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Michele Bachmann’s Husband is Gay Meme

I’ve been hearing whispers that Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, is gay for a while. It’s now exploding into a full-on meme.

Given my early bedtime, I’m always at least a day late on “Daily Show” bits. Last night, I saw this episode from Wednesday:

Now, I admit, Marcus Bachmann is pudgy and has a less-than-baritone voice. But, last I checked, those aren’t the distinguishing characteristics of homosexuality.

Apparently, gay activist Dan Savage has started pushing the meme hard, too. And Slate’s June Thomas is calling him out:

Dan Savage begins each of his “Savage Love Cast” podcasts with a rip-roaring rant—a sword of invective aimed at homophobic school boards that won’t let lesbians attend their high-school prom, hypocritical politicians, and generally despicable people. It’s a rousing start to 45 minutes of sex advice, and it’s usually right on and empowering.

This week, though, the podcast started with an attack on Marcus Bachmann’s masculinity.After a short preamble about the accuracy of gaydar (with a scientific citation, no less), Savage—whom I respect tremendously—played a tape of Michele’s* husband’s speaking voice. Bachmann has a tiny bit of a lisp—though it’s barely perceptible—and he slurs his words slightly. To Savage’s ears, it was a gay accent. Savage played the tape over and over, and reprised it several times throughout the podcast. He even did his own Bachmann impression, exaggerating the lisp and camping it up.

In other words, the man who launched the “It Gets Better Project,” an effort to stop the bullying of gay teens, was acting like a big bully. As Savage always notes, the kind of smear-the-queer taunts that can cause so much pain to young people aren’t aimed only at kids who are gay, they’re often aimed at boys who don’t live up to some mythical standard of masculinity and girls who just aren’t girly enough. I can only imagine how listeners who happen to have the kind of lisping, effeminate speech and affect that Savage was ridiculing felt upon hearing the attack.

Marcus Bachmann makes money in what I consider to be a reprehensible way: offering “reparative therapy” to “cure” gay people. Judging from the testimony of people who have sought Bachmann’s help, it’s no exaggeration to say that he tries to “pray the gay away.” But that doesn’t justify bullying, and it’s not a good message to send.

Now, I’m not a fan of Savage. I’ve heard him on NPR and other venues and found him to be intelligent and reasonable. But his shtick is bombast, rage, and vitriol. And I find “outing” people who wish to be left alone–much less, people who probably aren’t gay–to be despicable.

But that’s what Savage does and I at least get why he thinks it justified. I’m much more surprised that Jon Stewart, he of the Rally to Restore Sanity, is stooping to using his powerfully influential television show to suggest–with no evidence whatsoever–that Marcus Bachmann is homosexual. If this isn’t “ridicul[ing] people of faith” and “look[ing] down our noses at the heartland,” I don’t know what is.

Like Thomas–and presumably Savage and Stewart–I find the notion of “curing” gay people beyond silly; it’s offensive and potentially quite dangerous. But the Bachmanns are deeply committed to a religious tradition that teaches that homosexuality is an abomination and that they have a duty to help people “afflicted” with it come back to the path of righteousness. Thankfully, that view is becoming less prevalent every day.

Is Marcus Bachmman’s “counseling” practice deserving of ridicule? Yes. Yes, it is. And he’s certainly a public figure, so have at it. But the line should be drawn on this side of slander.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    I could care less if he’s gay, but he sure seems crazy.

    On the question of “outing” someone who is by words & deeds pushing anti-homosexual policies is a tough one, but I see the justification. The thing is, don’t you have to actually have evidence of it? Gosh, I’d think so.

    This strikes me as something that could backfire badly. The guy’s beliefs are self-evidently nutty to a large majority of the population. That’s enough.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 18

  2. john personna says:

    You’ve been hearing it for a while, eh?

