Friday, October 02, 2009

Republican Gay Hypocrisy In Full Dudgeon Over Someone Who Dares To NOT Be In The Closet


Wednesday night I went to hear a talk by Republican Gomorrah author Max Blumenthal. I can hardly wait to read the book; I was fascinated when Max started explaining the overarching influence of Focus on the Family leader James Dobson and his profoundly destructive, sadomasochistic cult on the demise of the Republican Party as a legitimate, mainstream entity. It hardly prepared me though for a story I read when I got home that night posted at Media Matters about a smear that seems to have originated with Dobson's circle, a smear that has since become hot fodder for the extreme right's noise machine, in this particular instance led by the Moonie Times, Red State and Sean Hannity.

Fresh from their Van Jones kill, they're off and running after Kevin Jennings, the Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, claiming his presence in the Administration proves Obama supports child molestation. They claim, falsely-- but when does that ever stop right-wing smear mongers?-- that, when he was a school teacher, Jennings was told by a 16 year old student that he was being sexually abused and that Jennings didn't report it. The problem is that he was never told any such thing. Yesterday Eric Alterman and Mickey Ehrlich dealt with the right's most recent tool in their character assassination kit: homophobia. I forgot to mention, Jennings, who the fringe loons on the right call the "safe schools czar," is openly gay.

Openly gay is absolutely intolerable to the far right. Closeted is fine. They never had a problem with Larry Craig (R-ID), even when it came out he was soliciting strange men in public toilets for sex. They never had a problem with Mark Foley (R-FL), even after scores of them learned he was trying to break into the dorm of the congressional male pages after midnight. They never had a problem with David Dreier, even after it was revealed his chief of "staff" (and lover) was traveling the world with him on the taxpayers' dime, visiting every gay hotspot from Iceland to Tahiti. They never had a problem with Patrick McHenry even after one of his staffers/lovers was implicated in a notorious gay triple murder/suicide. And when Arizona wingnut Trent Franks went psycho last week screeching that President Obama is the "enemy of mankind," no one in the GOP House leadership jostled him about his closet case vulnerabilities. No need to start mentioning the dozens and dozens of Republican closet cases-- half the top GOP officials in South Carolina, for example-- because these are all closet cases and modern Republicans don't care that much if someone is gay, as long as they stay in the closet and live a life of deceit, quiet self-loathing and Dobsonian sadomasochism.
On September 18, Sean Hannity asked if Jennings’s relationship with the GLSEN [Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network] warranted his resignation from the administration. On September 23, an article appeared on summarizing criticism of Jennings that has appeared on right-wing websites and blogs since the White House hired him in June. Its opening paragraph reads:
“President Obama's ‘safe schools czar’ is a former schoolteacher who has advocated promoting homosexuality in schools, written about his past drug abuse, expressed his contempt for religion, and detailed an incident in which he did not report an underage student who told him he was having sex with older men.”

The day after this article appeared, Fox and Friends summarized it and asked if Jennings was “the man for the job.” That same day, on Lou Dobbs’s radio show, the host and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council discussed Jennings. Dobbs said that Jennings had expressed “contempt for religion itself.” Dobbs could have been referring to a speech Jennings supposedly made in 2000, in which he allegedly said, “Fuck [the religious right].” There is no transcript of this speech, and the quotation first appeared in an article on a conservative website. Dobbs may also be referring to quotations used in the Fox News article from his memoir in which Jennings, who was raised by a fundamentalist Baptist minister, said that he abandoned religion as a teenager. Neither Fox News nor Dobbs mentions that Jennings discusses his return to Christianity in the same book. Mr. Perkins, whose organization launched the campaign against Jennings in June, has said, “homosexual behavior is a ‘death-style’ that is sending young people to an early grave.”

Notice the similarity between the way Dobbs and Fox News both conflate Jennings’s inflammatory alleged comments about the religious right and his misgivings about his religion as a young man with an outright condemnation of religion in general.

Dobbs does not disclose the Family Research Council’s role in digging up dirt on Jennings in June. Despite making the same accusations that were made earlier this summer, Dobbs introduces the subject by calling the dust up the “latest issue” in the invented controversy over Obama’s “czars.”

Dobbs implies that Obama created these “czar” positions for people like Jennings. Think Progress produced a fact-check of the most common attacks on Jennings back in July. They include the point that Jennings’s current position was held in the Bush administration by a Texas judge who was fired when he pled guilty to corruption charges, and then by a woman who holds a B.S. in home economics.

