The image of the right wing “family values” closet gay for an uncontrollable obsession with tasting the forbidden fruit, has almost become a stereotype, but these troubled souls continue to provide us with plenty of grist. Of course, the issue isn’t one about sexuality, but the hypocrisy of these individuals who not only claim moral superiority, but only campaign against the rights of gay people.
The latest episode involving Senator Larry Craig (a family values married) not only highlights this repression, but the inability of the right wing to come to terms with their own double standards. Gay activist Mike Rogers revealed that Craig has a fondness for having sex with anonymous men in public bathrooms.
As Rogers argued at the time, the story was relevant — just as the Vitter prostitute story was — in light of Craig’s frequent political exploitation of issues of sexual morality and his opposition to virtually every gay rights bill. Rogers’ story, as a factual matter, seemed relatively credible, both because of his history of accurate outings and because there is no discernible reason why, if he were intent on fabricating, he would single out someone as obscure as Larry Craig, who was not even up for re-election.
Nonetheless, it is hard to overstate the intense fury that this pre-election report triggered from the Right — not at Senator Craig for engaging in this behavior, but at Rogers for reporting it. A virtually unanimous chorus on the Right furiously insisted that nothing could be more irrelevant than whether the married family values Senator had sex with men in bathrooms (acts that are simultaneously criminal and adulterous). The same political movement that impeached Bill Clinton and which has made a living exploiting issues of private morality for political gain insisted that Rogers had reached a new and despicable low in politics even by reporting this.
As Glenn Greenwald points out, those that led the charges of sexual McCarthyism at the time included the usual suspects. They even went so far as to predict the backlash against the report would save the GOP during the last elections.
That was late 2006. Today is a different story. The same people who were wanting to lynch Rogers are now calling for Craig to resign.
Michelle Malkin yesterday called Craig a “weasel,” accused him of not caring about the “dignity of his office,” and demanded that he resign. Various other right-wing blogs — noting that a GOP governor will appoint his replacement — also are calling for Craig to resign.
So revealingly, Barnett’s blog colleague, Hugh Hewitt, demanded Craig’s immediate resignation while openly acknowledging that he does not believe Sen. Vitter should resign.
And the list goes on.
Mark Steyn echoes Hewitt’s demand that Craig resign and then proceeds to spew adolescent mockery comparing Craig to George Michael.