Tonight's Dinner Special: Indigestion

Monday, July 18, 2005

Tonight's Dinner Special: Indigestion

In her post on Friday, Zoe offered Exhibit A of a gay person who has shamelessly chosen to flack for a homophobe. She noted that Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), one of the Senate's premier homophobes, has an openly gay director of communications: Robert Traynham.

Now, permit me to offer Exhibit B.

Reliable sources tell me that at last Wednesday's awards dinner of the Ripon Society, none other than the closeted U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) -- closeted, that is, to everyone but several hundred gay men who know his real story -- went to the podium to offer a stirring defense of White House political operative Karl Rove. Referring to the brouhaha over the covert CIA leak, Foley told attendees that Rove "has done nothing wrong."

It's hard to think of anything more pathetic than this. Here was a gay congressman (one who had been forced to exit the U.S. Senate race last year in Florida in the wake of a newspaper report that identified him as gay) coming to the defense of Rove, a man who had overseen the president's '04 electoral strategy -- one that was based largely on exploiting fear and hostility toward gays as a means to boost the GOP's base vote.

It's a good thing that I was not at that dinner; I only had to listen second-hand to this story. Had I actually been there, I suspect that the rubber-chicken or dry-as-dust salmon that was served that evening wouldn't have stayed in my stomach for long.

Incidentally, it is quite possible that Rove, in his heart of hearts (assuming he has one tucked behind his rib cage), is not truly a homophobe. But his role in advancing an electoral strategy that included demonizing gay people may simply reflect the fact that Rove is willing to commit a variety of disgraceful acts if they help produce a political victory.

Meanwhile, Congressman Foley continues to flack for party officials who support policies and strategies that disparage and demonize who he is.

Quick, dial 9-11 -- this man needs a transfusion of self-respect.

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