Posted by David Corn at 02:24 PM
October 06, 2006
From a List to a GOP Civil War?
Copies of The List (see below) have been sent by gay politicos to a variety of social conservative groups that look to the Republican Party to make their religious right dreams come true. The recipients include the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the Alliance for Marriage, Concerned Women of America, the Eagle Forum, and the Southern Baptist Convention. Officials at most of these groups have had something to say about homosexuality and gay rights in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal.
What's the point? The senders--gay people of a non-Republican bent--seem to be hoping to set off a civil war within the GOP, to turn the anti-gay social cons against the GOP's Velvet Mafia. These Washington gays have been seething for years about gay Republican staffers who serve a party that opposes gay rights and that welcomes the support of people who demonize or dehumanize gays and lesbians. "Maybe now the social conservatives will realize one reason why their agenda is stalled on Capitol Hill," says a gay politico. Another says, "The inherent inconsistency of a coalition that shelters both gay loathing 'Christian' conservatives and conservative gays will soon suffer its final rupture."
Will it? We shall see, as the Foley scandal continues to unfold, and The List continues to circulate.
Posted by David Corn at 08:39 AM
October 05, 2006
Yet More on The List
Something interesting has been brought to my attention. The Blogactive site has posted a version of The List--or a list. It contains the names of members of Congress, Bush aides, celebrities and others in addition to Capitol Hill staffers. It claims that Kirk Fordham, Mark Foley's previous chief of staff, is gay. I certainly don't know whether that's true or not. But assume for a moment it is. Fordham yesterday told various reporters that he had warned Speaker Denny Hastert's office about his boss sometime in the 2002 to 2004 period. What's intriguing about this is that after House Republicans had started suggesting that the gay GOP staffers--sometimes called by Washington wags the Velvet Mafia or the Lavender Bund--were somehow to blame for the party's Foley-oriented woes, a staffer who might be a member of this under-fire group fired back, essentially saying, Hey, we warned Hastert about Foley years ago, and he did nothing. So there!
I'm just speculating here--and know nothing about Fordham's particulars. In any event--for whatever the reason--Fordham has made life rougher for Hastert and the leaders. Meanwhile, a source writes:
The fact that some of the GOP gay guys are worried about a right-wing backlash against them is very telling. Their existence in all of these Hill offices would certainly explain (to the right-wingers) the total lack of legislative progress on most of the Christian/social conservative issues. I'd be pissed if I had a social conservative agenda that hadn't been addressed and suddenly it became clear, like now, who might have been subtly blocking it.
That's another dimension that had not occurred to me--and another reason to wonder how messy this might get.
Posted by David Corn at 12:27 PM
The List Stirs Things Up?
A source sent me the following note:
Your blog [about The List] caused quite a stir, David -- a lobbyist...had a couple of terrified calls from gay GOP Hill staffers wondering if they were on the list you mentioned...and whether there was going to be a right-wing lynch mob coming for them.
Well,I've been sent an updated version of The List. I'm not leading any lynch mob (obviously). But I, too, am waiting to see what's going to happen within the Republican caucus. (See the item below this one.) As I said, things may get ugly.
Posted by David Corn at 11:10 AM
Hastert Unhinged? (And More on The List)
I've received several requests for The List (see below), but I haven't passed it on. And a few emails have come in with the same sort of query: is So-and-So who works for Senator So-and-So on the list? I haven't answered such questions. But a reporter told me that The List is in other hands. He was told by an official at the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights lobby, that it had a copy. The HRC official refused to talk about it, though. What's intriguing is that there is a Republican strategy to find scapegoats--other than House Speaker Denny Hastert, of course--and the two leading candidates seem to be Democrats (for somehow making this scandal a scandal) and gay Republicans (for presumably protecting the page-pursuing Mark Foley). From what I can tell, some of these gay GOPers are fighting back. I cannot say too much about this without disclosing more than I should about certain individuals. But there does seem to be a conflict brewing within Republican circles between straight cons and gay GOPers. I'm wondering how nasty this will become and if it will become public. Should that occur, things could get rather ugly.
