***8/27/07: Read the update to this story and my thoughts on it here.***
The big story in the blogosphere today is the ‘outing’ of Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) by outing specialist Mike Rogers, a despicable individual who has a history of outing supposedly closeted homosexuals.
First things first, I don’t give a damn if Craig is gay or not. For the record, he’s denying it. Fine. What’s bothersome to me is Rogers’ continued insistence that ‘outing’ supposedly closeted gay politicians is fair game. From that same link:
Rogers says that digging into the private lives of politicians who support anti-gay legislation is legitimate. Because Craig supported and voted for the Defense of Marriage act, it is politically relevant to reveal these claims, Rogers said. In a letter to Craig, he wrote: “What these citizens are not being told is that some of the politicians who want their help are or have staff who are part of the so-called â€˜homosexual lifestyle.'”
Let’s assume for purposes of discussion that Senator Craig is gay – are we to assume that his votes against issues that are important to the gay community were an attempt by Craig to mask his ‘hidden desires’? Or was it more Craig’s intent to represent the voters of Idaho who put him into office based, in part, on his stances on those issues? My guess would be the latter – and again, this is assuming for discussion purposes that Craig is gay, something that can’t be proven one way or another (unless there are emails, IMs, video, pix, etc – and God help us if that kind of thing surfaces).
I know a lot of conservatives are of the mindset that this is yet another more in a long list of October surprises perpetuated by Democrats, and while I wouldn’t put it past Democrats to endorse something like this, I’m not so sure I’d fall into the October surprise camp, considering that Craig will not be up for re-election until 2008. Of course, it could be that the people behind this campaign (and I know it’s more than just Rogers) are using this to try and paint the Republicans as the party that doesn’t practice what it preaches right here before the elections. I wouldn’t rule that out.
I’ve also read a few gay lefty bloggers who, astoundingly, completely (and deliberately) miss the point and instead choose to engage in pointing out supposed Republican ‘hypocrisy’ on the issue of outing gays, which is complete BS (Dean Barnett links to the chief asserter of the alleged Republican hypocrisy angle). If you’ve ever talked to a gay person about the issue of “coming out” they’ll tell you (at least this has been what I’ve been told in my conversations with gay friends)) that deciding on whether or not to come out is an intensely personal, sometimes agonizing decision to make – and the announcement should come from them. It’s theirs and theirs alone to make. Not anyone else’s. Coming out is, to put it simply, a private matter between the person coming out and their family and friends.
Several years ago, a friend of mine who I’d known since I was in elementary school came out to me. I told that friend that his coming out did not change how I felt about him as a friend. In the midst of our conversation, he mentioned that he’d been to a club recently and bumped into someone we both knew from junior and senior high school who was also gay. Out of curiosity, I asked him “who was it?” His response to me essentially was that it wasn’t his place to say, that he didn’t know if our mutal friend had told his family and friends yet that he was gay, and that the announcement that he was gay would have to come from him directly. I respected that, and later found out that what my friend said about the need for gay people who come out to make the announcement themselves was pretty consistent with I’d heard and read about the issue. Someone else coming out for a gay person can have seriously disastrous consequences if the gay person was not ready to be outed yet.
That’s what bothers me about Rogers’ little campaigns to out politicians who are supposedly gay. He’s not doing it because he thinks closeted gay politicians should be ‘held accountable’ for personal conduct that doesn’t match their public rhetoric. He engages in outting campaigns because gay Republicans don’t vote the way he wants them too. It’s sick, and in my opinion one of the lowest forms of attempted political manipulation I’ve ever seen in modern history.
If Craig is indeed gay, it’s his decision whether or not to come out – NOT MIKE ROGERS’. Rogers is a creep who should be condemned by both sides of the aisle. Sadly, as Patterico notes with links, the far left is grabbing onto this news gleefully like a rabid dog who has found a pile of chicken bones. How pathetic, and what a sad commentary on modern politics.
PM Update I: Check out Red State’s post on this regarding a possible blackmail angle to this ‘outing’. Interesting.
PM Update II: Dean Barnett has a lengthier post up on the subject this afternoon. Consider it a must-read.
PM Update III: What the hell? Here’s how the LA Times describes Mike Rogers, who is quoted in their article about an alleged “pink purge” going on within the GOP:
[…] a gay-rights activist who runs a blog to combat what he calls hypocrisy among conservative gay politicians.
ROTFL! This is like referring to the Rev. Fred Phelps as an “anti-gay rights activist who believes the First Amendment shouldn’t be violated” – without mentioning the fact that he and his ‘church’ routinely protest at military funerals!