    So TDS didn’t just make something up for humor. What they had was comedy gold handed to them, in the combination of the pray yourself straight stuff and, yes, the voice. They just didn’t self-sensor.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 10

  3. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: Mostly Twitter whispers and the like. See this MoJo piece (second half) for some background. I’ve added a link to it in the intro as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  4. alkali says:

    Next they’ll be saying Liberace was gay. Where is the evidence?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 3

  5. sam says:

    @JJ

    But the Bachmanns are deeply committed to a religious tradition that teaches that homosexuality is an abomination and that they have a duty to help people “afflicted” with it come back to the path of righteousness.

    I think the idea is, as recent history attests, a lot of those religious who are most vocal in denouncing teh gay turn out to be teh gay themselves and are responding to deep, deep inner conflict, e.g, Anti-Gay Preacher Caught with Male Hooker. Examples can be multiplied. Certainly doesn’t mean Mr. Bachmann is gay, of course. But there it is.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 9

  6. James Joyner says:

    @sam: There have been a handful of cases of people who are publicly anti-gay who turn out to be gay, yes. I don’t think it’s reasonable to extrapolate from that, however, and presume that this is particularly widespread.

    And, so far as I know, there are no allegations of Marcus Bachmann actually having relations with men. Not all people who dress flamboyantly and lisp are gay; nor do all gays dress flamboyantly and lisp.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 9

  7. john personna says:

    I kind of lean with Sam, just because I find it so hard to comprehend the motivation to be a gay re-trainer. I mean, it’s not the way I’d spend my day.

    Also James, celibacy doesn’t really disprove sexuality.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

  8. steve says:

    I don’t really care if he is gay, bi or whatever. That is between him and his wife. However, he is now a public figure. His attempts to cure gays is open to scrutiny and criticism. Their particular religious beliefs may also be up for scrutiny. IIRC, and if others know differently I will be glad to be corrected, their sect is similar to what I grew up with. The man is the leader and decision maker in the house. If that is the case, then this guy needs a lot more public exposure. (Yes, I know the stock answer. They will pray and look to the Lord for their answers, but if God’s answers are always the same as her husband’s, this is fair game in my book.)

    Steve

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8

  9. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: Celibacy doesn’t disprove sexuality–but not does it invite slander. There is, after all, pretty strong evidence that he has had sex with a woman.

    @steve: As I note in the last paragraph of the post, it’s absolutely fair game to scrutinize Bachmann’s “therapy” practice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  10. hey norm says:

    The Bachmann’s “cure” – and yes, her name is on the business – is not potentially dangerous. It has done real harm to real humans. This “cure” has been catagorically condemned by experts in the field as harmful.
    In addition they are receiving federal funds – in direct contradiction to her stated policy beliefs – and mis-using them.
    These are serious issues and Bachmann should not be allowed to ignore the questions – as she did earlier this week. She claims she has a titanium spine – let’s see her walk the walk.
    Say what you want about Stewart…if not for his bit on Marcuth…we wouldn’t be talking about this right now and the issues, regardless of his sexual preferences, are important.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 11

  11. Franklin says:

    I agree 100% with your post, James, including most of June Thomas’ quote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  12. mattb says:

    The thing is that there’s sort of a “total package” with Marcus Bachman. The voice, the look, his use of words like “Barbarians” in reference to gays, and the over the top anti-gay beliefs. It just summons up examples of Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, and other strong anti-gay conservatives who then, like Roy Coehn, turn out to be “straight men who sleep with other men.”

    But I agree that it shouldn’t be an upfront issue.

    The fact that his counseling service received medicare payments — that is worth discussing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 7

  13. Mr. Prosser says:

    Bachmann will get hammered because he allowed himself to be in the public light. He’ll be vilified in the same way Rick Santorum is and was with his name. What I’m intrested in is where and how he got his Doctorate and how his “patients” paid, was there any government money used there?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  14. john personna says:

    Celibacy doesn’t disprove sexuality–but not does it invite slander. There is, after all, pretty strong evidence that he has had sex with a woman.

    Whatever their life is as a couple, I hope they are happy, whatever their “internal state.”

    It’s just wrong though, to use action in this discussion. Sexuality is about drives, which I’m sure we know map to actions in an infinite variety of human ways.

