Will the Democrats ever take off their gloves and fight appropriately against the truly dangerous gang of ultra right wingers who have taken over the executive and legislative branches of government and threaten to dominate the judiciary?
As the extreme right wingers show their true character in repeated sex and addiction scandals, the Democrats ignore choice opportunities for counterpunching. Indeed, the now routine news stories about major reactionary spokespeople engaging in scandalous behavior offers liberals a chance to show the public the true nature of those who have taken over the U.S. government.
Last year, Rush Limbaugh, the most pompous and pretentious of the AM radio bombasts, got caught with lots of Oxycontin (rural heroin), a very illegal drug to possess without prescription. Evidence also indicated that he also engaged in dealing the illicit substances that he ingested. He admitted to a heavy addiction, but the Democrats, objects of his daily sarcasm and acid, let this scandal slip by.
Even more tempting for those with even a drop of pluck was the revelation that the White House had issued instant press credentials to Jeff Gannon, aka James Guckert. For two years, this ultra right “reporter” for Republican Party Web sites (owned by a Texas Republican) got called on regularly by White House press secretary Scott McClellan and by Bush himself. Gannon, predictably, asked loaded, pro-Administration questions. He also directed disinformation campaigns on various controversial issues for his Republican bosses.
The Secret Service knew about Guckert’s homo-erotic Web sites where Gannon appears as “military, muscular, masculine and discrete.” A web designer admitted he had “designed a gay escort site for Gannon and had posted naked pictures of Gannon at the client’s request” (Washington Post, Feb 13). On his promotional website, Gannon wears a helmet and nothing else, until you look down at his paratrooper boots.
Did this ultra sleazy prostitute simply slip through the “increased security” cracks and receive his daily White House press card? A former federal policeman assured me that “only a direct order from very high up could have gotten him that close to the President.”
Neither the Democrats nor the media followed up on this scandal or pursued the question: Who in the higher reaches of the White House knows people like Gannon-Guckert well enough to use them for political ends?
Marquis of Queensbury rules don’t apply when your opponents eye-gouge. Don’t Democrats recall that Bill Clinton’s benign peccadillo tens of millions of both sexes have engaged in it brought on an almost interminable and costly investigation that almost cost him the presidency? The Democrats don’t convert these “personal idiosyncrasies” into political weapons, or even raise these extremely weird behavior patterns as political issues that the public should investigate with great care.
In 1972, I stood next to a musician friend behind a San Francisco stage. He tuned his guitar in preparation for a benefit performance for the short lived Hookers’ Union, which some clever prostitutes had launched to defend the rights of those particular working women.
Several of these recently recruited union members talked about how hard they had had to work at the recent San Diego Republican convention. “I must’ve put in four straight eighteen hour days,” said a cute blond in a mini skirt. “But I never got my privates wet.”
“Huh? asked the musician. “What did you do?”
“I peed and crapped on people and whipped a few, told them how bad they were and how much they deserved to be punished. That’s what got ’em off. So that’s what I did.”
“So, who were these people anyway?” he asked.
“Oh, you know, Senators and judges and people like that,” she replied.
Twenty-three years and dozens of exposé stories later allows us to stop calling this behavior by the prissy and proper “hypocrisy” and name it correctly. When people of power obtain their sexual gratification by having prostitutes humiliate them, we might at least question the motives of their quest for naked power.
Those who despise themselves and want to be punished for their sexual and other behavioral proclivities sex outside of marriage and drug using, for examples and seek positions of power then turn that power against homosexuals, people who share their own behavioral tendencies.
The recent case of Christian fundamentalist Jim West, Mayor of Spokane, illustrates the point. West spewed anti-gay language and dedicated himself to opposing gay rights, while luring young men or teenage boys into sexual relationships (He claimed he thought they were adults). West preached Christian values as a Boy Scout leader, Deputy Sheriff, Republican State legislator and as Mayor while engaging in sexual practices that he himself defined as abhorrent and criminal.
