Sometimes politicians seem to know not what they say.
His opponent has put Lindsay Graham’s sexuality in play.
Candidate Dave Feliciano
Would like us all to know
That incumbent Senator Graham is definitively “ambiguously gay.”
Was Richard Grenell, Romney’s recently hired, openly gay spokesman on international relations, fired or did he really resign on his own volition, as the campaign claims? Charles Pierce at Esquire believes it was the former, because, after all, Romney has said he enjoys firing people:
It’s remarkable, this shitcanning of Richard Grenell as foreign-policy spokescritter for the Romneybot 2.0. Remarkable still for its being handled with such notable dispatch. First, you hire on the former mouthpiece for authoritarian nutbag John Bolton to establish further your neo-conservative foreign-policy gravitas. It turns out the guy is openly gay, so bonus! (Remember, all you wavering and otherwise vacant “independent” voters: Once, I was going to be a gayer senator than Teddy Kennedy. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink.) Then, of course, the guy turns out to be just as crackers as his former boss — Bad-mouthing the lovely Callista Gingrich? Calumnizing kindly Doc Maddow? My seconds will call on yours, sir! — and, because he’s gay, the megachurches scramble the flying monkeys into the air and, within two weeks, Grenell is as fired as an Ampad worker.
Andrew Sullivan, who has insight into the gay conservative movement, believes Grenell resigned because Romney refused to come to his defense after Bryan Fisher, a hate group apparatchik, accused Grenell — who is in a committed relationship and, counter to his party, advocates marriage equality — of probably engaging in “random, frequent, and anonymous sexual encounters” (because, you know, heterosexuals, especially anti-gay evangelical leaders, are never promiscuous), a factor that, Fisher says becomes “a significant issue when we’re talking about appointing somebody to a post as sensitive as a spokesman for national security and foreign policy.” (Talk about exhuming McCarthy!)
They do now, via Andrew Sullivan:
Romney’s National Security Spokesman Is Openly Gay … A fact that doesn’t make it into the Washington Post. But I’m in no way outing [Richard Grenell]. He has lived with his partner, Matt Lashey, for the past nine years, and is a frequent advocate for Republicans and gays. Which is why this pick is interesting. For Romney to have an openly gay spokesman is a real outreach to gay Republicans, a subtle signal to moderates, and the Santorum faction’s reaction will be worth noting.
Actually, the chance that Santorum’s faction will ever be exposed to the unpleasant fact that Romney has appointed an openly gay man to a high-profile position is less than zilch. Sully, who often writes about epistimic closure, may have been momentarily deluded when he wrote that last bit.
The Republicans base will not learn about it by reading (once openly gay, now closeted) Matt Drudge’s right-wing news aggregator website, and they won’t hear about in the GOP propaganda dumps on Fox News or hate radio — and teavangelicals would never expose their beautiful low-info minds to Sullivan’s posts on the The Daily Beast, even though he is a conservative Catholic, albeit one who is also openly gay.
|PART I||PART II|
Sen. Roy Ashburn, the GOP California state senator who was arrested for driving under the influence after leaving a gay club in Sacramento, came out today on a local right-wing radio show in Bakersfield, his home district. In the interview, Ashburn said objective in voting 100 percent against gay interests was simply to reflect the wishes of “the vast majority” of his constituents.
Maybe, but more often than not “I’m just a vessel of the people” really means “I will do and say whatever it takes to keep my job.”
Ashburn, a 55 year old, divorced father of four, has served as Kern County supervisor, state assemblyman and now senator from the 18th District, one California’s most conservative precincts. His guise as a sheep in wolf’s clothing worked flawlessly until now — he was reelected in 2006 with 70 percent of the vote — but he is term-limited out this year. Earlier this year, he abandoned plans to run for the U.S. Congress. Too bad. He would have fit right in.
Roy Ashburn is a career politician who built his career on a lie. To cover his tracks, he allied himself with the homophobes in his party and became one of the oppressors of his own kind — a fact preserved in his voting record. Ashburn not only voted against every gay rights-related measure that came up, he was even one of just 13 senators, all Republicans, who voted against establishing May 22 as an annual memorial day to honor Harvey Milk, the state’s martyred gay leader.
Until the drunk-driving incident, Ashburn hosted a weekly show on KERN AM, a hate radio outlet in Bakersfield. Within hours after he resigned, the station had expunged all references to his show from its website.
Nonetheless, he went on KERN’s Inga Barks Show Monday to announce that he is gay. Here’s a rough transcript of the interview — picks up at 06:40 in Part I of the audio above:
ROY ASHBURN: Well, I’ve always believed that I could keep my personal life personal and my public life public. But through my own actions I have made my personal life public, and I owe explanation to my constituents and to the people who have been kind to me through the years.
INGA BARKS: I want to offer you the opportunity to give that explanation. Do you want me to ask you the question, or do you just want to tell people?
RB: Well. I am gay, and, uh, so — I … those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long. Uh. But I am gay. But it is, it is something that is personal. And I don’t believe — I felt with my heart — you know, being gay did not affect, would not affect how I do my job.
Again, what happened through my own actions the other night changed all that.
IB: You know, I’ve never felt it relevant about people’s private lives, about their sexual orientation. It’s never been relevant to me, but for many this has been relevant. They felt that you were contradictory if it were true because of your votes. I would love for you to respond to that.
RA: Well, I mean it’s interesting to me because I have, according to the — my votes reflect the wishes of the people in my district. And I have always felt that my faith and allegiance was to the people there in the district, my constituents. And so as each of these individual measures came before the legislature, I cast “no” votes, usually “no” votes, because the measures were almost always about acknowledging rights or assigning identification to, to homosexual persons.
IB: Did you agree with those votes?
RA: Um, I felt my duty — and I still feel this way — is to represent my constituents… There’s never been a doubt in my mind on the position of the majority — the vast majority — of people in my district — on these different issues. So I voted as I felt I should on behalf of the people who elected me.
IB: Now you’ve been taking criticism the last couple of days from the gay groups that say it’s hypocrisy that you voted that way. I personally take an insult to that. That’s like saying every black person should vote for Obama, right?, and every woman should be pro-abortion. I don’t care for the stereotype myself, but I have to ask you, Roy, now that you have told us that you are in fact, um, gay, is it going to change the way you vote?
RA: Again, I believe firmly that my responsibility is to my constituents. On each measure that may come before me, uh, I will take a careful look at it and apply that standard — how would my constituents vote on this? How would they have me vote on this? … I don’t think anyone misunderstands what I mean.
As of Monday afternoon, there was at least one Facebook page advocating Ashburn’s recall.