In 1995, I arrived in Washington, DC as a fresh faced and doe-eyed twenty five year old. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for a living, but I thought working on Capitol Hill might be interesting and the big buildings looked kind of cool. Although I had just served as a press secretary in a U.S. senate primary, I wasn't a political junkie and all I really knew was that Democrats were the pro-gay "good guys" and Republicans were the anti-gay "bad guys."
For days, I scurried down the long corridors of the ornate and musty Congressional offices to drop off resumes. While I was ultimately unsuccessful in attracting a job offer, I did manage to attract furtive glances from many staffers on The Hill - particularly well-scrubbed Republicans. If there were steam coming out of some of those Republican offices, I would have sworn I was in a bathhouse. Wasn't the GOP supposed to be the party that loathed homosexuals?
This bizarre dynamic was simply too mind-boggling for a political neophyte like myself to comprehend. I chalked it up to one of life's great unknowable mysteries, such as "Does God exist" or "why do straight women think Fabio is hot?"
Eleven years later, I must admit, I still don't get it. How can people go home with a same sex partner at night and then show up at work the next morning to denounce homosexuals?
(I want to qualify this by stressing that many Republicans office holders are pro-gay and there are many honorable Republican activists, such as former Log Cabin leader Patrick Guerriero.)
When I questioned gay republicans, they would often scoff and say that the Republican Party is tolerant. As proof, they would point to the offices where they worked and proclaim that they were gay friendly environments. The Mark Foley scandal, as it turns out, proves that they weren't lying. The Republican elites in Washington love gay people, as long as they don't broadcast their sexual orientation.
Read: "Don't let the yahoos on the prairie know you are a fairy or they will stay home on Election Day and we won't get our tax cuts and promotions."
On a recent airing of the Chris Matthews Show, commentator Tucker Carlson revealed that educated and wealthy Washington Republicans can't stomach the religious fanatics.
"The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power," admitted Carlson. "Everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals. And the evangelicals know that, and they're beginning to learn that their own leaders sort of look askance at them and don't share their values...It's pandering to the base in the most cynical way, and the base is beginning to figure it out."
A combustible new book, "Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction," by former faith-based initiative honcho David Kuo, asserts that top GOP strategists privately called evangelical leaders "nuts" and "goofy."
It is easy to sympathize with evangelicals. For more than two decades, they had admirably outworked every other group in America to win offices from the presidency to lowly school boards -- and still had time to send their kids to Jesus Camps.
In the process, the GOP became part of the conservative evangelical religion. The creepy worship of politicians, such as President Bush and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan) seems, at times, to approach idolatry.
This is why it must be incredibly painful to find that national party leaders are more likely to play show tunes than gospel hymns once safely ensconced in the Beltway. Indeed, gay activist Mike Rogers has outed so many hypocrites that it now seems more newsworthy if he reveals a Republican is actually heterosexual.
If you are having trouble understanding the betrayal felt by Christian conservatives, look at it from a different perspective. Imagine how you would feel if you came to find that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had offices filled with homophobic, apocalyptic Christians waiting for the End Times?
Incensed by the duplicity, the Traditional Values Coalition's Lou Sheldon has called for a "Come to Jesus meeting" between the GOP elite and their conservative base. It is clear that the Republican Party is in the midst of a major identity crises and there is no turning back. In the "come to Jesus meeting" Republicans will be forced to either abandon the goofy nutjobs or reluctantly agree to crucify gays.
Sorry if I don't shed a tear, but gay conservatives may be getting exactly what they deserve. They have helped elevate the very puritans that now may purge them. It was a good ride while it lasted, but the party is over. The only regret is that the halls of Congress won't be quite as much fun to cruise once they are gone.
Many may make fun of the Evangelicals, but that has not stopped this administration from setting up faith based programs and laiaisons in every department. Government money is going to programs that promote Jesus Christ. This is very scary. Dick Hewetson in San Francisco
posted by Anonymous, at
10/17/2006 11:55 PM
The nuts (as Rove and I apparently call them) image of America is akin to the "Republic of Gilead".
They firmly believe in a theocratic State with absolutely no separation between Church and State.
It is not just us queers this bunch want to regulate.