...The Washington Times chimed in with two separate editorials on Jennings in one week. The first recapitulated the Fox story and called for Jennings’s resignation. Once again the article referred to Jennings’s “utter contempt for religion.” The second, published just two days later, complained of a “double standard” in the treatment of former Rep. Mark Foley and Mr. Jennings. Mr. Jennings, who is gay, has received criticism for a story he has told about a male student who came to him for counseling early in his teaching career. The boy said he had been in a relationship with an older man and had taken dangerous sexual chances. The Washington Times editorial takes the opportunity to equate Jennings’s possible breach of ethics in failing to report what the student said to Mr. Foley’s continued sexual pursuit of male congressional pages:
“Whether the press feeding frenzy around Mr. Foley's disgrace was justified or not, the explosion of coverage was certainly understandable, even predictable. That reality is what makes coverage of Kevin Jennings, President Obama's ‘safe school czar’ something of a mystery. Mr. Jennings brings all the sleaze of Mr. Foley.”

Sex and the underaged? Check. An older man? Check. Potential misbehavior by a government official? Check.

Of course, in Jennings’s case, the events the Washington Times refers to happened more than 20 years ago. The reason the comments are available to smear him with is because Mr. Jennings spoke publicly about them in speeches and in an interview. Mr. Jennings has brought the incident up to show compassion for closeted students who engage in dangerous behavior when they don’t feel comfortable coming out.

Mr. Foley, on the other hand, engaged in actual harassment of 16-year-olds while he was in office. The Washington Times is walking a fine line with this kind of righteous relativism. Immediately after the second editorial appeared, ran a piece on it with the headline, “’Safe Schools’ Chief Encouraged Child Sex with Older Man.”

I'm hoping Mitch McConnell sponsors some kind of resolution in the Senate. What would be more fitting for the Republicans than to have someone who was kicked out of the army after a week for fondling a private's privates take part in a smear of a talented public servant guilty of the Republican crime of not staying in the closet the way McConnell does?

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At 1:51 PM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I read someplace that Glenn beck might be guilty of the rape and MURDER of a 13 year-old girl in Florida, and maybe another one in Texas, that same year. Maybe '77? I forget where I read it. But it could be true. He won't deny it...

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Beck and others are also factually incorrect that Mr. Jennings was not confirmed by the Senate. He was.

And please don't forget the absolute darling of the extreme right wing, Robert Bauman who was Ron Reagan's first campaign manager for president. Mr. Bauman regularly screamed about the homosexual "conspiracy" when he was a member of the House of Representatives. Then the Capitol police arrested him for soliciting sex from a 16 year old boy in a bathroom. Mr. Bauman was married with four kids and a "conservative" Roman Catholic.

At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Jennings did not endorse the NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) and is not a member of that group. That is a complete lie. Mr. Jennings in fact honored Harry Hay, who co-founded the Mattachine Society, the first enduring LGBT rights organization in the United States, in 1950. See Wikipedia.

Now of blog logic holds, then President Ronald Reagan is a supporter of NAMBLA, because Mr. Reagan's campaign manager was Robert Bauman. Mr. Bauman was also a founding member of several conservative activist groups, including the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and the American Conservative Union (ACU), where he served both as national chairman. Mr. Bauman went to the House of Representatives where he regularly warned against the dangers of gay people and the homosexual conspiracy. Then, Mr. Bauman was arrested and convicted for soliciting sex from a 16-year old youth. So, if Mr. Reagan made Bauman his campaign manager, then Mr. Reagan must have had a secret agenda to promote man-boy love and so must the organizations of Young Americans for Freedom as well as the American Conservative Union. Of course Mr. Reagan did not have such and agenda and neither does Mr. Obama.

Now all of us should be very, very careful about people who make big noises on blogs, in the media and politics about gay people and pedophilia. This study and the actual facts of public record show why:

Adams, H. E., L. W. Wright, Jr., et al. (1996). "Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?" J Abnorm Psychol 105(3): 440-5.

The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.

Now this finding should be of no scientific surprise, given the public record. Think of these examples from the news:

Douglas Sovereign Smith, a former high-ranking Boy Scouts of America official who ran a task force that worked to protect children from sexual abuse, pleaded guilty to a federal child pornography charge. Smith was a national program director and led the Youth Protection Task Force that was supposed to shield youth from sexual abuse. Was this a fox in the Hen House? This Boy Scout big shot was caught with a stash of pornographic photos of young boys, which he swapped with other cyber-smut collectors, said authorities.

For a quarter century, the man who was Spokane's mayor, James West, had secretly used positions of public trust – as a sheriff's deputy, Boy Scout leader and powerful politician – to develop sexual relationships with boys and young men. He has spent his entire Republican political career actively calling for bans against homosexuals. He was covering up his own his improprieties.

So any time a person rails against the gays and pedophilia, you might want to insist that they have their penile circumference measured looking at dirty pictures of gays and kids. The safest way to keep attention from yourself is to accuse others of your very crime.


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