Hypocrisy Steams up G.O.P. Sex Lives
A Disassociated Press Report, Washington, D.C., September 2, 2007
By Eric Mader
Within hours of the disclosure of Senator Larry E. Craig's arrest and conviction afteru an undercover sex sting, Republican Senate leaders concluded that the exploding political scandal needed a fast resolution, one that necessitated the Idaho Republican's prompt resignation.
Although Mr. Craig had pleaded guilty only to disorderly conduct in an airport restroom, this was one controversy too far for his colleagues.
"If Larry was allowed to continue in his seat, it would have forced the envelope for us," said fellow Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. "We'd have all had to come out of the closet."
In the wake of the Craig scandal, Washington insiders acknowledge that many Republicans in Congress who've rallied voters around the hot-button issue of gay marriage have a second, hidden agenda.
"They don't want gay marriage legalized because it would seriously lessen the number of gay men available for pick-up in airport restrooms," said one Senate aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Other congressional Republicans underline more complex motives.
"For me it's the thrill of the forbidden, the sheer excitement of hypocrisy," said a Republican colleague of Craig's, interviewed outside a downtown D.C. restroom. "You go on the campaign trail and rail against gays in front of all the red-state hicks. They love you for it: you'll get their votes. But then, even before the microphone is cool, you're in your campaign van fondling an altar boy from their own community. There's really a thrill in that."
Political analysts have compared the double-standard Republican officials hold vis-a-vis homosexuality to their hypocrisy on other issues.
"Hypocrisy somehow works for Republicans," said Dale Evans, a political scientist at the University of Chicago. "They're somehow admired for it."
Evans considers the religious culture of Republicans to be important as a basis for developing their hypocrisy.
"The Republican Party is the pro-business party," he points out, "the party of pure capitalism. But on the other hand, Republican candidates have to present themselves as staunch Christians. This is a pretty thin line to walk. They have to claim faith in Jesus, then pass legislation that further impoverishes the already underprivileged. They have to preach a religion of peace and forgiveness, but they're always the first ones pushing for war or revenge. Republican policies always seem to conflict with what they believe in. But, like I said, they're admired for it."
Former Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley, no longer having to keep quiet since his resignation, seems to agree with this general assessment of the role of hypocrisy in the G.O.P.
"In fact I consider myself a consummate Republican Congressman for just that reason," Foley said in a telephone interview. "Just consider. I was known as a crusader against child abuse and exploitation, but at the same time I was sending sexually explicit emails to teenage boys. What could be more Republican than that? It's kinda like Jesus said: 'Don't let your left hand know what your right hand does.'"
Foley says he has invited Craig to come down to Florida and go cruising with him.
"Now we've resigned, why not hold a boy in each hand?" Foley says. "Both right and left can do whatever they want."
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