    (Particularly when “the cure” is to “live straight!”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  15. Nick says:

    I’d bet next week’s check that if you hooked Marcus Bachmann up to a plethysmograph and had him watch some gay porn, he’d get an erection.

    http://www.landman-psychology.com/Homophobia%20Associated%20with%20Homosexual%20Arousal.pdf

    That’s not slander; that’s an offer to wager.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 12

  16. HelloWorld! says:

    This perception bothers me. I know tons of straight guys who seem “gay” but are not at all and tons of gay guys who seem “straight” but are not at all. It plays into false stereo types. Play a little game with yourself and pretend that everyone you know is gay and I think you’ll start to see some tendencies in people that you did not see before. Tonight after work I’m headed to my neighbors house where he and his wife are hosting a wine tasting – they have a really fabulous collection of glasswear.

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  17. mantis says:

    And I find “outing” people who wish to be left alone–much less, people who probably aren’t gay–to be despicable.
    But that’s what Savage does and I at least get why he thinks it justified.

    You’ve made this assertion before and failed to back it up. Your only evidence of Savage “outing” anyone was a comment he made about someone who had already publicly admitted to being gay. That’s not an outing, and neither is this. This is just speculation.

    I wonder how much you know about these “gay cure” scams, and how often they are run and pushed by closeted or “former” gays who aren’t really “cured” at all. It’s an interesting psychological phenomena. Guilt ridden gays who convince themselves they are tipping the Jesus scales in their favor because they are fighting the gay menace, which somehow compensates for the fact that they are themselves committing the sin of homosexuality. They often don’t even understand the harm they do to the people they think they are helping.

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  18. mantis says:

    And, so far as I know, there are no allegations of Marcus Bachmann actually having relations with men. Not all people who dress flamboyantly and lisp are gay; nor do all gays dress flamboyantly and lisp.

    Yes, but if you have a flamboyantly dressed, lisping man who devotes his whole life to fighting the existence of homosexuality, I’d say the chances that person is himself gay increase dramatically. I give it 10:1 for.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 9

  19. Kylopod says:

    You should listen to Stewart’s next segment, where he has Jerry Seinfeld come on the program and they do “reparative therapy” to cure Stewart of his urge to make fun of Bachmann’s perceived gayness. It’s a bit of meta-humor, similar to the way he handled the Weiner incident, where he’s partly making fun of his own temptations to go for cheap, crude laughs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  20. Liberty60 says:

    I’ve seen this before, the debate about whether to out public figures who are anti-gay rights.

    And in this case, yes, there is an aspect of cruel bullying to it, of attacking Bachmann based on his lisp and effeminate mannerisms.

    But where I would come down is that he is no longer a private person. Politics, especially national politics is a rough and tumble game and these people are asking us to give them the highest power in the land; to complain about a hard hit is just a signal that they are not ready for the big leagues.

    The reason I accept this sort of cruelty when directed at public figures is that they have the capacity to inflict real, and viciously cruel treatment to the powerless who don’t have access to a tv network or newspaper.

    For instance, look at the budget debates- rich and powerful people in Washington and state and local governments are calmly discussing mass layoffs, cutting benefits to the sick and elderly, all being done in the cool bland bureaucratic language.

    Here in Orange County California, the Costa Mesa City Council abruptly and on a whim laid off many of the City workers simply to turn their jobs over to a private firm.

    One of the laid off employees jumped off a building and killed himself.

    So no, I don’t shed any tears for any of the politicians who cringe and snivel about the rough treatment we give them. The rage and cruel fury that Dan Savage is directing at the Bachmanns is only a tenth of the cruelty that the Bachmanns would inflict upon the people of America even if they delivered it in a pious sermon.

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  21. MBunge says:

    Eh. I find it hard to get that worked up over the “Bachmann is gay” stuff when conservatives have now spent several years obsessing over Barack Obama’s teleprompter, which is nothing more than “See! The black guy really ain’t that smart” racism.

    Mike

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  22. MarkedMan says:

    I think the mocking of Bachmann’s effeminate characteristics are reprehensible. I like John Stewart, but he was way off base on this one.

