Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why Do Conservatives Like Larry Craig Seem So Gay?

Thank goodness we live in a country where everyone is straight until proven gay beyond a shadow of a doubt. When Merv Griffin died recently most obituaries didn't mention rumors that he was gay. Most newspapers operate under strict rules of journalistic ethics that dictate that unless a person says they are gay or there is evidence of their homosexuality that would be admissible in a court of law, and sometimes not even then, they are presumed to be straight no matter how many people of the same sex claim to have slept with them.

The tragic saga of Idaho Senator Larry Craig is a perfect example of why journalists have this important rule. For months The Idaho Statesman investigated rumors that Craig was gay, but withheld publication of the article until he pleaded guilty to seeming to be gay, which apparently is a crime in Minnesota. According to the officer who arrested him in a restroom at the Minneapolis airport, Craig used gay "code" to signal that he wanted a sexual liaison, tapping his foot and fidgeting with his hands and touched the officer's foot with his foot, which Craig attributed to having a "wide stance." In Minneapolis one doesn't actually have to proposition someone to have sex in a bathroom to be arrested, one just has to give off certain signals that can be decoded according to a gay handbook the police have apparently obtained.

Of course, seeming to be gay is not the same as actually being gay, despite what the Minneapolis police department believes. In fact, the more one looks at the evidence that Craig seems to be gay, the more one can see that it is really just evidence of being conservative. There are many attributes of conservatism that seem really gay and unfortunately the more we deny that we are gay, the gayer we seem. This incident should put a chill in every conservative who has a "wide stance" or belongs to a barbershop quartet.

Rumors of Sen. Craig's homosexuality date back to 1982 when Craig denied sleeping with male pages even before anyone had accused him of doing so. "Persons who are unmarried as I am, by choice or by circumstance, have always been the subject of innuendos, gossip and false accusations," Craig said in his premature denial. "I think this is despicable." A month later, the page making the accusations recanted, but I'm sure Craig felt inoculated against any future accusations that he was gay by having a denial already out there. I wonder why more conservatives haven't made pre-emptive denials that they are gay--just in case.

Unfortunately, many conservatives are awkward and shy around women, which just fuels rumors that they are gay. That is why, for example, blogger Ace of Spades often seems so gay even though he is one of the most heterosexual unmarried bloggers on the Internet. Like many conservatives, Ace of Spades tries to overcompensate for these unfair perceptions by making a lot of anti-gay jokes. But sometimes his efforts to use light-hearted anti-gay humor to deflect these false impressions make him seem obsessed with homosexuality. And no matter how many times Dan Riehl tells us that he turned his back on his gay brother who died of AIDS or that he can't stop thinking about how homosexual acts disgust him whenever he sees Barney Frank on television, there are still people who will say that maybe he protests too much. It is a Catch-22 situation that many conservatives sadly get caught in.

Despite Craig's strong denial that he was in any way, shape or form gay, his marriage six months after denying he was gay, and his 100% anti-gay voting record in Congress, rumors nevertheless persisted. According to The Idaho Statesman story, one of his accusers claimed that Craig "cruised" him at an REI store in Boise. Craig had a logical explanation, of course. "Once again, I'm not gay, and I don't cruise, and I don't hit on men," he said. "I have no idea how he drew that conclusion. A smile? Here is one thing I do out in public: I make eye contact, I smile at people, they recognize me, they say, 'Oh, hi, Senator.' Or, 'Do I know you?' I don't go around anywhere hitting on men, and by God, if I did, I wouldn't do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!" Conservatives are very friendly, open people, the kind of people who make eye contact for longer than some people might find comfortable, so it is easy to see how this could be misconstrued by a gay man looking for love from a kindly older man. Conservatives also often use words like "Jiminy!" which may sound gay to some people.

Craig's speech patterns do seem awfully gay, but Jim McClure, the man Craig succeeded in the Senate, offered a helpful explanation for that, too. "Larry's speech patterns are very precise," said McClure. "They're not what you expect from a rancher from Midvale. His speech patterns say, 'Hey, here's a guy who's a little different.' And he is, he's a little different. But that doesn't mean he's homosexual for heaven's sakes! You have to jump from prejudice to suspicion to I don't know what to give the rumors any credibility."