Meanwhile, Hastert is increasing the odds that this sordid affair will continue on. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune he defiantly proclaimed he's not going anywhere. His resignation, he said, "is exactly what our opponents would like to have happen--that I'd fold my tent and others would fold our tent and they would sweep the House." Yes, his position is that he should base his decision not on what's right, but what's politically beneficial. And in classic caught-in-the-act fashion, he blamed others: "When the [GOP] base finds out who's feeding this monster, they're not going to be happy. The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by George Soros." He claimed that political operatives aligned with Bill Clinton knew about the Foley business and perhaps orchestrated the disclosure in the weeks before the congressional elections. But, as the newspaper noted, "he offered no hard proof."
This is a sign that Hastert is becoming unhinged. He's lashing out at his political enemies (real and imagined) and not accepting full responsibility for his own screw-ups. He's going to have a hard time convincing the public that the real villian in the page scandal is George Soros and unnamed operatives (who, if they did anything, disclosed accurate information about GOP malfeasance and nonfeasance.) After all, Foley's former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, now says he gave Hastert's office a warning about Foley's conduct sometime between 2002 and 2004.
Last night a person who covers Capitol Hill told me that Hastert would be out within a week. But Hastert is indicating he's digging his nails into the Speaker's desk. That's good news for Democrats and bad news for GOPers. There's blood in the water. And Hastert is signaling he'd rather bleed further than leave. This won't be pretty.
By the way, sorry if you had trouble with this site yesterday. Matt Drudge linked to the entry about The List and that overloaded our server, forcing a hour-long shutdown. But my web wizards quickly bought more server space and got the site back up. It's great to get all that traffic. But it's going to cost me. And the comments section is still down. I've been overwhelmed with other matters, and we're probably going to have to come up with a new system to prevent hackers from shutting down the site again. Thanks for sticking with us.
Posted by David Corn at 10:38 AM
October 04, 2006
"The List" (of Gay GOP Aides on the Hill); Hubris on Bloggingheads.tv
There's a list going around. Those disseminating it call it "The List." It's a roster of top-level Republican congressional aides who are gay.
On CBS News on Tuesday, correspondent Gloria Borger reported that there's anger among House Republicans at what an unidentified House GOPer called a "network of gay staffers and gay members who protect each other and did the Speaker a disservice." The implication is that these gay Republicans somehow helped page-pursuing Mark Foley before his ugly (and possibly illegal) conduct was exposed. The List--drawn up by gay politicos--is a partial accounting of who on Capitol Hill might be in that network.
I have a copy. I'm not going to publish it. For one, I don't know for a fact that the men on the list are gay. And generally I don't fancy outing people--though I have not objected when others have outed gay Republicans, who, after all, work for a party that tries to limit the rights of gays and lesbians and that welcomes the support of those who demonize same-sexers.
What's interesting about The List--which includes nine chiefs of staffs, two press secretaries, and two directors of communications--is that (if it's acucurate) it shows that some of the religious right's favorite representatives and senators have gay staffers helping them advance their political careers and agendas. These include Representative Katherine Harris and Henry Hyde and Senators Bill Frist, George Allen, Mitch McConnell and Rick Santorum. Should we salute these legislators for being open-minded enough to have such tolerant hiring practices? After all, Santorum in a 2003 AP interview compared homosexuality to bestiality, incest and polygamy. It would be rather big of Santorum to employ a fellow who engages in activity akin to such horrors. That is, if Santorum knows about his orientation.
Let's be clear about one thing: the Mark Foley scandal is not about homosexuality. Some family value conservatives are suggesting it is. But anytime a gay Republican is outed by events, a dicey issue is raised: what about those GOPers who are gay and who serve a party that is anti-gay? Are they hypocrites, opportunists, or just confused individuals? Is it possible to support a party because you adhere to most of its tenets--even if that party refuses to recognize you as a full citizen? The men on The List might want to think hard about these questions--as they probably already have--for if I have a copy of The List, there's a good chance it will be appearing soon on a website near everyone.
BLOGHEADS: Yes, its time for you to check out another edition of Bloggingheads.tv about Hubris: The Inside Story, of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War. This time, there's no argument. There's only me and quirky conservative Jim Pinkerton discussing the contents of the book. We mostly ignore the leak controversy--which sparked an ugly Bloggingheads face-off between Byron York and me two weeks ago--and concentrate on the many other intriguing portions of the book. Pinkerton, who worked in the White House for President George H.W. Bush, offers his own views on what drove W. to invade Iraq--a decision he is not a fan of. Click here to go right to it.
Posted by David Corn at 11:42 AM