    That said, I’d like to take issue with something James said:

    But the Bachmanns are deeply committed to a religious tradition that teaches that homosexuality is an abomination

    To me, this implies that it’s OK to promote hateful notions as long as “god tells me to”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 7

  23. ponce says:

    It’s true by the rule that Republicans are whatever they oppose.

    Libertarians who have worked for the government their whole adult lives, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11

  24. hey norm says:

    @ MarkedMan
    I disagree. Stewart commited satire…he used what is comical (and you are entitled to your opinion on the tastefulness of it) to shine a light on what is reprehensible…the harmful, destructive nature of the Bachmann’s “cure”, the mis-use of government moneys, and the hypocrisy that mis-use implies.
    The fiction of a God, or Gods, has long been used to justify and promote hateful notions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

  25. mantis says:

    I love Thomas’s closing lines:

    I’d say Marcus is as straight as the suburbs. Check the 3:22 mark in the Daily Show video: No gay man dances that badly.

    Stop speculating and making jokes based on gay stereotypes! By the way, all gay men are good dancers!

    FAIL

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  26. michael reynolds says:

    I’m inclined to give it all a pass because Bachmann is obviously not going to ever be president.

    But let’s pretend she’s a serious candidate. A candidate married to a man who practices a discredited and cruel sort of “therapy.” This goes to the candidate herself and her psychological make up.

    If he’s a repressed homosexual essentially practicing his weirdness on himself then it doubly goes to the candidate herself. I generally think people’s marriages are none of my business, but a woman who will live with a closeted, in-denial gay man who profits by teaching others to be as screwed up as he is, well, that crosses the line into a level of crazy that does become my business.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8

  27. JKB says:

    So from the comments, I discern that it is okay to slander and bully someone if they do something of which a quorum of people disapprove, especially if they draw attention to themselves. Good to see Middle School Rules still rule. Someone give the man a wedgie.

    Now, having known men with effeminate voices and features who were straight and macho looking and acting men who were gay, I was forced to put away childish things and base my observational determination of gay or straight on evidence of sexual attraction to other men. Is that wrong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 7

  28. michael reynolds says:

    JKB:

    No, I think the conclusion is that it’s okay to bully the bully.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7

  29. john personna says:

    I did not defend slandering and bullying anyone, JKB. I didn’t defend Savage, and I don’t think that’s what TDS was doing. The show was just doing their brand of rough and irreverent humor. (They go over the line for me, regularly.)

    And actually, remember that in the TDS constellation, it isn’t actually a slander to be a gay. In their constellation it would be funny if he was, only because of the retraining and/or hypocrisy. Gay itself is accepted, even while kidded with funny voices (“fabulous”), etc.

    BTW, “barbarian” was a really funny word to use, wasn’t it? Who would think “barbarian?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  30. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan: Given how entrenched religious doctrine is, I’m more willing to cut people slack when that’s they’re motivation. That doesn’t mean you can’t go after the absurdity of the belief.

    @michael reynolds: I don’t think bullying is ever appropriate, although our disagreement may be semantic only. I fully concur that his absurd practice is fair game for ridicule. I just think that insinuating that he’s doing what he’s doing because he’s a repressed homosexual is not only over the line but also damaging to homosexuals while undermining the argument against Bachmann.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

  31. ponce says:

    I discern that it is okay to slander and bully someone if they do something of which a quorum of people disapprove,

    Wingnuts are always the poor, poor victim no matter what nasty shit they do to other people.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 9

  32. James, what happened here? When did readers get to shut down comments just because they disagree with them? This is a serious mistake to have on your blog. I have read OTB for many years as you know, but would urge you to turn this “like\dislike” feature off because it is now self evident that a segment of your readers use it to conceal comments that they disagree with. I refer, of course, to the left-wing readership, who, with a few exceptions (but only a few), do not want to consider other points of view and do not want others to read them.

