll do absolutely whatever it takes to elect people who agree with me on civil rights, fiscal responsibility, global warming, etc.

    assistant devil's advocate (993dc4)

  34. Well, Ed, you’ll be happy to know that I will be voting against Blackwell. It will be the first time in 25 years that I vote against a Republican, and it is entirely due to Blackwell’s disgusting campaign, so there is in fact backlash against that kind of thing. We’re not all lemmings.

    Who’s that Libertarian candidate again?

    Daveg (e750c1)

  35. Ed: do you have a cite on that? It’s the first i’ve heard of it.

    If true, then Blackwell should be denounced just as much as Roberts is.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  36. Harry, we’re definately saying the same thing then as I didn’t limit the personal behavior to sexual orientation. It did apply to everyone, and I agree that a public figure still has a right to a personal life.

    Thank you for your service as well, especially as Warrant Officers have usually gotten both the best and worst of the Enlisted and Commissioned worlds. Frequently the worst, all the responsibility without the pay or recognition. Two of the best officers I ever worked with were Warrants and I’d love to see a requirement of two years enlisted time for anyone wanting to become an officer (including docs, lawyers, etc…)

    Respectfully, Stash

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  37. Ed, my comments remain unchanged. If what you allege is true then I am deeply saddened and equivalently disgusted with the republicans in Ohio for all the same reasons I have previously posted.

    Now you might have a point if it wasn’t for the fact that … Whether I am consistent in my beliefs or not, in no way logically detracts from my argument. Even we in the “wingnut-o-sphere” understand the rules of logic and argument. Perhaps you’d like to provide more information on the “outing” by candidate Blackwell, such as a link? Just so we can understand the context of course.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  38. To quote biwah: “Privacy, whatever its boundaries, does not protect you from having your credibility impeached.” Here, to me, is the crux of this sordid little tale. How has Craig’s credibility been “impeached”? What is the critical mass of unnamed claimants required? If we can get three or six or ten “unnamed sources” to declare biwah a “closet living, GW lover”, and post it on the internet, does it mean he is, in spite of all evidence to the contrary and no matter how stridently he disowns the label or how little is known about the claimants?

    I recall seeing the “outers” defended in another thread – not sure if it was here, and not going to hunt for it now – by someone claiming they weren’t invading Craig’s privacy because they were “talking about their own sex lives.” I stopped reading at that point, because unless and until the “outers” identify themselves, they are most certainly NOT talking about their own sex lives, they are talking about Craig’s and claiming an intersection of it with their own. There is no basis I can see to grant any sort of veracity to those making the claim unless they have the courage to step forward and have their credibility evaluated beside Craig’s.

    Situations like this is one of the reasons why we have that pesky 6th Amendment thing that says you get to face your accusers in court.

    kaz (b4e7e4)

  39. Okay Harry, I regret reading only your first paragraph before commenting, okay? Now it’s a whole “don’t you just hate liberals” thing. I’ll take the heat, just don’t make it a conspiracy.

    I share your disgust at “outing” but not your apparent hand-wringing over the Dem’s obstructionism from a real debate over the direction of the country. That is specious. I would submit that we are all frustrated.

    aphrael:

    does that apply to straight men who have extramarital affairs?

    what is the behavior violated criminal law?

    if it was caught on a surveillance camera, should that be suppressed?

    Would it be okay simply to tip off the wife?

    Is there a point at which an official went so far in his blanket anti-gay actions as an official that outing would be warranted?

    biwah (2dcf66)

  40. kaz:

    I’ve said repeatedly that if the allegation is false, that changes everything. And I don’t necessarily believe Rogers, except for argument’s sake.

