Thursday, October 05, 2006

David Corn, Anti-Gay McCarthyist?

I am deeply upset to see people like the Nation's David Corn whipping up curiosity about the notion of "The List" - a supposed list of closeted gay aides to major Republican members of Congress. This is happening, sadly, in the aftermath of the Mark Foley affair, a serious and terrible incident that should provoke us not to discuss anyone's sexuality but only their propensity (or lack theirof) for child abuse.

Corn even quotes an unnamed source as writing the following to him:

The fact that some of the GOP gay guys are worried about a right-wing backlash against them is very telling. Their existence in all of these Hill offices would certainly explain (to the right-wingers) the total lack of legislative progress on most of the Christian/social conservative issues. I'd be pissed if I had a social conservative agenda that hadn't been addressed and suddenly it became clear, like now, who might have been subtly blocking it.

And then adds his own two cents:
That's another dimension that had not occurred to me--and another reason to wonder how messy this might get.

I'm sorry, but it is not secret gay congressional aides who are stopping the Republican Congress from winning victories in the culture war - and to suggest so or even muse approvingly of the suggestion does smack of an odd-twist on McCarthyism - ie, "I have here a list of secret gays in the Government who are exerting their power behind the scenes!"

I don't care if the agenda is to allow a supposedly pro-gay Democratic Party (most of whose members of congress are entirely unwilling to stand up and be counted as supporting full equality for LGBT people) to win back the House and/or Senate - Corn is making the Foley affair about homosexuality, as much as he insists the contrary. The ends definitely do not justify the means.

And if anyone wants a more plausible explanation to why the GOP doesn't produce that often for the religious right (aside from the clear achievements of a partial birth abortion ban, the Defense of Marriage Act signed by Bill Clinton, and Justices Alito and Roberts), they might look to Thomas Frank, who theorizes in What's the Matter with Kansas that, if the culture war is won too thoroughly, the Religious Right won't have a reason to keep voting.

If the Democrats and their allies on the blogosphere keep the focus on Hastert's coverup, and the Republicans right-wing agenda more broadly, and forget talking about anyone's sexuality, than maybe they will come out of this awful debacle without any shame.

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