A lot of conservatives got picked on as children because they seemed "a little different." I don't know what kind of childhoods William Kristol, Jonah Goldberg and John Podhoretz had but I'm sure they got made fun of a lot by the other kids because kids can be cruel. Luckily, they all have very strong mothers who protected them. But being "a little different" or being close to one's mother does not make someone gay.

The Idaho Statesman article also dispensed with rumors that Craig was drummed out of the military for being gay. Craig is a staunch opponent of gays serving in the military, writing to a constituent just a month after the unfortunate incident in the Minneapolis airport, "The armed forces exist to wage war. It is unacceptable to risk the lives of American soldiers and sailors merely to accommodate the sexual lifestyles of certain individuals." Although Craig was honorably discharged from the military after only 20 months, it was not for being gay but for a "physical disqualification." Although conservatives are big supporters of sending other people into combat, many of us also have physical ailments that disqualify us from military service, which we would be happy to do if only we could. Of course, that doesn't make us gay.

You might think that with all the things conservatives say that seem really gay, but aren't, we would all be more sympathetic to Craig's plight. When conservatives gush about how macho Fred Thompson and President Bush are, we do sound a little bit like Village People fans. Some people could mistakenly view conservatives' passion for the bulging, oiled-up muscles on display in the movie 300 as homoerotic instead of merely intellectual admiration for the allegorical parallels with the War in Iraq.

But, in fact, many conservatives are now abandoning Craig, despite the fact that he denied, with biblical defiance, three times that he is gay in his press conference. Hugh Hewitt says that Craig should resign, even though he admits that he didn't call for David Vitter to resign, which has nothing to do with the fact that Vitter admitted to hiring female prostitutes, which makes him, thankfully, not gay, or that the Governor of Louisiana, unlike the Governor of Idaho, is a Democrat, but for some other reason that he can't quite put his finger on. Other conservatives, who reacted to activist Mike Rogers' outting of Craig before the November 2007 election with outrage, saying that it would be "irrelevant" even if true, have now had a change of heart. Apparently, 11/06 changed everything.

But I think my fellow conservatives should not be too quick to turn on Craig. If everyone who just seems gay is drummed out of the Republican party or the conservative movement anyone could be next. Every effete mama's boy with precise speech patterns, every hawk with a physical inability to perform military service, every unmarried man with an awkwardness around women, every admirer of Fred Thompson and President Bush who gushes over how manly they are, every aging adolescent fan of comic books, Star Trek, World of Warcraft, Star Wars action figures and the movie 300 will come under suspicion. If we start going after every conservative who seems kind of gay, the only conservatives left will be Fred Thompson, President Bush and Rudolph Giuliani. Well, maybe not Giuliani.

Update: Tucker Carlson demonstrates how easy it is for a conservative to seem really gay and not be gay at all.



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40 comments:

Beach Blogger said...

Jon,

Your "Iowa Statesman" newspaper probably circulates in Idaho City, Ohio.

- K said...

It's good to see you back here Mr. Swift, as it is sad to see the mainstream conservative movement once again getting hamstrung by its own bigotry.

Den Valdron said...

finally he's back! After checking the goddammed site three times a day for a month, Mr. Swift deigns to make an appearance.

You have readers Mr. Swift. We are happy to see you, but otherwise very displease.

We know you've got a life. We just don't care.

Anonymous said...

here's something to look into....

Some guy just called into the nationwide syndicated "The Stephanie Miller Radio Show" and said he went to University with Larry Craig and he was kicked out of his 1st choice career study of animal husbandry because he was caught having relations with a goat in his room while at Boise State. Then he changed his major to political science.


...just a sincere tip from an anonymous Stephanie listener.

Anonymous said...

You know how I know you're gay? You start a press conference thanking everyone "for coming out." http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2007/08/28/craig.statement.kbci BTW, it's the Idaho Statesman, not Iowa.

mw said...

"...every aging adolescent fan of comic books, Star Trek"

Did you really have to drag Star Trek into this airport bathroom stall with your conservative friends?