    But Craig always has a right to take it to court, so what’s your point?

    biwah (2dcf66)

  41. But Craig always has a right to take it to court, so what’s your point?

    One point would be that by the time it went to court, the elections will have long been over. Unless you believe that these four anonymous sources just came forward recently, all at the same time, isn’t it likely that the release is designed to affect the election? Look at the Madrid train bombings… deliberately timed to influence the direction of an entire country, and successful in doing so. Giving any credence to this kind of garbage perpetuates it.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  42. To quote again: “I’ve said repeatedly that if the allegation is false, that changes everything.” Again, my question is why the allegation carries any weight at all. What level of proof do you demand to declare the allegation false? Some costly show trial that runs into Sullivan v. New York Times at every turn? Is it not up to Rogers to prove the allegation? What has he done other than spew it out and hide behind unnamed sources?

    kaz (b4e7e4)

  43. sponge, this is how i heard you: If they don’t agree with me, then they’re just not worth talking to.

    Like I give a shit what you heard.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  44. I hear you kaz, but there’s no point talking about what the burden of proof should be in the court of public opinion. It’s based on people’s gut and credulity. Rogers can be discredited by the same relatively low standard, and if he is, enter backlash. I’m not saying I like it or not. Just that there’s no point blaming the public for jumping at an explosive allegation just because a prima facie case hasn’t been made in your (or anyone’s) opinion.

    Stashiu, I’m not saying a cause of action can right every wrong, just responding to kaz’ previous post.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  45. ok mopworthy

    biwah (2dcf66)

  46. biwah, As for who read what and when, no harm no foul. It seems we have all been hot on the keyboard so have crossed responses on more than one occasion. Thanks for your subsequent comments.

    …but not your apparent hand-wringing over the Dem’s obstructionism from a real debate over the direction of the country. That is specious. I would submit that we are all frustrated. Fair enough. As hard as I’ve tried not to generalize or stereotype, my last comment probably stepped a bid on if not over the line. My bad. At least this debate has been generally civil and that’s a good thing.

    Your questions to aphrael are good ones, that appear to me to be probing appropriate limits as opposed to merely argumentative. I’d still like to hear your answer to my abortion question. Pretty much in the same category I’d say, but germaine nonetheless. I’d also say that illegal activity definitely becomes fair game, simply because of the amount of information in the public realm and the fact that one surrenders one’s right to privacy when engaging in illegal activity. I’m not sure a mere accusation or legal procedings breaches the limit but a judgement certainly would, e.g. Duke Cunningham.

    Beyond that, I honestly don’t have a feeling for how agressively one’s private life should be exposed. I believe there’s a line but it’s admittedly a bit grey in some areas. I’m not sure extramarital affairs are fair game, though they do speak to the honesty and integrity of those involved. I think I’d err on the “none of my business” side though.

    As for your last question, I would again offer that inconsistency between one’s actions and one’s beliefs doesn’t necessarily negate the reasonableness of the beliefs, nor does consistency validate them. It seems to me that the motivation behind the last statement would be to extract revenge. I would also suggest that what some interpret as “anti-gay”, others view in a different light, e.g., the Defense of (heterosexual only) Marriage act.

    Finally, speaking as a layman (I’m not a lawyer) my understanding is that libel cases have a very high bar particularly for public officials. Not at all sure what recourse Senator Craig really has here. Perhaps some of the lawyers can comment more authoritatively.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  47. Harry: Last things first – A public figure has to show the additional element of malicious or reckless disregard for the truth of the statement. Here, seems to me that if you can show falsity, you’re 99% of the way to showing malice. But it is a high bar, esp. when proving a negative. Would the world be a better place if the bar were lower? No idea.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  48. Biwah:

    1. Straight men who have extramarital affairs have broken their commitment to other people. That said, I think it’s an issue to be dealt with between the man and his wife, and is not something the public should be concerned with. That’s how I felt about Clinton, and my thinking has not changed in the last eight years.

    2. If the behavior violated criminal law, it is appropriate to prosecute the person for the behavior, using the same rules that you would use to determine if you were going to prosecute anyone else for it.

    3. The camera shouldn’t be suppressed, but neither should it be treated any differently than anything else caught on camera.

