LARRY CRAIG AND OTHER REPUBLICAN CLOSET CASES SHOULD LEARN A LESSON FROM FORMER GOP CONGRESSMAN BOB BAUMAN
We should offer Larry Craig compassion, not cruel parody like this artwork Adam forced me to put up
I've been attacked almost as many time for writing that Larry Craig is a closeted gay hypocrite as I was for writing the same thing about Mark Foley. Whatever Schadenfreude I may be feeling about Craig's exposure is directed towards his extreme right, bigoted and hate-filled segment of the Republican Party, not towards Larry Craig the human being. And Larry Craig is-- more than an extremist, more than a Republican, more than a gay basher-- a human being. Caught in a public toilet (again) soliciting anonymous sex from a hunky young plainclothes policeman, Craig has been kicked to the curb by his right-wing allies. The far right blogosphere is demanding he resign this week. Mitt Romney fired him as head of his Idaho campaign and senatorial outreach program and has forbidden his son Josh to even travel to Boise. I don't hear any of Craig's barbershop quartet buddies-- like Trent Lott-- coming to his defense and I don't hear the other closeted Republican homophobes in the Congress-- like Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) or House members David Dreier (R-CA), Jim McCrery (R-LA), Phil English (R-PA), Denny Hastert (R-IL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), or any of the others-- asking for understanding and sympathy.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, on the other hand, goes beyond just the obvious hypocrisy of a rightist Republican consistently voting against equality for gay men and women and their families while prowling public toilets for anonymous sex.
What’s up with elected officials like Senator Craig? They stand for so-called "family values" and fight basic protections for gay people while furtively seeking other men for sex. Infuriating pathetic hypocrites. What more can you say?
There is sad irony that a United States senator from Idaho has been caught up in the same kind of thing that destroyed the lives of dozens of men in Boise in the 1950s, so tragically chronicled in Boys of Boise.
The Task Force goes on to ask an equally important question, one legislators like Larry Craig (not to mention Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, David Dreier, Patrick McHenry, et al need to be thinking about): Why are Minneapolis tax dollars being used to have plainclothes police officers lurking idly in airport restroom stalls?
And I'll add something to that: The policeman they used was total gay bait. Although that Florida Republican who offered to pay a plainclothes policeman $20 for the pleasure of performing fellatio on him later claimed the cop was fat and unattractive, no one will be saying that about Officer Dave Karsnia, who wouldn't get out of any gay bar in the country without being showered with drinks and marriage proposals. (In fact, unless you're gay you probably don't even want to go to the trouble of finding Karsnia on this unrelated video about runaway airport carts. He's interviewed about the dangerous carts-- not dangerous Republican closet cases-- at 2:30 and 3:05.)
And then you find progressive gay activist and prominent blogger, Mike Rogers with a message of hope and redemption:
Larry Craig should stand up and be honest with the citizens of Idaho about who he is. Tonight is a historic opportunity for Senator Craig to run for re-election as a proud gay American. What a great turning point for one of the most conservative states in the country to be represented by an openly gay Senator.
But this isn't a path Craig is likely to take. Larry Craig comes from a very different place-- and I don't mean Idaho, which recently elected an openly gay woman state representative. Idaho, like most of America, has changed. Larry Craig hasn't, nor is he alone. Men and women brought up to believe homosexuality was "bad" or a "sin" or "unnatural" and who have had that drilled into their heads-- and in right wing Republican circles there has been a certain unrelenting obsession in that direction-- find themselves in a serious bind. The society that nurtures them and defines their identity and even their humanity, condemns part of their essence. Locking that part in a dark closet is the solution that has come as natural to politicians, especially Republican politicians.