    Please turn this off. It reflects very badly upon you and this site.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 13

  33. Kylopod says:

    @JKB:

    >Now, having known men with effeminate voices and features who were straight and macho looking and acting men who were gay

    Unfortunately, that observation won’t be enough to undermine the stereotypes. There’s long been a stereotype of a muscle-bound, leather-clad gay man. You don’t remember the Village People?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. James in LA says:

    It’s not the lisping. It’s the fixation on gay sex. There are many deeply religious men who are not fixated on such things. What straight man who is comfortable with who he is sexually speaks like this? His mental disorder, the one in which he needs to change everyone he finds foul, is enabled by his religion. It is not the source of it. I have seen this picture 100s of times in support groups. So, to me, I guess, it’s fairly obvious. It’s a crying shame because the actual cure — coming out — will be forever beyond his reach, and that is a sad state of affairs for anyone.

    As long as his clinics operate, he is also a thug, and a charlatan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  35. Robert in SF says:

    I am gay, and I don’t like it when people project latent/hidden/repressed homosexuality onto a person who fits some of the stereotypes of being gay…

    Just as most gay persons would not like it if a straight person says that such-and-such *can’t* be gay, since they are too butch, or to femme for women….

    Being gay is more than just who you are attracted to in bed…that’s a big part, but it’s really an extension of the human condition to being physically intimate with those you find emotionally attractive…But that’s my personal armchair physiology.

    To say “where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire” is a logical fallacy, as not all that looks like smoke is caused by fire…a inept way of saying that not all gay men are femme, and not all femme men are gay.

    To satirize the culturally imposed clash between his “displayed” nature and his actual nature trivializes and distracts from the real issues of concern…is he promoting a dangerous psychological fallacy that being gay is curable, and by promoting it as such, doing actual harm to those who believe him…

    Sexuality is a personal issue, and is up to each person on how they want to deal with it: accept it, deny it, expose it, or repress it…but they should do so based on an educated basis, knowing what the current understanding is of the issues, and the ramifications of each of those decisions.

    If someone wants to “change” their sexuality, that’s between them and those they share their effort with….but I don’t want misinformation spread that harms those in a very vulnerable position, open to almost any outlet. Much like the FDA regulates drugs and medical devices to keep quacks and scams from hurting those who will grasp at any straws to help them in a time of urgent desperation, the psychological treatments need oversight and vetting to assure that either solely profit-minded charlatans, or single-minded ideologues with a desperate control complex….or to give them the benefit of the doubt, loving, caring, witnesses to a “good” life (that they define).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  36. michael reynolds says:

    @Donald Sensing: Actually the first obvious round of this came from right-wing visitors. A number of left-of-center folk — me included — have been urging that the feature only be used to shut down spammers or obviously abusive trolls. I often try to provide a saving up vote for anyone I see “disappeared” for purely ideological reasons, regardless of what side they’re on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  37. Kylopod says:

    @Donald Sensing: What are you talking about? As of now, none of the comments in this thread have been hidden, and only one has received a single dislike (more than balanced out by two likes).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. James Joyner says:

    @Donald Sensing: I’ve been tweaking it a bit, making it harder to hide comments without a critical mass.

    As I noted when I introduced the feature, I was a bit skeptical that it would just turn into an ideological war. But, for the most part, only the more outrageous comments are getting buried–which is fine by me. Most comments don’t get any votes one way or the other.

    It doesn’t work if there’s a massive number of “outside” commenters on a post, who’ve come in from a link from a very high traffic site. But that’s only happened 3-4 times. It hasn’t happened at all on this post, unless I’m missing something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  39. Anderson says:

    This would be too sweet to be true. I think to the extent the guy seems less than masculine, it’s just a consequence of being married to Michele Bachmann.

    I’d bet next week’s check that if you hooked Marcus Bachmann up to a plethysmograph and had him watch some gay porn, he’d get an erection.

    This test will probably be required of all GOP candidates by the 2016 election season.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  40. An Interested Party says:

    He’ll be vilified in the same way Rick Santorum is and was with his name.

    Oh, poor Rick Santorum…when someone attaches such negative connotations to homosexuality, one should expect such pushback…

    So from the comments, I discern that it is okay to slander and bully someone if they do something of which a quorum of people disapprove, especially if they draw attention to themselves. Good to see Middle School Rules still rule.