    4. Tipping off the wife is something i’m uncomfortable with; should I be injecting myself into someone else’s marriage?

    5. I don’t believe so, no.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  49. biway, thanks. I pretty much took my understanding of the concept from Paul Newman’s movie, Absence of Malice, which if anything close to legally accurate, is more than a bit disconcerting for someone who values his reputation and understands that the wrong people can basically conspire to destroy it with little hope for redress.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  50. biwah….At a minimum this “outing for political gain” wouold seem to have a least one other aspect at loggerheads with the Lefts ideology. to wit:

    Abortion: “Every citizen has the right to privacy! It’s right there in the Constitution!”…(which of course it most certaintly isn’t, but set that aside)

    So from your position I would take it that in your eyes, a siting Senator lacks the right to privacy, and therefore has less rights than a common citizen. Is that about it?

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  51. Big Bang Hunter: I think it’s fairly well established that public servants have fewer rights than the public which they serve, no? Said public servants have responsibilities to the public which trump their rights.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  52. aphreal -Then from that comment, I would further assume that you think that lawful personal actions, your choice of religion, your preffered foods, and your sexual preferences, are all a matter for public debate?

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  53. – You do understand the danger you’re running here don’t you. Think about it.

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  54. BBH: not at all! I think i’ve already made myself quite clear on the subject of sexual preference as a matter for public debate. 🙂

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  55. aphrael and Harry:

    I like your standards, I just attribute a much lower standard to the public and press at large. In supply and demand terms, the market for innuendo is strong, and the potential scandal out there, waiting to be uncovered, (a) is great and (b) doesn’t give a damn about appropriateness or human consequences. This is a free market information society, and if a certain person finds out a certain something about a certain target, it’s all over but the finger-wagging (which is what we’re doing here). Change that? No problem, just change our world.

    As LO noted, we all lie abut sex. In most cases these lies are never exposed, but as one becomes more and more visible, likelihood, suddenness and hideousness of disclosure all go up exponentially. I agree with aphrael’s and Harry’s standards of discretion (and that includes the abortion question, definitely), and keep similar standards as an individual. However, I don’t expect that standard from society outside of the people I know and trust, and don’t think a politician reasonably can either.

    With that, I ought to get something today, so I am signing off. It’s been fun.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  56. aphreal – Work eith me here… you said: “Said public servants have responsibilities to the public which trump their rights.”

    – That has to emply that, sans any real proof, we’re too assume going in that all Public servants will engage in untoward sexual activities, and therefore the they have no rights to privacy. when did our basis of law change from “innocent until proven guilty”, and even if everyone was to accept that premise, just when did being Gay tranform into an unlawful act?

    On the face of it, it appears as another “assumed guilty” paranoia, and a blatent abridgement of even minimal right to privacy.

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  57. biwah, thank you for your kind comment and your intelligent discourse, unfortunately you’re quite correct in your assessment of the real world. Sad but true. We can only change it one person at a time so as for me and my house …

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  58. BBH, I hesitate to speak for aphrael but I agree that he’s been explicitly clear up thread that “outing” people no matter their profession, is off limits and never appropriate. Sexual orientation and private conduct is none of our business. I think his present comment is more nuanced than that.

    My humble apologies if I’ve spoken out of turn.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  59. – You know I only bring it up, the whole point of why this adventure in partisan ship is not just wrong, for all the reasons we’ve discussed on this thread, but to illustrate how impolitic enthusiam’s can carry us away to such an extent at times, we can really throw the baby out with the bath water if we’re not careful.

    – Saying a Political figure has a definate obligation to public disclosure is a far cry from some of the justifications I’ve heard coming from the Left. I reply as I do because I don’t think they’ve thought this through, and the slippery slope they could easily find themsleves on. That was my point really.

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  60. “As LO noted, we all lie abut sex.”

    Umm, no, we don’t.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  61. Alright, nobody makes fun of my screen name. You asked for it, smart guy.

