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Can Gay Democrats Do No Wrong?

Now, I don’t know much about the specifics of the allegations leveled against outgoing Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), save that House Majority Leader  Steny Hoyer knew about them before Massa’s announcement yesterday.  So, it seems they are pretty serious.  One thing I do know–or pretty much can assume based upon reaction to past such scandals–is that should this Democrat indeed have sexually harassed a male staff member, gay groups will dismiss it, perhaps even celebrate him as some kind of victim.

Yet, if he had had a (R) after his name, well, he’d be defined as some kind of self-hating pervert.

Remember Gerry Studds, the late Massachusetts Congressman who had had in 1973, while a member of the House of Representatives, a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male page?  Or Barney Frank who let his lover run a brothel out of his home while he signed off on that pimp’s parking tickets?  Or Jim McGreevey?  Or Kevin Jennings? They do get a bit better treatment from the gay groups than say do folks like Mark Foley.

It’s not about the behavior, it’s about the partisan affiliation.

When Studds died, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese called Studds a “pioneer”,  saying that older gays had an obligation “to tell a story of courage, hard work and remarkable oratory . . . [to] a younger generation who did not know Gerry Studds“.  Two years previously when then-New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey was caught in a scandal, involving putting a potential male love interest on the state payroll, Solmonese’s predecessor Cheryl Jacques did not fault the Democrat’s bad behavior, instead portrayed her fellow partisan as courageous:  ”Coming out is a deeply personal journey and Governor McGreevey today showed enormous courage.

There are many gay people whose examples we can and should emulate, like Mary Cheney, Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris and Jim Kolbe.  Yet, there are gay people who do behave badly.  They deserve condemnation as much as do such charlatans as John Edwards.

John Edwards does not represent straight men.  In a similar manner, Frank, McGreevey and Studds are not representative of gay men.  Their behavior is embarrassing to gay people.  And the heads of gay organizations should criticize them for behaving badly.

But, perhaps because of that all-purpose (D) after their names, they become immune to criticism from those who claim to speak for our community.

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29 Comments

  1. there’s definitely a flavor of the same old politics in this issue.

    but i disagree that the main problem here is whether there’s a (d) or (r) accompanying their names; rather, it’s policies, and, typically, hypocritical policies and votes of these elected officials.

    as you said, we still don’t know what happened in the massa case. did he only use “salty” language when getting mad at someone, like he claims, or is it something more substantive, like you write, we’ll soon find out.

    but it’s only normal that in this highly, highly partisan atmosphere that you would not go after someone that’s got your back unless there’s a major screw up (spitzer comes to mind) and that you would go after people that do vote or enact policies that are detrimental to your very humanity; and this guy from california who’s got an anti-gay track record and just got busted for his hypocrisy comes to mind. and yes he does happen to have an (r) after his name, and yes this pattern of hypocrisy does seem to be more present in the republican party. we should ask why and work to change that.

    Comment by daftpunkydavid — March 4, 2010 @ 3:46 pm - March 4, 2010

  2. “policies that are detrimental to your very humanity”? Huh?

    You mean, like taking away our freedom to control our own health care?

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — March 4, 2010 @ 3:59 pm - March 4, 2010

  3. Well Mark Foley also had the problem that he went after interns who were under 18 and Massa doesn’t seem to have that issue. Massa did state he used the wrong language, so it could be one person taking his words in a way he didn’t mean too. I don’t hear anyone celebrating him as a victim or anything really, since so far it seems the main reason he is retiring is his health. Until more comes out and its proven he harassed the staffer, not sure if you can condemn the media for the story.

    Comment by Darkeyedresolve — March 4, 2010 @ 4:00 pm - March 4, 2010

  4. And yes whether you like it or not it is about policies. If you constantly vote anti-gay and then get caught then it reeks of hypocrisy whether you believe it or not. Of course those who are self loathing won’t get that.

    Comment by Tim W — March 4, 2010 @ 4:03 pm - March 4, 2010

  5. LOL, Tim W, LOL. You really have a narrow view of the world.

    Please tell me where Mark Foley voted anti-gay. And please tell me who are those who are “self-loathing,” why they are self-loathing and why they don’t “get” it.

    And please tell me where it’s stated that gay organizations have to defend bad behavior by gay Democrats? And how it advances their cause to make it appear that they countenance such bad behavior?