Hello Jon! Hello! Anybody in there? Counsellor Troi? T'Pol? Seven of Nine? Need I remind you that all women of the the future have very large breasts and wear skimpy, clingy lycra clothing? Duh.

Jon Swift said...

I really don't understand these references to "The Iowa Statesman." Of course, my piece refers to "The Idaho Statesman." Let me be clear: my piece doesn't say "Iowa Statesman" and I never did write "Iowa Statesman" and I deplore this witchhunt against me.

Hackwhackers said...

Welcome back, Jon. And just when your thoughtful analysis is most needed.

Let me state that it's not necessarily gay to take a "wide stance", whether in a bathroom or in the bedroom. Nor is it manifestly gay to peer into an occupied stall. Senator Craig may have poor eyesight, after all. Or he may have wanted to make sure no lewd conduct was occuring.

Ayatollah Mugsy said...

I, too, have been falsely accused of bathroom misconduct.

Frank Grimes said...

Jon,

Glad you are back, your blog is top shelf and you are brilliant.

Re: Sen. Larry Craig...

REACTION FORMATION
–noun.

•a behavioral tendency developed in direct opposition to a repressed impulse.

•a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously develops attitudes and behavior that are the opposite of unacceptable repressed desires and impulses and serve to conceal them; "his strict morality is just a reaction formation to hide his sexual drive"

Anonymous said...

I am a Republican from Idaho, and I have known for a long time that Senator Craig is gay, BUT he votes the way, we, his constituents want him to vote, and I believe that in his heart of hearts that is how he knows he should vote. What's troubling to me is the deception of it all. He's been a good Senator but he needs to go now as he is a distraction and will not have any credibiltiy with anyone.

purvis ames said...

Well, anyone who called Bill Clinton, "a nasty, naughty boy" should know what he's talking about. I firmly believe that Senator Craig was just engaged in little research to further buttress his consistently anti-pervert positions. Or maybe he just thought the fellow in the next stall was a shoe shine boy.

punkinsmom said...

Poor man. It's always sad to see someone swallowed up by his own hypocrisy. Oh. Did I say "swallowed"? Freudian slip.

Mr. Warmth said...

Well, if Larry Craig had to be sacrificed on the alter of conservative hypocrisy to get you out of your (writing) closet, it was well worth it. Adios Sen. Craig, but a big "welcome home" Jon!

Stupid Git said...

Best be careful comparing conservatives to gays as it might set them off in a frenzied quest to "out macho" each other by encouraging even more torture and bombing the crap out of another helpless nation. Because would some sissy little queen kill and torture? No, only a big, strong red-blooded hetero manly man would!

We Are The 801 said...

Jon, we've missed you!

I wonder when the US will be enlightened enough to realise that sexual orientation is no big deal.

Here's something I'm afraid we'll never see in America unfortunately: http://www.georginabeyer.com/bio.htm

I'm slowly working my way for immigrating to New Zealand and my kiwi girlfriend told me about this New Zealand MP last year. She's got a lot of support & people. Last I heard, she's running for mayor of Wellington now. I was floored when my GF told me about her, but she thought my incredulousness was funny.

And Christchurch has a mayoral election coming up & the top three candidates are all gay. All kiwis care about is if you do a good job.

Just big cultural differences, living in a more open & less repressive society. The US has got a lot of growing up to do.

liquiddaddy said...

Mr. Swift,

I fear the problem is more dire than you describe. It is not just conservatives who appear a little light in the loafers (see Trent Lott) as a direct result of their conservative machinations, but also conservative Christians.

Something happens at Jesus Camp to make otherwise butch fellows turn so Nancy-fied (see Tony Perkins, Ralph Reed, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, etc.) that they make Ted Haggard seem just the "tip" of the iceberg.

No amount of lectures on the virtues of strong Republican men from Gary Bauer on Hardball (wince) as seen yesterday would convince me otherwise.

LD

Heywood J. said...

Good to see you back, Swifty. Enjoy a nice LOLCraig which I crapped out to commemorate Hello Larry's stance troubles.

Nice points on overcompenstaing, btw. There's a fine line between riffing and overcompensating, not that I know where that line is either.

Heywood J. said...