    Sorry BBH, I missed the part where anyone on the left is bashing gays.

    The only way you could miss it is if you could weasel on “bashing”, which of course you proceed to do joyously.

    If he’s really gay, then you dragged his personal life out and seized upon some half-ass justification to make it okay. If he’s straight, then you implied there’s something wrong with being gay. Why bother slandering him otherwise?

    Outing only packs a political punch (admittedly below the belt) because Republicans rely on anti-gay sentiment for support.

    Oh horseshit. I know a supporter of the Party of Pander couldn’t possibly understand why anybody would vote against supposed gay rights measures, but there are legitimate reasons to vote against the interests of gay activists besides anti-gay sentiment.

    So again, assuming the allegation is true, Craig set the trap for himself. It just took someone to come along and trip it.

    This is where your little analysis reveals what a dishonest little bitch you are. You don’t have any idea if Craig supports these supposedly anti-gay measures on the basis of tradition, principle, suspicion of the judiciary or phases of the moon. You just whipped it out there because it felt good to write it. Made you feel all warm–surely Craig is a gay-basher, right?

    Only you don’t have any idea whether that’s the case or not. Leaving out completely that if he’s gay it’s unlikely he’s a gay-basher, you haven’t given his position even a cursory look. Why would you? You’re already feeling all smug and shit–why ruin it?

    And why should Craig answer for your perception of the GOP anyway? Jst because you say something’s “anti-gay” doesn’t make it so. But in order for you to justify “outing” him, this perception of yours, which you haven’t spent a minute researching, must become fact. How very convenient!

    If one member of the GOP opposes what you term pro-gay measures on the basis of principle rather than pandering to homophobes, and you out him as a gay man, you have done a horrible thing. And you not only have no idea if Craig is that principled man, you have very little basis to even decide he’s gay.

    It’s reprehensible, and your attempts to wheedle some way to justify it speaks volumes about you and your party.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  62. If a candidate, such as Jim McGreevey, pretends to be something he isn’t to get votes, is he not lying to his constituents?

    We don’t know about Senator Craig yet, and I won’t speculate about him, but we have seen several politicians who have either deliberately put forth a heterosexual image (that would be Mr McGreevey, who did so to the extent of marrying and fathering children) or deny homosexuality (as in the case of Mark Foley), because they were apparently afraid that if they were honest with the voters, they wouldn’t win their elections.

    If you begin your public service career based on lying about yourself, you are putting yourself and winning your election ahead of any claimed desire to be of service to the people.

    Then add the potential blackmail factor that has to be present.

    I’m sorry, but in putting yourself forward to be a politician, you surrender any realistic hopes of privacy, and if you have to lie about yourself to win an election, you don’t desrve to win the election.

    Mike Rogers is a scumbag, pure and simple, but if his claim is accurate, then we must surely realize that Senator Craig set himself up for this, not only by engaging in the alleged actions, but in not being honest about himself when he went before the voters.

    It’s nasty when someone like Mike Rogers does that kind of crap, but he can only do what he does when people lie about themselves to get ahead.

    Dana (3e4784)

  63. BBH: public servants have responsibilities to the public which trump their rights, absolutely. Example: Nancy Pelosi has a right to free speech, but her responsibility to the public means she can’t disclose classified information.

    I’m not saying anything at all about politician’s sexual habits, nor am I saying that we should change the basis of law to “innocent until proven guilty”. If you read my other comments on this thread, and on the other thread, i’ve been very clear that I think outing someone is outrageous and intolerable.

    I think that a politician’s sex life is entierly his business, and none of mine, until the law is violated. I also think that politicians have responsibilities to the public which trump their rights, and that they accept that when they go into the trade. That does not mean that I think that their responsibilities encompass telling every voter who they have sex with.