    Thanks.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — March 4, 2010 @ 4:06 pm - March 4, 2010

  6. So let me get this straight…
    a boss type figure attacks an employee, and the main boss (Hoyer) knows about it and does nothing. Is this the jist of it?
    If as an employer I did that in the real world, I as the main boss would be equally as guilty and liable for huge fines and jail time.
    These Democrats have no idea how the real world they structure for real citizens works. Throw Massa and Hoyer and Pelosi in jail.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — March 4, 2010 @ 4:37 pm - March 4, 2010

  7. You left out the Mayor of Portland, Sam Adams (D), who was busted for lying about his involvement with a 17-year-old male intern. Adams later had to admit to the liaison but claimed that the relationship did not become sexual until after the intern reached the age of 18. Of course, he initially lied about the existence of the relationship altogether, calling the allegations “scurrilous,” and adding that they played into stereotypes of “predatory gays,” but I’m sure he was telling the truth when he said that there was no sex until that boy turned 18.

    While a criminal investigation of the matter was being conducted by the Oregon Attorney General, several newspapers called for Adams’ resignation. The Portland Mercury, the board of the Portland Area Business Association, and the LGBTQ chamber of commerce, spoke out against resignation. Out and columnist Dan Savage noted what they saw as hypocrisy, homophobia, and sex panic about age disparity in sexual relationships.

    And I know this will shock everyone–Adams did not resign (we wouldn’t want him to be pressured into resigning to appease the homophobes and play into their “sex panic about age disparity in sexual relationships,” now would we?)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Adams_(Oregon_politician)

    Like you said, Dan: Adams and his conduct are not representative of all gay men. But his conduct is embarrassing to gay people, particularly considering that he was the first openly gay mayor of a top 30 U.S. city. The gay left and the gay press are all too willing to defend this kind of garbage with false accusations of homophobia and cowards like Adams are all too willing to allow the gay left to play the victim card on their behalf. This tired strategy has helped scumbags like Frank, Studds, and Adams keep their jobs, but it has been at the expense of the entire “gay community.”

    Comment by Sean A — March 4, 2010 @ 4:52 pm - March 4, 2010

  8. #1: “and this guy from california who’s got an anti-gay track record and just got busted for his hypocrisy comes to mind. and yes he does happen to have an (r) after his name, and yes this pattern of hypocrisy does seem to be more present in the republican party. we should ask why and work to change that.”

    daftpunkydavid, what the fu*k are you talking about? What hypocrisy? Which Republicans? I get your Spitzer reference–he touted himself as a crusader against illegal prostitution and pledged to crack down on illegal escort businesses. The fact that he was simultaneously paying thousands of dollars per night to bang hookers was where the hypocrisy came in.

    The rest of your comment makes no sense and is supported by ZERO facts.

    Comment by Sean A — March 4, 2010 @ 5:11 pm - March 4, 2010

  9. Speaking of R’s and D’s. . .Mickey Edwards spent 16 years in Congress and 16 years teaching at Harvard and Princeton. He is a director of The Constitution Project and wrote Reclaiming Conservatism and his commentary on the RNC — With the Democratic Party in disarray and swimming in unpopularity, the worst thing Republicans can do is to send a message that they’re even worse. Yet that is exactly what two RNC dimwits, finance director Rob Bickhart and finance chairman Peter Terpeluk. . .apparently unveiling a campaign to run against Democrats to “save the country from trending toward Socialism!” and labeling the President of the United States “the Joker” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “Cruella DeVille.”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/03/michael-steeles-leadership-challenge/37062/

    So on both sides of the aisle. . .people make stupid choices.

    [Rusty, what the blink does this have to do with the topic at hand? It's the media drawing this thing out of proportion. I totally agree it was a juvenile effort, but then, there are lots of such gimmicks--on both sides of the aisle. And far worse things done by Democrats during the Bush era. Did the media ever highlight Democratic hate rhetoric during those years--to the extent they are hyping this?

    Normally, you offer sensible criticism, but today, you've plunged into the fever swamp. You don't address the point of the post. Mickey Edwards may have been a fine legislator in his day, but lately he's been using what's left of his prominence to trash the GOP by focusing on the hijinks of some childish fools who work for the GOP. Did any prominent Democrat demand Howard Dean step down when he called Republicans haters?

    And please, please, please tell me what your comment has to do with with the point of this post--about the indifference of gay organizations to bad behavior by gay Democrats. --Dan.]

    Comment by rusty — March 4, 2010 @ 5:12 pm - March 4, 2010

  10. I am pretty sure all of Foley’s interests were over the age of 18 when he propositioned them, but I would consider this scandal in the same general area as the Foley one.

    I think the one thing other than the D by his name (and I do think the D helps him) is the fact that it is pretty early in the election cycle. Not sure it would get as much traction now as it would, if the scandal broke in July or August.

