Columns

LeftOut: Fear and Loathing in the Republican Party


Everyone but the fags are forgiven.

It’s doubtful there’s a closet in Idaho big enough for Larry Craig to fit in. Whatever he did in a men’s room in the Minneapolis airport, he pleaded guilty to a crime. He cut a deal and hoped no one would notice.

Too bad for him, they did. As a result, the Republican Party promptly threw him under the bus and immediately called for his resignation.

John McCain wasted no time calling for Craig to quit. Mitt Romney, whom Craig supported and had filmed an ad for, called Craig’s acts “disgraceful” and quickly removed Craig’s ad from the Romney campaign website. Afraid they would get bogged down in another Mark Foley scandal, Republicans from around the country came out of the woodwork to push for Craig’s resignation. Many even threatened that, if Craig did not resign, they would push for public hearings and would force him to answer questions during the hearings not just about the rest-room incident, but also about 25-year-old allegations that he had sexual encounters with men back in 1982.

While Republicans may not be able to agree about much these days, they uniformly agreed that Craig had to go. Put simply, the party, with its virulent antigay platform and agenda, could not afford to have another closeted queer in its ranks.

It’s hard for me to muster up much sympathy for a “straight” white Republican male with a sorry history of repeatedly opposing any legislation intended to promote gay and lesbian equality. And I find it odd coming to Senator Craig’s defense at all. But the Republican Party has a huge problem. That problem is forgiving its Republican members of most anything they do so long as it doesn’t involve gay sex.

Let’s take Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), for example. Senator Stevens is currently being investigated by the FBI to determine whether he had a role in arranging for the awarding of a contract worth $70 million to his former business partner’s company (VECO), which oversaw renovations on the senator’s house. Not only did VECO oversee the renovations, the contractors who performed the work sent the bills for the work directly to VECO. The senator says he paid every bill VECO sent him. (But, did VECO send him all the bills it received?) Apparently, the FBI doesn’t think so, as it recently raided the senator’s house looking for documents relating to the renovation and whether the senator traded political favors for free work.

No one has called for the senator to resign. Of course, he didn’t plead guilty like Craig did. Since Senator Stevens hasn’t pleaded guilty like Craig did, perhaps Craig’s sins should be compared to someone else’s.

So let’s take David Vitter (R-Louisiana). Senator Vitter – a family-values-promoting Republican like Craig – was recently caught up in a Washington D.C. prostitution ring scandal. Vitter admitted being involved with the “D.C. Madam” just hours after Hustle r magazine told the good senator that his telephone number was among the telephone numbers of former clients disclosed by the Madam.

Vitter publicly apologized for his very “serious” sin. And the Republican Party quickly forgave Vitter for cheating on his wife, sleeping with a hooker, and breaking the law. No one called for Senator Vitter to resign.

What’s the difference? How can the party forgive one and not the other? After all, Vitter’s sin involved sex with someone other than his wife. Craig’s sin involved only an allegation that he was attempting to have sex with someone other than his wife. Vitter admitted to adultery with a prostitute. Craig pleaded guilty to “disorderly conduct.”  

The difference, of course, is the gender of the two from whom the senators were seeking sex. Vitter was having adulterous sex with women; Craig was attempting to have adulterous sex with men.

Adultery is forgivable. Even attempting gay sex is not.

The Republican Party needs to get over itself and its gay-sex fetish. I wish Larry Craig would grow one and would offer to resign as soon as David Vitter does, and not until then.

But Craig won’t. Because he believes the same thing that all the Republicans who are demanding his resignation believe. Craig believes that what he attempted to do with another man really is worse than what David Vitter did with a female prostitute.

Senator Craig hates himself as much as the Republican Party hates him. That’s an awful lot of hate. I’m glad there’s room for it in the Republican Party.

Writing from the liberal side, Houston attorney Daryl Moore has a general practice and is board certified in civil appellate law.


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