    I think the problem is that I was reacting to your “are you saying that politicians have fewer rights than citizens” with “of course politicians have fewer rights than citizens” without actually meaning to endorse the *particular thing* which prompted you to ask that. 🙂

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  64. – My bad then for the mis-understanding aphreal

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  65. You should know though, that as a Classic Liberal, if you think the Left and right have things to be angry about, I’m REALLY pissed…. ::snort::

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  66. Dana, your argument is faulty, because we’re not talking about someone lying about their stock investments or whether or not they were really in Cambodia on Christmas 1968. We’re talking about a deeply personal issue and that is someone’s alleged sexuality. It’s well known that even in today’s ‘progressive’ society some gay people are fearful of coming out because they think they’ll be judged solely on that basis, so they hide it. I don’t condone lying, but on the list of things that would disqualify a candidate in my eye, not telling the truth about their sexuality is not one of them. Because frankly I really don’t care what their sexuality is.

    There is a separate issue here and that is if Craig really is gay, did he cheat on his wife? That’s a legit issue in my book. Him (allegedly) being gay in and of itself is not.

    Sister Toldjah (d81da5)

  67. “Well, if the Republicans didn’t hate gays, we wouldn’t be outing the closeted gay Republicans who, by definition hate gays, and by further definition are hypocrites for being gay and hating gays. QED.”

    OHNOES (22a999)

  68. – Man, it’s getting to where you can’t take two steps in here without tripping on all the strawmen. Now we’ve jumped to the “Fact” that Craig hates gays. when did that happen.

    – I hear the clear crackling sound of some directed, empty, demonizing going on here to bolster and argument, all based on you don’t like his votes. smooth moves SP’s.

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  69. There’s something that angers me every time we go through this.

    Why are people always having to defend themselves against “anonymous” sources? I mean, what the hell is that?

    Guys like Rogers can either name the accusers or take his list and stick it in his happy tunnel. No one should have to defend one’s self against anonymous horsecrap.

    When I hear reporters say “my sources tell me” I want to answer them with a two by four.

    drjohn (e90484)

  70. – That’s something we keep kicking down the road john that we’re going to have to find a way to deal with sooner or later. We all know it’s simply because we give the fourth estate, bloogers, anyone involved with deciminating information, a pass on sourcing. so far the arguments about “protecting” said sources have always carried the day, except in rare cases of proven liable.

    – If we ever want truth in advertisement, and responsible, relatively politic’s free reporting, we’ll have to bite the bullet at some point. You can bet that, like all human enterprise’s, as long as it’s allowed to self regulate and smear politic’s works, it will just get worse. No easy choices when freedom of speech is at stake.

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  71. BBH: apology accepted, and please accept my apologies for being unclear in the first place. 🙂

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  72. As much as I hate to disagree with our host, I find it very hard to believe that any Democrat would stoop so low as to try to “obtain a cheap and cynical advantage” from such a personal issue.BTW, did you know that Mary Cheney is gay?

    nk (2e1372)

  73. “cheap and cynical political advantage” (not to misquote our host.

    nk (5a2f98)

  74. nk, excellent point, that just “happened” to be mentioned in a vice presidential debate by the candidate from the tolerance party. And the purpose was …?

    I believe she was already openly gay so it wasn’t an “outing” per se, but it certainly was a cheap trick probably intended to turn off the republican base. Didn’t work then and I don’t believe it’s working now. Unfortunately for the leftists participating in this “game” most of us constituting the religious right don’t exactly think in accordance with the stereotype. This game just encourages us to get out the vote.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  75. Patterico, you do draw the passionate ones, eh?

    Drjohn, keep that 2×4 handy, it looks like your going to need it for quite a while to come.

    biwah, unless I’ve misread the mountain of posts on this thread, you are convinced that the outing of a gay Republican is justified because he stayed in the closet? That makes him a hypocrite? Or, was it that he represented the interests of those who elected him instead of his own closeted lifestyle? The minefield is thick around you folks. If he legislated like he lived, you’d call him a hypocrite for failing to serve his conservative constituency (not to mention that it would make staying closeted much more difficult).