    Comment by just me — March 4, 2010 @ 5:17 pm - March 4, 2010

  11. Right Blames GOP for D.C. Marriage Equality

    http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=103054

    and for you Sean A
    This is Roy Ashburn, a Republican California State Senator, was arrested yesterday for drunk driving while leaving a Sacramento gay bar with a trick in the car!
    Equality California, the states gay civil rights group, gives him a zero rating for voting against every gay measure that has come before him in office, both in the Senate and the State Assembly. Naturally he’s followed the pre-established trajectory for this sort of thing, he’s already issued an apology.

    http://gawker.com/5485704/the-homoerotic-photos-of-a-closeted-anti+gay-republican-politician/gallery/

    [Sorry, Rusty, Equality California is not a gay civil rights group, it is a left-wing gay activist group allied with the California Democratic Party whose current head harbors a strong animus against Republicans. So, please don't use their standards to measure what is or is not a gay measure because most of the things they support require having government intervene to level the playing field. --Dan]

    Comment by rusty — March 4, 2010 @ 5:19 pm - March 4, 2010

  12. I was on Towleroad and they are mocking some Republican senator for being at a gay club. I looked up Massa and there was one article. The blogmeister insisted that the leave was b/c of terminal cancer, but the commenters (I assume most were gay) weren’t buying it. I was relieved. I had to laugh though – one commenter was shocked that he was a Democrat!

    Comment by Rachel — March 4, 2010 @ 6:03 pm - March 4, 2010

  13. hi sean a,
    i don’t know why you have to be so mean in your post. maybe i’m being overly sensitive… in any case, the california guy i am talking about is senator roy ashburn.

    http://cbs13.com/local/ashburn.arrest.dui.2.1534505.html

    i am inclined to have a polite, nice conversation with you or anyone but i feel that maybe that is not your disposition? i don’t know, again i maybe overly sensitive.

    Comment by daftpunkydavid — March 4, 2010 @ 6:07 pm - March 4, 2010

  14. Rachel nails it.

    Amusing how some of the lefties in the comment thread refuse to address the topic at hand and instead need to focus on the bad behavior of a Republican–about whom I have (as yet) found no evidence that he’s “anti-gay” even though he’s been described as such, only that he’s voted the “wrong way” on issues near and dear to left-wing gay organizations.

    But, then it is all about the voting record. ‘Cause for the left, a liberal voting record excuses bad behavior.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — March 4, 2010 @ 6:21 pm - March 4, 2010

  15. My post about Studds’s death was called “Nihil Nisi Boner”.

    Comment by Jeremayakovka — March 4, 2010 @ 6:46 pm - March 4, 2010

  16. hi dan,

    bad behavior is bad behavior. from a politician who’s from the left, the right or the center. it’s still bad. rangel, paterson should go. and so should anyone in elected office whose behavior is unethical and/or criminal. i don’t know if i can be any clearer that i agree with you on that.

    you are also right when you point out that not a lot is known about ashburn’s presence at that gay bar. i go to gay bars with my straight friends. is he gay? is he bi? should it even matter? the short answer is no. the longer version is that what is hypocritical is apparently that he or people close to him are gay/bi and that he votes against them (http://www.capitolresource.org/oneadmin/_files/File/2008-CRFI-Legislative-Scorecard.pdf).

    i’m not happy the guy is in trouble with the law for his dui. if it turns out he is gay or bi, i’m sure most of us would empathize because it must have been difficult to have political stances that are so at odds with your very nature. for even the most strongly willed of us, rationalizing that cannot have been easy.

    but as i look at this from a gay prism (which does, in my case, many times trump my political affiliation prism), i cannot but want to point out his anti-gay stance and the fact that as an anti-gay political opponent, he has suffered a blow. politics is not a zero-sum game, obviously. but for many on the left and on the right, seeing a political foe politically hurt is seen as a win. that’s the sad truth of the partisan atmosphere we live in.

    Comment by daftpunkydavid — March 4, 2010 @ 6:51 pm - March 4, 2010

  17. Duck! Here comes a homophobe stink bomb!

    Their behavior is embarrassing to gay people. And the heads of gay organizations should criticize them for behaving badly.

    Way too many examples of gays getting up in the faces of the str8 world make the thought of heads of gay organizations criticizing bad behavior by gays almost comic.

    Gay Patriots are not a bunch of flamers running around wailing victimhood and making outlandish charges. In my experience, the gays I notice most often should be sprayed down daily with ice water and then avoided and ignored.

    I don’t notice many gays, because they are ladies and gentlemen of merit with common sense concerns about society as a whole. That is to say, I regard their gay status as a non-starter and strictly their business.

    Comment by heliotrope — March 4, 2010 @ 6:52 pm - March 4, 2010

  18. daft, thank you for that most honest comment. I really appreciate it. If I were not in a rush to meet a friend for dinner in Carpinteria, I would respond more thoroughly. that said, much appreciated, very much so–even if we look at this from different perspectives. Glad you are acknowledging yours. :-)

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — March 4, 2010 @ 7:21 pm - March 4, 2010

  19. And please, please, please tell me what your comment has to do with with the point of this post–about the indifference of gay organizations to bad behavior by gay Democrats. –Dan

    how about the indifference of any organization and their talking heads to bad behavior. . . .

    who gets to determine the referees / judges of bad behavior and then in the political game, who gets ‘the pass’ or the ‘let’s wait til the $4i+ hits the fan’ game. Foley had his folk cover his ass and folk got burned, the Dems are covering their asses right now.

    you asked about the dems and their nasty little games of the past.