    Certainly you have followed such Middle School Rules when it comes to the President…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  41. sam says:

    BTW JJ

    There is, after all, pretty strong evidence that he has had sex with a woman.

    Not about Bachmann per se, but you can’t be that naive, can you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  42. WR says:

    @Donald Sensing: You might want to check out the discussions of Paul Ryan’s wine consumption, where right wingers this site has never seen before flocked over here to hide any comment that pointed out the fact that what Ryan was doing was illegal. Or maybe they were leftists in cunning disguises….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  43. john personna says:

    Here’s the thing, from a humor perspective. The Daily Show bit is funny even if Bachmann is straight, because of the “referring to gays as ‘barbarians’ who ‘must be disciplined'” thing.

    Disciplining gays? That’s sad, but at the same time, it’s like a line from a B movie comedy.

    Saying stuff like that puts in-bounds a lot of jokes that would not be otherwise.

    (And of course if he actually is gay, it’s a bit less funny, and sad in an added way.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  44. James Joyner says:

    @sam: Having children with a woman doesn’t prove that he’s straight. But, given ANY EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that he’s gay, it certainly ways the scales in the other direction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  45. Wayne says:

    Does this mean we can refer to Michelle Obama as a lesbian dike now? She looks much manlier than her husband, and does look like one.

    Spouses are open game right?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 13

  46. Kylopod says:

    The reason conservative comments at this site are more likely to be ambushed is because the readership of this blog tends to be liberal. If the readership were more conservative, you’d see plenty of liberal comments being unfairly hidden.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  47. john personna says:

    James, for me this would be a cleaner thread if it had been about Savage, or about The Daily Show.

    They are not equivalent.

    A late night cable joke, on a network that accuses congressmen directly of being coke addicts(*), as a joke, is different.

    * – If I remember correctly, one of those bizarre interviews granted by a sitting congressman to a TDS “reporter.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. PD Shaw says:

    @steve: I don’t know what religious groupings you grew up with, but the church she was a member of until recently was a conservative branch of the Lutherans. They would have held views, such as amillennialism, that are going to be either considered heretical or unfaithful to more literalist interpretations commonly held in the South.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  49. mattb says:

    @Donald

    I have read OTB for many years as you know, but would urge you to turn this “like\dislike” feature off because it is now self evident that a segment of your readers use it to conceal comments that they disagree with. I refer, of course, to the left-wing readership, who, with a few exceptions (but only a few), do not want to consider other points of view and do not want others to read them.

    While the first half of your statement is correct — that commentors are disliking posts that they disagree with — the second half, that it’s the “left-wing readership” that don’t wan to consider the other sides points of view is incorrect. Both sides are doing it. It’s just an issue of the proportion on any given post.

    So, for example, on OTB stories that are picked up by the “Conservative Blog Advertising” network (the side-bar of links) like ‘Wednesday Debt Talks End On Tense Note As Obama Walks Out “Abruptly”‘ — the liberal comments tend to be the ones being voted down (most likely because of an influx of ideologically conservative folks to that page).

    Either way, the like/dislike system is still problematic…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  50. john personna says:

    Pelosi on Colbert:

    “I wouldn’t recommend that anyone go on the show,” she said. “I would think it would be okay to go on if you were live to tape, but don’t subject yourself to a comic’s edit unless you want to be made a fool of.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  51. mattb says:

    BTW @Donald, for another example for Conservatives dis-liking what they disagree with into oblivion, see:
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/paul-ryan-wine-accuser-susan-feinberg-clams-up/

    Basically, if a post ends up in the “Conservative Advertising Sidebar” one can predict that the disliking will swing one way. If it doesn’t then chances are it will swing a different way (though not necessarily as aggressively).

    BTW, @JJ looks like that Ad network is definitely sending you traffic based on the uptick in the use of the like/dislike system on those pages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  52. Elvis Elvisberg says:

    I’d love to play the sensible centrist here, and argue that this extremist rhetoric risks alienating independent voters… but Mr. Bachmann is running a clinic to cure homosexuality. That– not his dance moves– opens him to every manner of mockery on this front. And Mr. Bachmann’s actions and the climate he perpetuates is what’s “damaging to homosexuals” here, not the mockery of Mr. Bachmann, contrary to Mr. Joyner’s 10:57 comment.