So who's next in the Conswervative outing pool? I say either Huckleberry Graham or Mitch McConnell.

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Heh-heh-heh Craig said "innuendo"! Heh-heh-heh...

Seriously, anybody who says publicly "I am not gay" so obviously IS! A real straight conservative man would just walk over to whoever asked the question and punch him in the mouth. Hard. Especially if the person who asked the question looked sorta sissified.

And 801, here across the Tasman we have the example of Green Party federal Sen. Bob Brown and a number of other high-ranking pollies who are gay. But you never hear anyone talking about it because no one cares, as it's none of their business. I'd be regarded as gauche for bringing it up, except that as an American immigrant, it's taken for granted that I'll behave boorishly.

And Rev. Doctor Swift, is there any truth to the story making the rounds that you were tragically trapped for almost a month in a men's room stall with a defective lock?

Enterik said...

And I quote Tucker Carlson, "...that actually bothers people who didn't ask for being bothered" (Near 2:26 left on the time).

I'll overlook the bad grammar and ask the obvious question, how does one ask to be bothered?

Must he speak the words, "Bother me, please!" Must he pull a Gary Hart and dare the media to catch him?

Or is it enough that he take a virulently anti-equal rights under the law stance at every turn, opposing the freedom to marry and the right to serve for decades?

I say that through his actions he was asking to be bothered, it's karma, gay or not.

He plead guilty! It's like none of you conservatives are able to 'member that fact.

Such hypocracy[sic] is a perfect wedge to insert between the gay-dependent republican leadership and it's family values voter base. The GOP has been using such wedge weapons for years, why not let them fall on their own sword. Conservative virulently anti-equality talking heads will do all the hacking and those calling for tolerance of diversity will alienate themselves from their base. Sure, true believers will just focus on avoiding the cognitive dissonance and hate the Democrats, but they were already doing that anyways.

There is a question for Larry Craig and Tucker Carlson...

"You ever get the feelin'... I don't know, er... when you're in town and someone looks at you all suspicious, like he knows? And then you go out on the pavement and everyone looks like they know too?" queried Ennis del Mar

kathleenmaher said...

You guys should visit a US airport Womens Room, in disguise as necessary. Foot tapping; one foot (in shoe or not) connecting with another's; and grasping hands under the stall (for women, a universal signal inquiring as to extra paper's availability) are the least annoying atmospherics.
If plainclothes police sit in the men's room alert for suggestive foot tapping, it means they've plucked the day's plum assignment. Wait in the womens rest room and you cue up among people weeping and bleeding, dressing and undressing in a sea filled with back-up matter from plumbing disasters caused by a surfeit of used feminine products. Should you persist for your turn, by waiting half an hour or more, you'll be quite lucky to find a stall where bulimics have been acting on their compulsions, and then--not cleaning up--since the day before. Those tend to be the cleaner ones. Pity the poor attendants, who are employed for the Herculean task of waste removal.
Tucker Carlson's unhappy because he's suffered unwanted attention. What woman hasn't suffered unwanted attention--be she young or old, bulimic, anorectic, obese, pregnant, virgin, rich, or poor? That's life whether you're wearing a bow tie, a straight one, or none at all.

Kurt Prochnow said...

The unanswered burning question still remains: Top or bottom?

Felix, UK said...

That dog on his knee looks a bit froo-froo to me!

Miss Cellania said...

There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for his behavior. And even if he was gay, that’ be OK.

Anonymous said...

Right on as usual, Mr. Swift!

Renoir said...

Too true, Jon, too true. Sadly Idaho's governor is also part of the problem:

http://ollysonions.blogspot.com/2007/09/republicans-were-so-not-gay.html

Micgar said...

He said buttress. But I digress.

Welcome back. Its great to read your analyses of our country's situations.

Jaesoreal said...

You took a heckuva hiatus didn't you? "...despite the fact that he denied, with biblical defiance, three times that he is gay in his press conference." A very impressive reference to Peter there! Genius.

Lynn@ZelleBlog said...

I too am concerned about the potential for conservatives to out-macho one another.

And...Tucker is such a hypocrite jerk for going on about privacy in these cases when they were so infatuated with Lewinsky. WHen its a homophobe who talks openly about denying gay rights, its nobody's business?

