What’s really funny about this is that a significant percentage of Reynolds’ readers actually thought there was some chance he would vote for Ford. But this Republican-hatchet-man-posing-as-nonpartisan-”libertarian” schtick does seem to be a particularly weird form of bad faith that’s as important to his audience as it is to him. Even funnier is the pretext he’s chosen for his inevitable Republican vote:
…ultimately the combination of Ford’s “F” rating on gun rights and the sleazy “outing” behavior of the Democrats was such that I just felt I had to vote Republican in this race.
As with Clarence Thomas’ claim that he had never considered the question of Roe v. Wade prior to being nominated to the Supreme Court, it would be considerably more embarrassing if he were telling the truth than if he was lying. Starting with the transmutation of “one gay rights activist” into “the Democrats,” this is just transparent nonsense, and it’s particularly ridiculous coming from somebody who strongly supported Sam Alito for the Supreme Court and can’t rouse himself to express any objections to arbitrary surveillance of American citizens by the executive branch. And anybody who would cast their vote in a Tennessee Senate election based on the behavior of a single activist over a Senate race in Idaho just doesn’t take politics seriously.
And the punchline, as many of you know, is Ken Blackwell’s insinuation that Ted Strickland is not only gay but a pedophile. (See also Blue Texan.) But, in fairness, when it comes to claiming that obscure academics and people on the intarweb represent “the Democrats” but powerful Republican officials are completely irrelevant to the Republican Party, Reynolds is at least consistent…
…via Mona–who also has some good commentary on the issue– actual libertarian Radley Balko gets it exactly right:
First, it’s rather unfair to blame the Democratic party for what leftist blogs and leftist activists are doing (I’ve yet to see any evidence that the outtings are coming from anyone at the DNC, or any Democrats on the Hill).
Second, there actually is some evidence that GOP candidates and campaigns are directly involved in making sleazy accusations about the sex lives of Democrats in this campaign. Not to mention that these types of tactics have been GOP standard operating procedure for twenty years, now. Seems awfully odd and selective to suddenly be outraged by the tactics, now that they’re coming from the activist left. Seems odder to say they’re indicative of a party not ready to govern, given that the governing party that Reynolds supports is doing the same thing, and has perfected the tactic over the years.
Third, there actually are some colorable arguments (other than raw bigotry) for the left’s outing campaign. Many of these gay GOP staffers are working for the most vocally anti-gay members of Congress, members pushing for legislation — even a constitutional amendment — that make no bones about treating gay people differently than everyone else. Some have advocated legislation that goes yet further than that.
I don’t know about you, but I find fake, appeasing-the-base bigotry quite a bit more offensive than even the real thing. If these staffers are to be believed, Republicans like Ney and Santorum are projecting the anti-gay stuff, inflaming ingrained bigotry, and pushing for real laws that will adversely affect millions of gay people not because they actually believe in those policies, but because they want to stay in office.
Reynolds says the outting campaign “bespeaks an unprincipled hunger for victory and power at any cost” among the Democrats. That’s one explanation, I guess. I find the “exposing hypocrisy” explanation more plausible.
But if Republicans are taking anti-gay positions they don’t actually believe, what does that say about their own “hunger for power at any cost?”
This idea that exploiting hatred of gay people by pushing substantive opposition to gay rights (some merely symbolic, some quite serious) is perfectly acceptable, but calling a gay person gay is completely beyond the pale of civilized discourse, has always been remarkably specious and dishonest even by Reynolds’s extremely low standards. Where do people who use a completely phony commitment to gay rights to justify consistent opposition to the party that’s much better on the issue fit in on this scale?