Parties and Phone Booths

Mr Schraub gets it upside down at the Debate Link writing:

Republicans should generally “regard participation in the self-destructive homosexual lifestyle as incompatible with public service on behalf of the GOP.” The party cannot claim “authority and clarity to the moral issues that confront our society and at the same time send ambivalent messages about sexual behavior.” As David Kurtz notes, objectively speaking, such a standard would have to extend beyond just homosexuals and out to adulterers, divorcees, abortion recipients, etc., and then you have a party that can fit inside of a phone booth.

Actually the choice by the media choice to “out”  is the real anti-gay message (see here and here) and the phone booth analogy fails. The GOP wants to hold its leadership to a high (particular) standard of ethics, that might constrain the leaders, but it says nothing (at all bad) about the party or its healthy size.

The Democrat on the other hand wants no (or very low) standards for its leaders, e.g., Mr Clinton a serial sex offender and adulterer yet still highly praised by feminists, but that it’s mainstream members be sheep, err, properly willing to take the advice of their betters, where here “better” means the more knowledgeable large brained highly (and properly) educated class.

I’m unclear on how the attempt to hold a leadership to a high standard makes the grassroutes a phone booth … but at the same time, I don’t know how the condescension of the Democratic party leadership leads to a party that must needs something larger than a phone booth for its membership.

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  1. Anne says:

    Well, let’s say for a moment that I bought the whole premise, which I’m not sure if I do. But if I did, I think the point of the “phone booth” thing is that sin is a universal. 😉

  2. I think it’s tough to say Republicans are actually practicing what they preach here (the differing treatment of Vitter–who committed a crime–versus Craig, who plea notwithstanding was not actually guilty of anything, is really indicative here). Proof? Lifetime number of spouses of the top four Republican candidates? Eight (and that doesn’t include Gingrich). Number by the top four Democrats? Four or five (depending on whether Dodd or Richardson is your fourth candidate). Republicans don’t actually hold their leaders to these standards–unless they’re gay, in which case it’s torch and pitchfork time.

    But admittedly, I really wouldn’t care if one of my elected officials was, in fact, gay. I would prefer they were out about it, simply because I think the closet is a very sad place to be and leads folk to self-destructive behavior (like it did for Senator Craig). It is not Democrats who made Senator Craig feel like he had to remain closeted. It isn’t us who would have chucked him from the party if he had decided to come out. And it isn’t us who, as the Idaho Values Alliance did, compare Craig’s sexual orientation to being a slave-holder. That sort of ugly bile is not the province of my compatriots.

    I would care if my representative (gay or straight, closeted or not) voted in ways that deprived gay and lesbian Americans of the equal rights and status that is their due, sanctioning discrimination against them, turning them into second class citizens and condoning the hate and violence (terrorism, to be precise) they face as a matter of course in this nation. It’s people who elect those politicians who should take a look at their standards (or lack thereof). The position Republicans have put gay and lesbian Americans in–including their own friends and family–is ugly, hateful, destructive, disgusting, and is a continuing mockery of morality. Vicious homophobia is not a “high standard of morality.” It’s the abandonment of morality.

  3. Mark says:

    Are you, by saying this,

    It is not Democrats who made Senator Craig feel like he had to remain closeted.

    that if Mr Craig was an Idaho democrat who came out, he’d get elected? Really, that’s not exactly a realistic tack. If the Democratic party didn’t “chuck him out” in Idaho after coming out … they’re taking a practical assessment of the Idaho voter, is all (note: phone-booth).

    Besides, anti-gay protesters like yourself excepted, it’s very likely that Mr Craig is not gay. From EO:

    The behavior of players reveals remarkable consistency over time, from community to community, and across national boundaries. Many men, the majority of them married and primarily heterosexual, continue to visit out-of-the-way public washrooms in search of fast, impersonal, and exciting sex despite the risk to family, friends, job, and reputation. Although shopping malls have usurped public parks as the favorite locale of tearoom participants, the basic rules of the game and profile of the players—as Humphreys contends—remain the same over time and place.

    It seems to me, and you of course can feel free to disagree, that the main difference (for those who differ at all) between the response after Vitter vs Craig was about politics and election season not homophobia.

    Opposing hate crime legislation is not the equivalent of terrorism, or even turning them into second class citizens.

    Oh, btw, I read covering and wrote two essays on it. I’d be very interested in your remarks on them.

  4. Besides, anti-gay protesters like yourself excepted, it’s very likely that Mr Craig is not gay.

    Wait, what? Are you saying that straight men solicit sex from other men? Or are you arguing that he’s “merely” bi? Because the parsimonious explanation here is that he’s a gay man who has lived in the closet because he has bought into exactly the kind of bigotry that Karl Rove and George Bush rode to victory in 2004.

    You’re a smart man and you’ll always be able to come up with a way to explain why two similar things are not identical, but being the kind of man who solicits anonymous gay sex while at the same time voting against gay people who are living honest, open, responsible lives — indeed making it more difficult to live responsible gay lives — stinks to the heavens.

    It’s like arguing that Strom Thurmond wasn’t a hypocrite for having an affair and a child with a black woman while being a racist. Well, maybe it’s not technically hypocrisy, but it’s certainly something.

    It also stinks that Mary Cheney, who is de facto gay-married (and rich enough that the difference between de facto and legal doesn’t much matter) is just another member of the happy Bush-Cheney clan.

  5. Mark says:


    Wait, what? Are you saying that straight men solicit sex from other men?

    Sort of. I think the study (not me) is saying that some men, primarily straight, seek dangerous sex. In Harris Silence of the Lambs Mr Lector’s motivations for doing what he does was, if I read it right, because it was dangerous, out of bounds, and completely beyond the pale. It’s not the homosexual urge driving these men, it’s danger, living beyond the pale, putting career and good name and all that at risk.

    I’m not saying he’s bi at all, the study claims the majority of “tea room” participants are heterosexual.

  6. I’m not saying he’s bi at all, the study claims the majority of “tea room” participants are heterosexual.

    Interesting. I suppose it’s possible that men who seek out these kind of encounters are primarily heterosexual (i.e. mostly attracted to women) but I’m going to need more than the word of the last couple paragraphs of a single Canadian study to believe that, especially since a google search for “‘Frederick J. Desroches’ ‘primarily heterosexual'” yields exactly 2 results — the link you provide and the link EO provides.

    If it’s true, that would shed some light on the notion held by many conservatives with questionable sexuality that homosexuality is a choice, not an orientation — for people like Craig, maybe it is. Or mostly is, anyway — it sounds like you’d have to be somewhat bi- by definition to do what he allegedly did.

  7. Mark says:

    There’s also the book mentioned in Joe’s essay by Laud Humphreys.

    I don’t imagine “Qualitative Sociology” is a journal read by many so I’m not surprised that it doesn’t get more “airplay”.

    The notion that these incidents are a result of “covering” or repressed homosexuality is the “conventional wisdom” and both sides, right and left have their traditional narratives to apply. That conventional wisdom might be wrong … well, that’s surely not a surprise.

  8. I wouldn’t be shocked if conventional wisdom was wrong about this kind of thing. It’s been known for at least half a century that sexuality is more of a spectrum than a binary affair.