Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why Is The Political Right Filled With So Many Klemmschwesteren?


Austrian neo-Nazi Jörg Haider was buried like Princess Diana

I guess the point of the new stories about crazy and wild gay sex involving Republican religionist bigwig Ted Haggard is that... right wing closet queens don't just strike once? Did someone think Haggard's drug-drenched affair with a male prostitute was his only foray into a lifestyle as different from those practised by proper little fundies as it is from the types practised by gay men and women who want society to recognize their marriage bonds? "Rev." Haggard was also having sex with young men in his congregation. Surprised? By forcing homosexuals into a closet of self-denial and self-hatred, society creates demented sociopaths like Haggard. But if you think American right-wingers are the only seriously unbalanced closet cases on earth... think again.

After the death of Austrian neo-Nazi Jörg Haider in October, DWT reported first on the apparent accident, then on the likelihood that the "accident" was arranged by Israeli agents... and that Haider was a closet case, just like so many right-wing political and religionist figures are-- from Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Lindsey Graham, Ted Haggard, and Mitch McConnell to Roy Cohen, David Dreier and Patrick McHenry.

A hard-hitting feature in the new issue of Out makes the case that as repulsive as Haider's racist and xenophobic right-wing politics were, at least he was unlike American wingnuts in that he didn't attack gays from inside his closet.
“He was buried like Princess Diana and everyone was crying and everything,” says Marco Schreuder, a member of Vienna’s city council and one of the country’s few out elected officials.

It was a bizarre few days, Schreuder recalls, made ugly by the tone of the news stories about Haider’s private demimonde.

“Newspapers didn’t want to say ‘gay’ bar. More like ‘scene’ bar or ‘trendy’ bar,” Schreuder says. “There was this homophobic tone…. You know, ‘Should a governor do something like that?’?”

...Yet being outed as gay could have ruined Jörg Haider’s political life, as Haider surely understood. Like former New Jersey governor James McGreevey, Haider relied on hetero bona fides (wife, children, bungee jumping, mountain climbing) to deflect inconvenient questions. Like why Haider’s closest aides (Stefan Petzner was merely the latest) seemed always to have a Y chromosome and be height-weight proportional.

Schreuder says that while Haider took calculated political risks by praising Nazi employment policies and inciting hatred of immigrants, he was conspicuously quiet about gay issues. Even through the worst days of the AIDS crisis, critics admit, Haider never gay-baited or demonized people with AIDS. This effectively preempted public conjecture on his sexuality: The hypocrisy charge wouldn’t stick.

Instead, speculating on Haider’s sexuality was a harmless parlor game for those in the know. “Everyone knew someone who slept with him,” says Hannes, a patron at Willendorf, a gay café in Vienna, who gives only his first name. He then stops to correct himself: “No. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who said they slept with him.”

Schreuder says he has no doubt Haider was a klemmschwester (literally, an “uptight sister”).

“Obviously, he liked handsome young men,” says longtime gay activist Kurt Krickler.

Krickler, who has a prickly salt-and-pepper beard and gets around Vienna on a muscular blue BMW motorcycle with the vanity plate W GAY 6, says his Homosexuelle Initiative debated the ethics of outing Haider for many years -- famous person, atrocious political views. The group always came down against it: “He’s not a positive role model, so there was no point in outing him,” Krickler says. Nevertheless, Krickler kept a dossier ready, including talking points and a list of likely paramours.

Krickler ticks off the names of several young men in Haider’s circle. In 1994, Haider made Karl-Heinz Grasser, a 25-year-old with dimples like David Duchovny’s, deputy governor of Carinthia. “He had no qualifications whatsoever,” Krickler says. “Everybody was wondering about it. And I think, of course, it was because they fucked or he gave him a blow job. I mean, that’s just my assumption.”

Then there was Franz Koloini, “der schöne Franz” (“handsome Franz”), the waiter who became Haider’s personal secretary at age 22.

Krickler rifles through old editions of Lambda Nachrichten, the gay magazine he edits, to produce a picture of Haider running a marathon side-by-side with an earlier secretary, the baby-faced Gerald Mikscha. The accompanying quote, from a mainstream Austrian magazine, notes that “political observers can scarcely remember a time when Haider was seen without his secretary.” Another photo shows Mikscha and Haider on vacation, sitting on a pier together, boat masts bobbing in the background.

“It was obvious as of ’86 [the year Haider took control of the Freedom Party] that all these young men surrounding Haider -- this was not just political enthusiasm, this was something else,” Krickler says. Haider’s circle was so strikingly different from anything else in politics, the mainstream media dubbed it die buberlpartie (“the boys’ party”).

Although those who used to spend time at the home of North Carolina Republican Patrick McHenry say it is also a buberlpartie, the GOP is unlikely to arrive where Carinthia Governor Haider had gotten to by the time he died. Still a whacked out racist, right-wing loon and vicious xenophobe, "he directed state money to support a four-day 'Pink Wave' gay party on the shores of a Carinthian lake. And last summer he allowed himself to be photographed in a disco, gleefully boozing with dozens of teenage males who were too young to be drinking... Unlike Sen. Larry Craig or Rep. Mark Foley, Jörg Haider didn’t resort to public bathrooms or icky instant messages. Comely young men swarmed to him like ants to a picnic. The son of unrepentant Nazi party members, Haider knew how to play on old fascist themes of masculine youth and vigor."


Turns out Haggard's church elders weren't as surprised as they claimed to be when he was finally outed as a drug user and employer of male prostitutes. They had been paying hush money to young male church goers who Haggard had had sex with previously!

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