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  • Friday, October 13, 2006


    Conversations with my dumbass self

    Dean Barnett and imaginary friends who seek his counsel

    Dean Barnett finds the only person in America stupid enough to seek him out as an authority on anything: himself.
    3) And yet the latest Democratic ploy seems to hinge on “exposing” the vast numbers of gays cruising the Republican halls of power. Isn’t this a bit cynical?

    A bit. A giant whopping bit. It’s a lot like when John Edwards and John Kerry decided it was critically important that they reference Mary Cheney’s sexuality during the 2004 debates. Frankly such tactics leave me gobsmacked and filled with heartache, but they do not surprise me. I’ve had a ringside seat for the Kennedy family’s antics the last four decades. I don’t exactly bring high expectations to the table where it concerns Democratic morality.

    4) What do the Democrats hope to accomplish by exposing this alleged lavender Mafia within the G.O.P.?

    They think that by exposing the existence of gay Republicans, the backwards Christianists in the Republicans’ corner will be repulsed and at the very least stay home on November 7.

    5) Gosh, that is cynical. But will it work? I’ve seen “Jesus Camp” and those Christianists are chrazy!!

    You’re an idiot. And so are the Democrats who think this plan will work. I would wager dollars to donuts that the Democratic operatives behind this operation have never met a single Evangelical Christian. Thus the view they have of Evangelicals is cartoonish, informed solely by what they’ve seen from other idiots who hang out in Hollywood.

    6) But don’t you think Evangelicals will be disgusted to learn that there are gay Republicans?

    No. This whole campaign rests not only on the notion that Evangelicals are ignoramuses but also that they are each little individual cauldrons of hatred. If the people making these arguments actually understood the constituency they’re trying to appeal to, they wouldn’t be so haplessly misguided.
    Uh. Yeah Dean. Whatever you say.
    Immediately after the Mark Foley scandal broke, some anti-Republican gay-rights activists composed a memo containing the names of closeted gay Republican Congressional staffers and sent it to leading Christian-right advocacy groups. The founder and chairman of one of those groups, the Rev. Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, told me he has received that memo, which he referred to simply as "The List." Based on The List's contents, Wildmon is convinced that a secretive gay "clique" boring within the Republican-controlled Congress is responsible for covering up Foley's sexual predation toward teenage male House pages. Moreover, Wildmon calls on the Republican Party leadership to promptly purge the "subversive" gay staffers.

    "They oughtta fire every one of 'em," Wildmon told me in his trademark Mississippi drawl. "I don't care if they're heterosexual or homosexual or whatever they are. If you've got that going on, that subverts the will of the people; that subverts the voters. That is subversive activity. There should be no organization among staffers in Washington of that nature, and if they find out that they're there and they're a member, they oughtta be dismissed el pronto."


    Even though Fordham and Trandahl are key figures in the Foley scandal, the disclosure of their actions does not absolve House Republican leaders of their own roles in keeping Foley's licentious and possibly illegal behavior from the public. Yet Fordham and Trandahl are tempting targets for the gay-obsessed Christian right. In their desperate effort to stave off a Democratic takeover of Congress and preserve their political agenda, Wildmon and his allies have volunteered as Hastert's surrogates, casting him as the victim of a gay Republican cabal.

    Family Research Council president Tony Perkins first laid out the strategy on October 9, writing in FRC's newsletter : "Has the social agenda of the GOP been stalled by homosexual members and or staffers? When we look over events of this Congress, we have to wonder." Perkins continued: "Does the [Republican] party want to represent values voters or Mark Foley and friends?" Though a portrait of Trandahl appeared beside Perkins's missive, Perkins stopped just short of calling for a purge of gay GOP staffers.

    Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, a co-founder of the FRC and a close ally of Wildmon, has taken a different tack. During the October 6 broadcast of his radio show, syndicated on more than 3,000 stations worldwide, Dobson dismissed Foley's explicit e-mail exchanges with a former House page as "sort of a joke by the boy and some of the other pages." Dobson then suggested that the liberal media concocted the entire scandal in order to depress turnout by so-called "values voters."

    Five days later, Dobson returned to the airwaves to give the liberal media another tongue-lashing. After accusing Media Matters for America and the Huffington Post of "spinning" his earlier comments downplaying the Foley scandal--"These folks can always be counted on to give the most extreme liberal interpretation of everything," Dobson exclaimed--he recounted an upsetting inquiry from a reporter from the St. Petersburg Times.

    "She [the reporter] said, 'I heard late yesterday that Dr. Dobson had asked House leadership to fire all gay staffers,'" Dobson recalled in a voice brimming with indignation. "That's crazy too. That, first of all, would be flat-out illegal. You can't fire people just because somebody says so, and they're certainly not going to do it because James Dobson says so. That's crazy! They're trying to make us look like extremists and people who do ridiculous things, and there's absolutely no basis in this."

    With Wildmon brandishing The List and demanding a gay purge, which in Dobson's words would be a "crazy," "flat-out illegal," "ridiculous thing," the chaos and panic among the House leadership has spread to the Christian right. As Election Day draws nearer, the movement's most influential leaders are markedly off-message, contradicting one another, and on the defensive. And their rhetorical fusillades have made gay Republican House staffers, some about to testify before the Ethics Committee and the FBI, fear for their careers.

    Meanwhile, the so-called "values voters," cultivated to propel the Republicans into control of the White House and Congress, appear to have lost the faith. An October 5 poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of white evangelicals plan to vote for Republican Congressional candidates in the midterms--a twenty-one-point drop in support from 2004. With such a large portion of the GOP's core constituency likely to stay home on November 6, the results could be devastating.
    Liberals viewing evangelicals as "cartoonish?
    A new book by a former White House official says that President Bush's top political advisors privately ridiculed evangelical supporters as "nuts" and "goofy" while embracing them in public and using their votes to help win elections.
    Color me "gobsmacked".


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