    So either way, it comes down to outing him because he needs to be outed.

    My personal preference, that I will not apologize for, is that there be no homosexuals in Congress. And no adulterers, pedophiles, serial womanizers, tax cheats, stock frauds, or murderers, either. But if a legally elected congressman is doing the duty to which he was elected, appropriately serving his constituency, I don’t care about his private behaviors. How many times have the leftists cried foul when Ted Kennedy’s unsavory behavior was exposed? Yet those same folks applaud this outing.

    Get yourself an honest moral argument, the current one is lacking in merit.

    Freelancer (cb897a)

  76. One thing’s unclear to me. If he had been arrested having sex in the Union Station bathroom, would we have considered it a private matter and kept it out of printed police records? I can see arguments for that.

    actus (10527e)

  77. Sis wrote:

    Dana, your argument is faulty, because we’re not talking about someone lying about their stock investments or whether or not they were really in Cambodia on Christmas 1968. We’re talking about a deeply personal issue and that is someone’s alleged sexuality. It’s well known that even in today’s ‘progressive’ society some gay people are fearful of coming out because they think they’ll be judged solely on that basis, so they hide it. I don’t condone lying, but on the list of things that would disqualify a candidate in my eye, not telling the truth about their sexuality is not one of them. Because frankly I really don’t care what their sexuality is.

    Well, Sis, Senator Kerry certainly lied about being in Cambodia in 1968, but that was 38 years ago; if Senator Craig is homosexual and married a woman to cover up that fact, he’s lying about things now. That’s what Jim McGreevey did — and he even sired a child or two in the process.

    We don’t really know about Mr Craig; right now, it’s an unproven allegation in my mind. But we do know what Mr McGreevey did: presented himself to the voters as a dedicated family man, a good Catholic husband (though married twice; how did that work?), and all the while wasn’t just having the occasional tryst, but was pretty deeply involved with a man. That, to me, is a hugely serious lie, a lie to his wife, a lie to his children, and a lie to his constituents, all so that he could win a freaking election.

    Everything about Jim McGreevey, in the way he presented himself to his constituents, was a lie. How are we supposed to have any confidence in a politician if he starts out his campaign for our votes based on lies?

    When we vote for a candidate, while we may know his stand on the issues, we are, in fact, voting for his character and his honesty and his judgement, because we cannot know, with certainty, just what the real issues will be later on in his term.

    Here in Pennsylvania, we had a fairly significant dust-up because our state legislators voted themselves a huge pay raise at two-o’clock in the morning. It was seen as evidence that our legislators cared far more about themselves than they did about the people they were supposed to serve, for the people they had campaigned on serving. When I see someone like Jim McGreevey or Mark Foley, lying about something very basic about themselves, to increase their chances to win an election, I am seeing the same thing: a candidate who cares much more about himself than his constituents.

    Dana (1d5902)

  78. Well, Sis, Senator Kerry certainly lied about being in Cambodia in 1968, but that was 38 years ago

    He’s still lying about it today. And?

    We don’t really know about Mr Craig; right now, it’s an unproven allegation in my mind. But we do know what Mr McGreevey did: presented himself to the voters as a dedicated family man, a good Catholic husband (though married twice; how did that work?), and all the while wasn’t just having the occasional tryst, but was pretty deeply involved with a man. That, to me, is a hugely serious lie, a lie to his wife, a lie to his children, and a lie to his constituents, all so that he could win a freaking election.

    Everything about Jim McGreevey, in the way he presented himself to his constituents, was a lie.

    My point I made earlier stands. It’s one thing for a candidate to lie about stock investments, etc, but it’s another thing for that candidate to hide the fact that he or she is gay. They may feel people will judge them based on that and that alone. If you want to hold agains their hiding their sexual orientation and you want to think it’s them more looking after themselves than their potential constituents, it’s a free country, but I don’t subscribe to the same viewpoint. If we were talking about the Boy Scouts, you may have a point, but I don’t think you have one here as it relates to politicians who hide their sexual orientation.