    This is a type. Think of George Rekers, who’d received Florida taxpayer money from GOP governors for years to write about how bad gay people are, hiring a rent boy to “lift his luggage” on their European trip where he “shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.” (I think it’s extraordinarily distasteful to nickname one’s sex organ “the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” but that’s Rekers’ business). And there’s a reason this is a type: there’s only one reason to spend as much time as George Rekers and Marcus Bachmann do thinking about male homosexuality.

    He’s a genuine force for evil in our society. Here’s what “reparative therapy”– better known as “praying the gay away”– gets you.

    It doesn’t matter whether he’s motivated by deeply felt religious belief, or insincere religious belief, or because his hamster told him to do it.

    This mockery is the absolute minimum that Bachmann deserves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  53. James Joyner says:

    @mattb: That’s a more-or-less random scroll of most recent posts on blogs in the network who’ve agreed to run a free BlogAd promoting the network. What’s happened is that the Ryan post got picked up on Hot Air and a FOX site and a previous post that generated heated comment was picked up by InstaPundit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: Agree that Savage and Stewart are different animals. I stumbled on the post about Savage’s conduct and it gave me a hook to talk about the Stewart bit, which I’d seen the night before. It also reinforces the idea that the “Bachmann is gay” thing has moved from whisper to meme.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, here’s how I use the Like/Dislike feature. If I think a post makes a good point, I “Like” it. If I think a post is stupid or trite or redundant, I don’t do anything. If I think a post is offensive (not “offensive to my political beliefs” but “offensive to common decency” or part of a “I know you are, but what am I” chain, I “Dislike” it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  56. Gustopher says:

    The guy preaches anti-gay bigotry and hate, he runs a counseling service that does real damage to the patients. I have no sympathy for him.

    Plus, he is a walking stereotype closet case.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 10

  57. mattb says:

    @james —

    That’s a more-or-less random scroll of most recent posts on blogs in the network who’ve agreed to run a free BlogAd promoting the network.

    Really? I had guessed it was curated. The more “liberal” items from OTB (or at least ones with Liberal titles) tend to never make it onto that. And any that sound from the headline like a convervative media talking point (see the recent Michelle Obama Burger one) seem to jump right on there (despite the fact you were arguing against the assumed premise).

    Either way, the fact still holds that an influx of commentors, rather than their specific political leanings, has a lot to do with what posts are “liked” and “disliked.”

    And which ever side is getting disliked is going to see themselves as the victim in all of this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  58. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: That’s more or less what I do, but I’ve also put dislikes on John Malkovich’s obsessive linking to the cheeky Alex Knapp post anytime Doug talks about Sarah Palin. This isn’t really offensive, just annoyingly disruptive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. jukeboxgrad says:

    james:

    the line should be drawn on this side of slander.

    Saying that someone is gay is slander only if you think being gay is wrong. As john said: “remember that in the TDS constellation, it isn’t actually a slander to be a gay.”

    This reminds me of when George Allen said it was “making aspersions” to discuss his Jewish heritage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  60. Ron Beasley says:

    @michael reynolds: Bachmann will not be the Republican nominee but the Republicans will have to throw a VP bone to the Tea Party base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  61. hey norm says:

    This just in…Marcuth sayth the tape ith faked.

    @ Ron Beasley…I hope so. The commitee to re-elect hopes so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  62. Kylopod says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Yes and no. Sometimes people spread rumors about a person being part of a group, in order to exploit prejudice against that group. For example, the rumor that Obama is a Muslim, or that McCain has a black child, were clearly smears, not because it’s bad to be a Muslim or to have a black child, but because the people who created these false rumors were intending to discredit these politicians by playing on voters’ fears of these groups.