Whatever.

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Dear Sir,
Do not fail in your thesis on Craig's "gayness" to note that in having his non-biological children defend his heterosexuality, he stepped further into the quicksand of suspicion. Methinks Senator Craig doth protest too much.

Anonymous said...

Larry Craig has NON-BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN?!? Sweet jumpin' Jehosophat! Are they made out of silicon or something? This calls for a full-scale investigation!!!

Anonymous said...

The cop in the bathroom said Senator Larry Craig then tapped his right foot, "a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct." Officer Karsnia also stated that Craig ran his left hand several times underneath the partition dividing the stalls. I find this funny that tapping your foot in the bathroom stall and showing your hand is the gay signal. Now I don’t remember who sang this song. It’s an old song and I only remember a few lines.
“Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me. Twice on the pipes if the answer is No.” Now I tap my foot to the beat of the music if I am listening to a good song. Does the cop have the right to arrest me for that? I might move my hands like I am playing the drums too? Is that a second offense. Or is “Pretending to be Gay while going to the potty” a crime? Now is this really a law, or did the cop make this up because he hates gay men. I
can see the Lawyers digging though the books to check on this law. This also raises a whole host of new questions? My thought is that the cop made this all up. Maybe the cop should be arrested and charged for falsely arresting the Senator for wanting to engage in a lewd conduct. This could be considered a hate crime. A second offense charged on Officer Karsnia. The Cop now has two counts against him. The tables are now turned, the cop does time for a hate crime. Just another corrupt Cop in the system if you want my opinion. Melanie Stephan

Anonymous said...

Officer Karsnia sat in a stall in a busy airport washroom spying on an elderly gentleman in an obvious state of agitation, one who any reasonable person would assume had to pee or take a dump. And it is the elderly gentleman who is accused of initiating illicit behavior?

Edwin said...

Hackwhackers 덧글 내용...

Let me state that it's not necessarily gay to take a "wide stance", whether in a bathroom or in the bedroom. Nor is it manifestly gay to peer into an occupied stall. Senator Craig may have poor eyesight, after all. Or he may have wanted to make sure no lewd conduct was occuring.


That was hilarious. Is it part of a stand up gig?

Oh, and yes, Tucker Carlson strikes me as very gay, just very deep in the closet. I bat for that team, so I have a pretty good idea.

PS: Jon, have I followed you here from C&L? Perhaps. You're the first truly witty conservative blogger I've "met".

N.J.T said...

Your take on why he was arrested in Minneapolis are pretty lacking, Jon. Despite our anti-sodomy law, which existed on the books for far too long (in congress with numbers of other states until the supreme court struck them all), we are one the liberal places in this country. Never for a moment would we arrest someone for being gay.

The propositioning of others in the privacy of a bathroom is, however, another story; offensive enough for us to spare one of our police officers for an afternoon, by all means. The way with which he signaled his intent was far outside the bounds of acceptable behavior. To touch another man's foot outside of one's stall requires premeditation, and his ultimate goal wasn't to find another gay professional to hop on his plane and head home with him -- he was looking for sex in our airport bathrooms!

Now, if I had casual sex with a woman in one of those bathrooms and got caught, I would probably face airport expulsion; and if I snook into the ladies' room and propositioned anyone there I would be arrested, no doubt. The key here is privacy and the erosion of that privacy by closeted homosexuals who are too afraid of being honest with everyone and just heading to a bar like the rest of us.

loulee said...

Did anyone watch the Tucker Carlson bit? Toward the end of the video he describes his reaction to the unwanted attention he once experienced in a restroom: he says he went and got a friend and came back to the restroom and grabbed the offending man and hit the man’s head against the restroom stall. During this recounting the other two guys in the video are giggling in agreement that Tucker handled the situation correctly. I’m thoroughly disgusted and sickened that the three of them think that violence was an appropriate response in Tucker’s situation. It is not OK to bash someone because they mistakenly thought you were gay.

Also, sounds to me like Tucker (and the other two) doth protest too much. Anyone that reacts that strongly to being "wrongly perceived as gay" usually is gay and just not yet admitting it.

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