    Also, I know you know better than to believe that there are candidates and politicians out there who have never said something untruthful prior to being elected. Politicians are what they are – they aren’t perfect, and they want to get elected.

    How are we supposed to have any confidence in a politician if he starts out his campaign for our votes based on lies?

    I know you’re aware that there is not a politician sitting in Washington, DC who has not lied before being elected to serve – and some of the lies they’ve told are far more consequential than someone hiding the fact that they’re gay. The last place on earth we should look for perfection is in our politicians and if we based our votes on whether or not a candidate or politician had/has been completely honest, most of us would end up staying at home on election day.

    Sister Toldjah (75c495)

  79. “If you want to hold agains their”

    Ooops – that should have read “if you want to hold against them”

    Sister Toldjah (75c495)

  80. Greenwald and ashamed in the same sentence? Isn’t that the classic example of an oxymoron?

    antimedia (cc0176)

  81. Sounds like a new form of gay bashing. I suppose they’ll say it’s not, when it’s coming from other gays. It reminds me how only African-Americans can call somebody a “nigger.”

    What is it Bill Clinton says about the “politics of personal destruction?” I guess it’s OK as long as it’s “For the common good.”

    AST (63d041)

  82. Sister Toldjah wrote:

    I know you’re aware that there is not a politician sitting in Washington, DC who has not lied before being elected to serve – and some of the lies they’ve told are far more consequential than someone hiding the fact that they’re gay. The last place on earth we should look for perfection is in our politicians and if we based our votes on whether or not a candidate or politician had/has been completely honest, most of us would end up staying at home on election day.

    Well, who knows? Maybe that would get us a better class of politician!

    There is no defense for lying to the voters about yourself, and the “everybody does it” defense is about the worst one of all.

    Dana (3e4784)

  83. Our good friends at The Liberal Avenger don’t seem to have any problem with the “outing” of Senator Craig: Idaho Sen. Larry Craig the RepubliQueer.

    Let me tell you a true story.

    Not so long ago in Quebec, when the Parti Québécois was in power, the provincial courts forced the government to make a decision wether civil unions could be permitted between partners of the same sex (marriage is a federal matter). Even though the Quebec parliament is usualy progressive, a lot of politicians were not ready to take the political risk of such a move -even closet homosexuals-. So it looked like same-sex civil unions would not be permitted. That is until closet homosexual deputies received faxes, phonecalls and e-mails warnings them they would be outted if they didn’t stand up for gay rights. These people quickly changed their votes and convinced straight deputies to do the same. Thus, same-sex civil-unions is now reckognized in Quebec.

    Translation: Sirkowski (the author of that particular piece; LA is a group blog) has no problem with blackmail if it works.

    Dana (3e4784)

  84. There is no defense for lying to the voters about yourself, and the “everybody does it” defense is about the worst one of all.

    It wasn’t a “defense.” You’re the one who brought up dishonest and lying politicians and questioned how we could support someone who lied from the start. I merely addresed the assertion by pointing out that if that were the lone disqualifier, we’d all stay at home rather than vote, because they all do it.

    Sister Toldjah (d81da5)

  85. After watching a generation of civil rights leaders turn into racists, and liberals become the most reactionary political species in sight, I guess it should surprise no one that gay rights activists have become homophobes.

    Gays have been preaching to anyone who’ll listen how significant they are to Republican aspirations each election, and how underappreciated they are. Now, in one bold stroke, they’re doing their best to run as many gays as possible out of the GOP.

    No amount of sophistry can change this basic fact. If gays don’t have much clout in the Republican party now, just think of how little they’ll have after they “out” all the closeted staffers and politicians. Kind of like leading with your chin in a boxing match.

    trentk269 (3d3bfe)

  86. Sis and I will simply have to disagree. I think that the actions taken by Mark Foley and Jim McGreevey in deliberately lying to the voters about their sexual orientation is sufficiently bad as to be disqualifying.

