Thursday, October 12, 2006

Democrats gay-bait for Christian vote

I have said the Democrats are engaging in old fashioned gay-baiting with their constant distortions about the Foley case. And now we see they are actually marketing this antigay line to the Religious Right in hopes of attracting votes from the bigots.

Take the campaign against Republican Deborah Pryce of Ohio. Her Democratic opponent, Mary Jo Kilroy is running adds on Foley to use against Pryce. Now I have no sympathy for the Republican Party or for Foley. But Pryce is being attacked for something she had nothing to do with. Her one sin was that in an interview before any of this scandal became public knowledge she said Mark Foley was a friend. That’s it.

She is not accused of covering up his sordid little emails and obsessions. There is no indication she even knew about any of it though it is likely she knew he was gay and that she didn’t care --- a virtue rarely found in Republicans. But Kilroy is running an ad on local fundamentalist radio stations which say: “Deborah Pryce’s friend Mark Foley is caught using his position to take advantage of 16-year-old pages.”

So the entire Pryce connection is that she had a friend! How despicable of Kilroy.

In addition Kilroy is lying. Remember Foley sent emails to ex-pages who would be 17 years old not 16 years old. So she exaggerates the age factor but then she may be stupid and believe what she reads in the papers. But what does she mean by “take advantage of”? This certainly implies a hell of a lot more than we have evidence to believe happened. All that we have to date is that he sent some raunchy emails to former pages after they left the position. We have one sexual encounter with a 21 year old former page about five years after he left his position. Is sending someone an e-mail taking advantage of them? And if Kilroy really thinks this is an issue for Pryce because she was Foley’s friend then why is she running this only on radio stations listened to by fundamentalist Christians?

Again Kilroy lies about the facts to smear Pryce when she says: “When you have a member of Congress abusing his authority and his position with pages, and you have leaders of Congress looking the other way -- protecting their majority instead of protecting the pages -- people here saw that and said, that’s the final straw.”

But none of these individuals were pages at the time. How can Foley be using his position of authority over pages, which was minimal to begin with, when the individuals he e-mailed were no longer pages. Kilroy shrieks: “What did she know? What did she do about it?” She is implying she knew something. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. If Kilroy wants to accuse Pryce of a cover up she needs to produce evidence.

Pryce sees this for what it is. “She’s taking a big risk doing it. She has overstepped a bit -- I mean she’s running those ads on Christian radio! That because I happened to mention him [Foley] as a friend that I knew all along; because he was gay, that he must be a pedophile. I mean, I just don’t think that’s going to really sell like she’s hoping it will.”

Pryce, who is not antigay, said she thinks that the large number of gay voters in the district may need to look again at the appeal to bigotry that Kilroy is using. The New York Times says Pryce is “conservative on spending and other issues, [but] has opposed a ban on same-sex marriage and supported other gay rights initiatives. Her postions on those issues led the Human Rights Campaign to take the highly unusual step of endorsing both candidates in this district.”

Now gay toadies to the Democrats will no doubt line up to say that this is not smearing Pryce for being friends with a gay man but it sure looks that way to me. But then they’d say anything to help their friends in office.

At some point the gay community will figure out that the Democrats don’t particularly care about them. They care are power, politics, perks, and privileges. And they use gay voters the same way Republicans use fundamentalists.

Conservative Christian David Kuo was special assistant to Bush and in a new book he has written he explains that the faith-base initiative plan of the Republicans was merely a ploy to buy votes by showering millions on evangelicals and black churches. He said that many of the leading evangelical leaders were referred to in the White House as “the nuts”. “National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘out of control,’ and just plain ‘goofy.’”

According to MSNBC “With the exception of one reporter from the Washington Post, Kuo says the media were oblivious to the political nature and impact of his office’s events, in part because much of the debate centered on issues of separation of church and state.” Kuo says that groups were given funds because of their support for the president. “Many of the grant-winning organizations that rose to the top of the process were politically friendly to the administration.’’

Apparently the fundamentalists are starting to figure out they were being used by a dishonest Republican Party. Will the gay community be as smart at figuring out how they were manipulated by the Democrats? So far the indication is not very strong that they have figured it out.

Photos: The one on the left, who looks like Jimmy Carter in drag, is Kilroy. On the right is Pryce.