    I just think that with the ever increasing internet ‘connections’ and the growing number of blogs, news commentary, and the battle for ratings. . .their will always be indifference, or lack of coverage for some and a barrage of disdain for others.

    but as d. e. r. stated, when elected officials come with track records that seem to challenge their choices in their personal life, well doesn’t seem quite right.

    and now after dinner, Dan can you tell me that with the leaders of the RNC being challenged on the latest, they get a pass to be indifferent. . .or who gets to tell NOM to shut the #uck up, which leader of the big tent party is going tell NOM’s brian to go back to sandbox to play nice with maggie.

    Comment by rusty — March 4, 2010 @ 7:37 pm - March 4, 2010

  20. sorry that shoud be d. p. d. not d.e.r.

    Comment by rusty — March 4, 2010 @ 7:44 pm - March 4, 2010

  21. #13: daftpunkydavid, on the issue of whether gay Democrats are given a pass for their crimes and unethical conduct while gay Republicans are crucified for lesser ethical lapses, the answer is a deafening YES. Since the Roy Ashburn story that you linked is just being reported today, we will have to give it some time to unfold to see whether it supports the rule, but Ashburn is a Republican so it’s a very safe bet that California Democrats have already ordered the lumber and metal spikes and are fitting Ashburn with a crown of thorns as we speak. If he were a Democrat and had a record of voting for every crackpot leftist bill put in front of him including the “pro-gay” ones, his colleagues in the Senate and Assembly would already be on the news defending his reputation and on the sidewalks handing out candles for tonight’s vigil in his honor. Liberals are predictable down to the nano-second.

    Comment by Sean A — March 4, 2010 @ 7:52 pm - March 4, 2010

  22. #21: sean a, yes, you are right. i cannot dispute that.

    Comment by daftpunkydavid — March 4, 2010 @ 8:14 pm - March 4, 2010

  23. “Their behavior is embarrassing to gay people.”

    I wouldn’t say that. It isn’t embarrassing to me, as a gay man. It should be embarrassing to them, and they deserve criticism, as you have pointed out. However, what one gay man does or even a group of them does, is not a reflection of me.

    Comment by Az Mo — March 4, 2010 @ 8:22 pm - March 4, 2010

  24. I dont want anyone representing me: no D, R, L, gay straight male female ellen neil nobody, except me. Nobodys perfect but I’ll be glAd to bear the burden of my mistakes but not every other yay-hoo.

    Comment by James Younce — March 4, 2010 @ 11:22 pm - March 4, 2010

  25. [...] Republican dares not sin in the least, while a Democrat… Now, I don’t know much about the specifics of the allegations leveled against outgoing [...]

    Pingback by Democrats and Double Standards » Blogs For Victory — March 5, 2010 @ 9:26 am - March 5, 2010

  26. Astute politico Dick Morris says this is actually a trumped up charge to punish Massa for his vote against ObamaCare.

    http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2010/03/05/obama-bribes-threatens-and-rewards-congress-to-pass-health-care/#more-732

    Are Democrats so gay friendly they would invent a gay scandal to punish moderates who try to save their asses or vote their conscience? Mr. Morris seems to believe so…

    Comment by Tim — March 5, 2010 @ 3:56 pm - March 5, 2010

  27. The staffer must be underage,

    Why else would Tim trot out theories of a conspiracy?

    Comment by The_Livewire — March 5, 2010 @ 7:54 pm - March 5, 2010

  28. Mark Sanford crapped on his wife and family for another woman. If Eric Massa crapped on his wife and family for another male, has society come to the point where there is really no difference?

    Further, I wonder if it would be OK for Eric Massa to have a “str8″ family relationship but play with a male; sort of like going to the gym. You know, like the ancient Greeks that are always held up as enlightened examples. I recall that Bill Clinton was serviced by Monica, but that was just a private sort of boyish, charming and highly private and totally understandable sort of silly-Willie giddiness. Why can’t a man have a little fun with another man? Why not let a Senator troll in an airport bathroom on his way home to the little wife and family?

    Comment by heliotrope — March 6, 2010 @ 10:08 am - March 6, 2010

  29. [...] blogged the other day on New York Democratic Congressman Eric Massa and the hypocricy of the gay Left in America today, [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Massa Accuses Pelosi of Health-Care Dirty Tricks…Gee, Who To Believe? — March 8, 2010 @ 9:57 am - March 8, 2010

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