    Dana (3e4784)

  87. Sounds like a new form of gay bashing. I suppose they’ll say it’s not, when it’s coming from other gays. It reminds me how only African-Americans can call somebody a “nigger.”

    AST, don’t confuse the word “nigger” with “nigga.” The vastly different social contexts in which black and white people use either of these words is not irrelevent.

    Furthermore, it’s overly simplistic to call this a form of “gay-bashing.” I think most gays would consider not being allowed to legally marry more damaging than a conservative gay senator being outed against his will.

    Tom (2ae076)

  88. More damaging to who?

    sharon (dfeb10)

  89. sharon,

    Touché. Being forcibly outed is very damaging. I would add, so is being denied the right to marry your life partner in a free society, wherein so many other rights and benefits are contingent upon marriage.

    Tom (2ae076)

  90. I think most gays would consider not being allowed to legally marry more damaging than a conservative gay senator being outed against his will.

    In other words, most gays would consider something bad happening to them worse than something bad happening to someone else.

    Are we supposed to find that compelling?

    What do you think is worse, Tom? A gay person not being allowed to marry? Or a closeted, married gay person being outed against his will? I think both are bad, but if you don’t load the dice by making one apply to the surveyed party, and one applicable only to someone else, I think the answer is: outing the closeted guy is worse.

    Patterico (de0616)

  91. “I would add, so is being denied the right to marry your life partner in a free society, wherein so many other rights and benefits are contingent upon marriage.”

    There’s a big difference between being publicly embarrassed the way “outing” does it versus not marrying the person you want to marry. If I’m married, I can’t marry any other man just because I love him. If I’m 14, I can’t marry any man I want to. In short, marriage has a certain definition and if your relationship doesn’t fit it then you don’t get to force it to fit. If citizens of various states decide they want to change the definition of marriage and allow this, then that is their choice. But please don’t pretend that this is a unique burden when, frankly, there are probably lots of relationships which just don’t fit the current definition of marriage. And, btw, there are far more obligations traditionally in marriage vis-a-vis benefits. When one marries, one becomes responsible to and for that other person in a unique legal way that is unlike other types of relationships. These unique burdens are what defines the marriage relationship, not insurance benefits.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  92. Tom wrote:

    I would add, so is being denied the right to marry your life partner in a free society, wherein so many other rights and benefits are contingent upon marriage.

    Perhaps you can tell me what those rights would be, that you couldn’t assign via contract or some form of civil union or incoprporation?

    We do not criminalize living with someone of the same or the opposite sex, in any number or form you can devise. But society prefers monogamous heterosexual marriage — and society has a right to say that it prefers such.

    Dana (3e4784)

  93. Dana: here’s an example from California law.

    California says that the value of real property shall not be re-assessed for property tax purposes unless there are major construction or ownership of the property transfers. However, there is an exception, so that if the ownership transfers to a surviving spouse, the value is not reassessed; the purpose here is to prevent people from being forced out of their home when their spouse dies (because their property would be reassessed and they could no longer pay the taxes).

    Under California’s registered domestic partner program, gay couples can obtain the same right. However, in the absence of that law, there would be no way to establish the same right: you could transfer ownership to a trust, but that would require the re-assessment now rather than at the point of death.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  94. Is there not a way for a gay couple to buy property together? I’ve known gay couples who did this. Or is your example one where one person owned the property, then became a couple & wanted the property to go to the other?

    sharon (dfeb10)

  95. Is there not a way for a gay couple to buy property together? I’ve known gay couples who did this.

    Thats not hte problem that aphrael is raising.

    But another issue is that sometimes husbands and wives hold property as a tenancy by entirety. Which has some different features than other forms of ownerhsip. Thats not available to gay couples.

    actus (10527e)


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