West admitted that he had a dinner date in June 2004 with an 18-year-old man whom he had contacted through a gay chat room. Using internet names Cobra82nd and RightBi-Guy, West then let the youth drive his “blue Lexus convertible. The evening ended with consensual sex,” said the 18-year-old Bill Morling (Spokane Spokeman-Review May 24).
Washington State Sen. Pam Roach, who disagreed with West while he served in the Senate, called West “a cutthroat politician. He likes power over people and over young people.”
The West episode echoes a 1980 case in Washington DC. Police caught Republican Congressman Bobby Bauman of Maryland in flagrante in a male brothel with an underage boy. Bauman blamed the incident on alcohol. But several years later, after resigning from Congress, he came out of the closet and apologized for his gay-bashing activities.
Like West, Bauman had distinguished himself in Congress by attacking homosexuals. Later, Bauman admitted that he had unconsciously loathed his own homosexuality. Rather than confronting and accepting it, he admitted that he projected the disgust he felt toward himself onto others who shared his identity.
Such self-loathing in some Nazi storm troopers led them to kill and severely beat other homosexuals. Indeed, who but closet homosexuals has such passionate interest in “bashing” gays and denying rights to people who differ from the supposedly “biblical” prescriptions of proper behavior?
Members of the ultra right led by Majority Leader Tom DeLay in the House and his counterparts on the President’s staff now threaten to dominate the federal judiciary. DeLay has led his coalition of bible thumping Republican, gay bashers in policies that benefit exclusively the very rich and multinational corporate sectors. He has ruled the House as if debate, hearings and bipartisanship amounted to socialist traditions and replaced them with authoritarian directives.
In 1982, I interviewed right wing ideologue and then Senate aide Sam Frances. He described the goals of the then new right as “a quest for power total power.”
This grab to dominate in politics includes a propaganda assault through the media, exemplified by bombastic right wing talk show hosts who unleash their peculiar form of “freedom dogma” and espousal of “Christian values” over the am airwaves. Once in a while, even the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News allows a liberal to get some air time especially if he brings in advertising money.
In mid May, the rare liberal on Fox radio, talk show host Alan Colmes, interviewed Neal Horsley, an anti-abortion militant. As a boy growing up in rural Georgia, Horsley said he routinely enjoyed intimate relations with animals.
Planned Parenthood named Horsley as the author of the “Nuremberg Files,” a list of abortion doctors, “marked for death.”
Village Voice (May 19) columnist James Ridgeway reprinted Horsley’s dialogue with Colmes:
Colmes: You had sex with animals?
Horsley: Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule.
Colmes: Are you suggesting that everybody who grows up on a farm in Georgia has a mule as a girlfriend?
Horsley: It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from the reality. . . . Welcome to domestic life on the farm. You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually. You’re naive. You know better than that… If it’s warm and it’s damp and it vibrates, you might in fact have sex with it.
Ridgeway called Horsley and read him the quotes. “That’s correct,” Horsley replied. Ridgeway reprinted words from Horsley’s website. “Now when homosexuals, or adulterers, or fornicators, or pedophiles, or beast fornicators and beast suckers, or any sexual outlaws, parade themselves around as if they could be followers of Jesus Christ, they demonstrate a lie and blasphemy and abomination.”
My tendency is to laugh. But Horsley is not just another loony, bible pounding right winger. His energy typifies the élan of the Bush era. If the Democrats don’t stand up to those who have captured the Republican Party we will all have to rely on what Gore Vidal predicted to me would be the solution to the Bush madness. The real conservatives will have to step forward and deal with this ultra radical gang.
SAUL LANDAU’s newest book is THE BUSINESS OF AMERICA: HOW CONSUMERS HAVE RELACED CITIZENS AND HOW WE CAN REVERSE THE TREND. He is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and teaches at Cal Poly Pomona University.