When bush signed the new detainee bill yesterday, effectively killing habeus corpus and making himself a despotic dictator who could declare anyone he wanted an enemy combatant and have them thrown in jail without due process and tortured; America as we knew it DIED! And the fact that most Americans, including Democrats and liberals made virtually not a peep about it (except for Keith Olberman last night) is pathetic beyond belief. They say 'people get the government that they deserve'; well apparently that's true. We should ALL be hanging our heads in shame today!!!!! B. Queer
posted by Anonymous, at
10/18/2006 9:51 AM
"Sorry if I don't shed a tear, but gay conservatives may be getting exactly what they deserve. They have helped elevate the very puritans that now may purge them. It was a good ride while it lasted, but the party is over."
Har! Har! As Oscar Wilde said about the death of Dickens' Little Nell: "It would take a heart of stone not to laugh out loud."
posted by Ashteroth, at
10/18/2006 10:01 AM
As Wayne points out in his article, there are more folks in the Big Ole White House who like Gays, on both sides of the aisle, then they do the Foolish Religious Right. I have to wonder though, if this is true, and I have no reason not to believe it, but then, why wouldn't the GOP take the side of the Gays and help us in our plight to get the recognition and the rights we deserve AND take our money too? With as many Gays who entered politics with a Conservative mindset and with enough Gays who enter politics with a Liberal to Moderate mind set, then it seems that what would be happening is that we'd be fighting a fight to elect people on their or for their political beliefs on how the country should be run. Isn't that more simple than to go through this drama of fighting a religious battle and wouldn't that be better because then we would all know, without a doubt, that there is Separation of Church and State and we wouldn't have to be constantly fighting what our Constitution says. Supreme Court Judges would be settling laws as to their Political beliefs and Constitutional knowledge instead of their religious beliefs and we would be closer to a Democracy our forefathers fought for than we are now, pretending to be a Democracy! No wonder the rest of the world hates us, they see us, in our our elected officials, as the hipocrits we are. Yep, the Log Cabins folks have really done it now, but it's not all their fault people.
I feal more fearful than shameful. I wonder just how much the Bush administration and its toadies in Congress will get away with before Americans en masse are willing to rise up in outrage. It's appalling how willing many of us are to sacrifice long-held principles on the altar of anti-terrorism. Dick, it isn't just that government money is going to programs that promote Jesus Christ; believe me, that's been happening for years. George W. Bush is sending our tax money to programs that pervert the Christ's teachings and which discriminate openly against LGBT people.
posted by Stuffed Animal, at
10/18/2006 12:35 PM
Evangelicals of course would be looked at as nuts...or at the very least, a powerful group with money, but a duplicitous ideology. They are the 'morals voters.' The Hill isn't just an issue of including talented gays and lesbians. But the 'values' club would also have to accept adulterers, the multiply divorced, the lechers who lust after the young flesh of female staffers, drunks and gamblers and userers. These are the ultimate cynics and why they'd regard evangelicals with a sideways glance. They don't really share the same moral values, but they know where a needed ingredient for more power and money is. There are more people in power who conflict with the Biblical values, than any gay minority could in that environment. The religious right would have nobody to play with in the halls of politics, given all that, now would they? Reality bites. It's just that it's a lot easier and convenient to make gays and lesbians the sacrificial morals lambs of the religious right's quest for political power and influence.
posted by Regan, at
10/18/2006 12:41 PM
The Washington Post, however, had an article recently interviewing members of "the religious right" who said the recent Foley episode had encouraged and even ENERGIZED them to vote republican.
The "fiscal conservative, socially liberal" wing of the Republican party may not like the ecC'ers, but they can't win national elections without them.
This is all about "divide and conquer". We'll see in three weeks if it works. It would just be a bit more pleasant if Democrats would give us a reason to vote for them in these dangerous times.
posted by Anonymous, at
10/18/2006 3:05 PM
If for no other reason, people need to vote Democratic to get some checks and balances back, which this country (and the world) so desperately need.
posted by Anonymous, at
10/18/2006 4:56 PM
I agree. G.W. Bush is on track to become the worst president in U.S. history. There is an article in this week's "Weekly Standard" (of all places), the neoconservative's "Pravda", by Irwin Stelzer detailing how Dubya has us so deep in hock to the Chinese that our balls are in their pocket for life.