I cannot imagine that there are more gay Republicans than gay Democrats-- despite how it looks from the police blotters. There are two reasons for that. Gay Democrats are not under the same kind of societal and social pressures as gay Republicans. They are generally not closeted, accept themselves and are accepted by friends, family and colleagues. Congressmembers Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Barney Frank (D-MA) are two of the most admired and respected members of Congress. Even Republican members forget about the "gay part" and just deal with Barney as the brilliant and powerful Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Gays who are not hiding in closets don't have to lurk around public restrooms in train station, shopping malls, parks and airports. About that, closeted gays usually all know the "humpy tea rooms" (i.e.- the public toilets where other closeted gays congregate). "According to the Minnesota Monitor, the restroom where the senator was arrested is 'well known among men who seek sex in public places.' Directions to this particular restroom are posted on a gay website bulletin board, and one visitor to the website said, 'This is the best spot for anonymous action I’ve ever seen.' The police know these facilities too.
I pity the Larry Craigs and Mitch McConnells and Jim McCrerys of the GOP. Whatever arrangements they have made with the women they "married" by political convenience is one thing, but the really sad part is the self-loathing that closeted Republicans have for themselves. That their judgments are warped is clear from their risky and even suicidal behavior. Larry Craig couldn't control himself. In 1994 he was exposed for having sex in a men's room in Union Station. It was unlikely he would have run for re-election in 2008. But to do a repeat performance of the same behavior in an airport restroom is almost unthinkable. Unless you are self destructive and extremely disturbed. Republicans in Congress all knew about Larry Craig, just like they all knew about Mark Foley. But they didn't reach out to him and offer him wise counsel. They swept it under the rug and now far right-wing extremists who loved his fascist-leaning voting record are already blaming the impending 2008 Republican disaster on him and the ultra-extremist Idaho Values Alliance is calling for his resignation.
One larger issue must be addressed. The Republican Party platform clearly rejects the agenda of homosexual activists. The Party, in the wake of the Mark Foley incident in particular, can no longer straddle the fence on the issue of homosexual behavior. Even setting Senator Craig’s situation aside, the Party should regard participation in the self-destructive homosexual lifestyle as incompatible with public service on behalf of the GOP.
No member of the Republican Party in the 1860s could represent his party and be a slaveholder at the same time. Nor can the Republican Party of today speak with authority and clarity to the moral issues that confront our society and at the same time send ambivalent messages about sexual behavior. It is time for the Republican Party to be the party that defends the American family in word, deed, and by personal example.
I think Mike Rogers' suggestion is a lot healthier and a lot saner. I think Larry Craig, Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham should give a press conference on the steps of Capitol Hill today and tell the world that they're gay and that they're sorry for their homophobic behavior and that from now on they will lead lives just like ordinary Americans-- no more closets, no more furtive sex in public toilets, no more lying and cheating. Larry, Mitch, Lindsey, come out, be proud of who you are. Save yourselves from the misery and aguish. Congressman Bob Bauman (R-MD) was a far right GOP congressman and a founding member of both the Young Americans for Freedom and the Conservative Union (of which he was chairman). In 1980 the congressman was arrested for having sex from a 16 year old boy. He was defeated in his re-election bid and his wife, who was also a YAF member, had their marriage annulled. Bauman wrote a book which all elected Republicans should read, The Gentleman From Maryland. He wrote poignantly about how his secret double life was so stressful that it led to alcoholism. He finally admitted he was gay and became a bit of a gay activist, in a conservative way
THE RE-ENACTMENT OF WHAT WILL UNFORTUNATELY BE SENATOR CRAIG'S BEST KNOWN MOMENT
Does this look like someone pleading guilty by mistake?
Larry Craig wasn't much of a congressman or senator-- just a kind of hackish, right-wing backbencher spewing some far right talking points and always voting for the most extreme positions. He never offered any solutions to any problems. Until he was arrested in the toilet by an undercover cop-- an unfair hunky decoy trying to lure gay men into a trap-- all anyone really knew about him is that he sang in a barbershop quartet with some other right wing senators. Well, now they have stuff like this re-enactment by a local television news team. It's like our politics is just another chapter of the tawdry, embarrassing stories of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, or Mike Vick. As for all these repulsive Republicans, all they care about is that they can hold the seat. Revolting!
Flip Flop Mitt is disappointed. Craig is obviously insane. His statement to the press just now was the most bizarre political obituary I ever saw.