Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Craig's List

Follow-up and fallout on Senator Craig:

UPDATE: [up top, so they don't get lost]
• Via Andrew Sullivan's stand-in, Jamie, a great column putting Craig and the gay struggle in perspective.

• A very telling, and startling, comparison between Mitt Romney's shiv of Craig and legendary Republican of yore, Barry Goldwater in a similar situation. I'd venture there's barely a politician alive today in either party that would act as nobly as Goldwater did. Things HAVE changed, and any progress in culture, is more than cancelled out by degradation of politics in this circumstance.

• Good article at salon.com about bathroom sex, the closet culture, risky behavior and denial.

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Hilzoy has a great post on how any sympathy for a closeted man exposed evaporates with Craig. I concur—read the whole thing, pretty much sums up my feelings...

• Josh Marshall explains the Catch 22 Craig was in after getting busted. It really was a no-win situation for him once he was caught...
[...] Given what's described, it seems quite possible that, with a good lawyer, Craig could have beaten the rap.

But had he tried, it would have become public and it would have been pretty clear -- clear enough to doom him politically -- that Craig is gay and that he gets sex in public restrooms. [...] Remember, there'd already been lots of unconfirmed reports in the past. Because of that, Craig couldn't fight the charge even though he might well have been acquitted. But once he pled guilty, it really wasn't a he said/he said, as his press spokesman said yesterday. Craig had said under oath that he was guilty of the charge.

One way or another, once he was arrested, the apparent facts, even if you think they aren't ones for which you should be criminally culpable, were ones that were not compatible with his continuing in public office -- given his politics and the state he represents. All he could do was plead out and hope against hope that no one ever noticed.

• Also at TPM, a reader points out the fact that Craig really didn't do anything, yet this whole thing is a result of his own actions and attitudes...
Look at the police report. Did he directly ask a cop for sex? No. Did he expose himself lewdly (as opposed to exposing himself to use the facilities)? No. Did he do anything that was unambiguously sexual? No.

All he did was tap his foot, reach down (possibly to pick up a piece of TP), wiggle his fingers, and put his bag in front of him when he sat down. Oh, and he waited in front of an occupied stall. Even if he did everything the cop said he did, where was the lewd conduct? No actual sex happened. No actual sex was discussed...

If Craig was looking for sex, I hope that he can look into his heart and realize that it's 2007, and gay people are allowed to be out, and even get involved in meaningful relationships that don't begin and end in a squalid men's room. I'd hope that he'd recognize that there are even gay Republicans out there (look at former Rep. Kolbe, for one), and that a lot of the stigma and fear that still exists about homosexuality in this society has to do with the behavior of people who are in the closet.

• Andrew Sullivan is on his (gay) honeymoon, but one of his subs notes the evolution of gay culture:
In other words, say goodbye to anonymous cruising and say hello to more weddings. [...] Indeed, this scandal could not have arrived at a more opportune moment. The same day that Andrew--who has spent much of his intellectual life advocating for gay marriage, when many in the gay rights movement were trumpeting separatism, the necessity of being "queer," and other such indulgences--gets married, a United States Senator --who has been a loyal foot soldier in the movement to deny gays civil rights-- is revealed to have allegedly sought out sex with an anonymous man in an airport restroom. Perhaps there is no greater comparison between the stability of being comfortable with who you are and the self-denial and self-hatred of the closet. It's not just the "old" gay culture of anonymous sexual encounters vs. the "new" gay culture of monogamy; it's self-loathing vs. self-affirmation.

John Cole has a good rundown of reactions, and still maintains some sympathy for Craig:
And again, I am as guilty as everyone else for having fun at the Senator’s expense (and couldn’t even control myself in the beginning of this post), but despite Craig’s voting record, I can’t help but feel sad for him and his family. Going through life where you have to fulfill your deepest urges in quick, anonymous, and meaningless sex acts in public bathrooms so you can hide who you really are from everyone you love is not something I would want anyone to have to go through. I wish Craig’s voting record and political positions were such that he was not helping to damn other people to the same sort of fate.

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That's the reaction on the internets, the reaction from Craig's own party is fairly disgraceful. The rest of the GOP has the long knives out for Craig—immediately opening an ethics investigation, stripping him of committee seats, and a chorus of calls for his resignation—what stand-up guys! I'm sure the same treatment is in store for David Vitter (busted with prostitutes), Ted Stevens (FBI raids his house) as the GOP cleans house...

Please. The Republicans circle the wagons around you no matter what you're caught doing, and have an amazing capacity for denying wrongdoing and defending each other—unless it deals with teh gay. And if something "gay" and you're from a state with a Repub governor to appoint your replacement, you are an easy mark for the rest of the GOP to shamelessly posture and pander to the homophobe base. Romney and McCain are leading the charge.

6 comments:

Smitty said...

At the end of the day, I agree with the sentiment:

Perhaps there is no greater comparison between the stability of being comfortable with who you are and the self-denial and self-hatred of the closet. It's not just the "old" gay culture of anonymous sexual encounters vs. the "new" gay culture of monogamy; it's self-loathing vs. self-affirmation.

All of this deep hatred comes from people ashamed of who they are. I've got a friend who is so obviously gay. We have tried and tried to get him to admit it and show him that we love him and are comfortable with him, but all he does is spew hate. And weight 150 pounds overweight. And drink himself to sleep. It is tragic...and endemic of what the Republican hatred agenda yields.

Mike said...

Great post, Furious. My sentiments exactly.

S.W. Anderson said...

While Craig might very well be gay, I continue to be amazed at how no one else is even considering the possibility of his being bisexual.

It's not a technicality. If he is bisexual, he might get all the gratification he wanted from time to time via quickies with strangers in places like restrooms. No love-and-kisses romance or ongoing relationship desired. For love-and-kisses romance and an ongoing relationship, there is his wife at home.

I have no way to know if this is what's going on with him, but it seems a plausible possibility.

Chris Howard said...

While Craig might very well be gay, I continue to be amazed at how no one else is even considering the possibility of his being bisexual.

Hey, what a great blogwhoring opportunity! I have a post which talks about the media's black or white view of sexuality in light of the Craig coverage.

Mr Furious said...

LOL. I just came over from your thread, chris, with a few comments under my belt.

Mr Furious said...

Check this article at salon.com out.