Blinded by their stupidity and conceit, the Bushies have made one ruinous blunder after another in Iraq. Now Afghanistan is rapidly coming unstuck. My hope is that the Religious Right will be so tarred by these failures that the thought of mixing Christianity with politics will cause voters to barf. "Lord, let it be!"
posted by Sparky, at
10/18/2006 5:31 PM
Closeted gay Republicans have only got themselves to blame for the mess in which they find themselves. Their self hate must be overwhelming to actually support a party whose power has been used for so much evil. I have no sympathy for them, and hope that they can all be exposed and destroyed for the way that they have destroyed so many of us, wielding their dangerous closetry and hypocrisy as weapons in front of us for so very long.
posted by Laurence Marshall in Fresno, CA, at
10/18/2006 8:05 PM
I hate to be sarcastic...but not so much so that I won't take an opportunity to point out the difficult position in which the GOP finds itself in the aftermath of the Mark Foley scandal. Here's the snark. The Bush administration and the Republican Party have made a concerted effort to refute claims that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war and here in the U.S. they are now on the precipice of an uncivil war within the ranks of their own formerly lockstep voter coalition. From my perspective there is a degree of poetic justice in that reality.
It’s important to note just what evangelicals are actually opposing. The actions by Secretary of State Rice were not an endorsement of gay marriage and she was merely conducting the duties of her position. Further, Dybal was being appointed to a position with clear relevance to the gay community yet it still angered a number of evangelicals. We hear over and over again that evangelicals aren't opposed to gays having equal rights so long as they aren't allowed to marry...but if one looks at the reaction to this incident, it is clear that this evangelical rhetoric is meant to disguise their actual agenda...the full rejection of the gay lifestyle through the imposition of legislation that is punitive towards gays. If having a gay man's partner hold the Bible during a swearing in session is unacceptable, just what rights do evangelical believe gays deserve? If this is indicative of compassionate conservatism, I would hate to witness the absence of compassion.
There is one further irony found in comparing the unrest in Iraq and the schism within the GOP. Millions of Iraqi's made the effort to cast their votes in hopes of enacting a more equitable government and the Bush administration touted the now famous purple fingers as a symbol of success. Similarly, millions of evangelicals went to the polls in 2002 and 2004 believing they were electing leaders who would enact their agenda. The reality is that the votes by millions of Iraqi's did little to advance the goal of democracy in Iraq as powerful groups and individuals continue to battle for influence and power. There is growing evidence that the outcome here in the United States may well be the same.
"The Mark Foley scandal, as it turns out, proves that they weren't lying. The Republican elites in Washington love gay people, as long as they don't broadcast their sexual orientation."
There are two sides of this scandal: The first one is only an inside scandal, it's the fact that Foley is gay and didn't want it to be known. No problem with that.
The other side is the fact that he was involved in sexual affairs with minors. That has nothing to do with homosexuality. Wether you're straight or gay, you shouldn't try to have sex with minors, because it is a crime.
Those two sides shouldn't be mixed. It could be dangerous: homophobics people will say that all gays are potentially dangerous for children. Other groups could use the story to mix everything in their own purpose (religious, political...)
posted by Anonymous, at
10/19/2006 9:14 AM
Ummm...where do we have any proof that he had sexual affairs (even internet-based ones) with minors?
There are no facts yet to support that he deliberately went after boys younger than 18...sounds like he noticed them, but tried to stay away from them until they were older, and then away from The hill...
posted by Anonymous, at
10/19/2006 12:27 PM
Perhaps its time to purge Congress; time to takeback America for the people.
At www.PurgeCongress.com we promote that its time to purge Congress; not just Democrats, not just Republicans, but Congress.
Purge Congress seeks to identify, expose and crush the self-serving activities, direction and ideologies of those elected members, in Congress, that we believe are a threat to America, the American Dream, and American Exceptionalism.
Coming soon to a computer near you...Purging Pays. Purgers have fun while being paid to purge Congress.
George Bush won the "Worst President in US History" Award a long time ago. He's now working on the "Worst World Leader in History" and I think that neglect of global warming will surely cinch that award for him.
posted by Hephaestion, at
10/19/2006 7:13 PM