    Rumors of this sort are in a sense a trap for those trying to debunk them. If Obama insists too stridently that he’s not a Muslim, it could sound like he’s attacking Muslims. And his campaign did get themselves in a little trouble in ’08 when two Muslim women were told not to sit in front. Colin Powell got it right when he pointed out it shouldn’t matter whether he’s a Muslim or not.

    The Catch-22, for victims of rumors like these, is that if you insist the rumor is untrue, you risk making it sound like it matters to you whether it’s true or not. If you insist it shouldn’t matter, then you make it sound like it’s true. It goes sort of like this:

    Person 1: I heard that you’re gay.
    Person 2: I’m not!
    Person 1: Really?
    Person 2: Definitely not! But even if I were, so what?
    Person 1: Ah! Nice weasel words! It sounds like you’re leaving open the possibility that you might be gay.
    Person 2: No I’m not! I absolutely am not, in a hundred million years, gay, you hear me?!!!
    Person 1: Wow, touchy, aren’t we?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  63. An Interested Party says:

    Does this mean we can refer to Michelle Obama as a lesbian dike now?

    Well, if she referred to lesbians in the most negative ways and was behind some ridiculous program to “cure” them of their “condition”…

    The reason conservative comments at this site are more likely to be ambushed is because the readership of this blog tends to be liberal.

    As some bright spark noted on another thread, the evil liberals tend to take over everything that isn’t started and diligently run by conservatives, so this is hardly surprising, right?

    “I wouldn’t recommend that anyone go on the show,” she said. “I would think it would be okay to go on if you were live to tape, but don’t subject yourself to a comic’s edit unless you want to be made a fool of.”

    Smart woman…many of her fellow politicians would be wise to follow this advice…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  64. @michael reynolds: Good on yer, Michael! We probably do not agree on much, but we agree on this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. @Kylopod: Has happened on other posts and now, as I type this, has happened on this one, see below.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. Ken says:

    Once again, the Big Brave Leftists are at their evil games.

    Last I heard, it was considered pretty cowardly to spread lies while keeping your own identity secret.

    But that’s par for the course. I’d wager a week’s paycheck that “Nick” is a leftist precisely because he’s a coward who was afraid of being drafted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  67. Kylopod says:

    @An Interested Party:

    >Well, if she referred to lesbians in the most negative ways and was behind some ridiculous program to “cure” them of their “condition”

    Even then, it wouldn’t be accurate. Not only is she not a lesbian, she doesn’t even look like a stereotypical one, and at least in my opinion is a physically beautiful woman. Unless you think all tall, non-anorexic women look like lesbians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  68. James Joyner says:

    @jukeboxgrad: I think @Kylopod has nailed my views on this pretty well. Calling someone who finds homosexuality offensive a homosexual, especially with no evidence that he’s homosexual, is of course a slur just as calling Obama a Muslim is a slur. The fact that there’s nothing wrong with being gay or Muslim really doesn’t enter into it; the intent is to smear a reputation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  69. km says:

    Calling someone gay is only slander or a slur if you think being gay is a bad thing. No one says it’s slander when you call someone a cowboy or an astronaut.

    Also, just sayin’, I can’t think of a better way for an anti-gay closeted gay man to legitimately surround himself with other gay men than to run a clinic that forces him into constant contact with said gay men. Brilliant strategy, Mr. Bachmann!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  70. fredCPA says:

    @hey norm: are these religious experts dude? or just liberal shrinks? its REALLY bad to try to make gays straight? um, why? can gays stop trying to get married then…that seems really BAD. trying to act straight and all, since straight people get married. isnt that whole thing kinda “dangerous”?? gay marriage. eeeeeuuuwwww. like bachman curing gays or something….gross.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  71. Jim says:

    Honestly, it’s not just the lisp, it’s what he said. All these Ted Haggard type closet cases say the same thing.

    “Just because you have the constant, undeniable urge to have sex with men doesn’t mean you have to act on it! Whenever you meet a man and find yourself staring at his crotch, that’s just Satan tugging on your eyeballs. You have to take those constant gay urges that all straight Christian men experience and lock them away in a closet and never let them out. And if you don’t find yourself attracted to women — sometimes I don’t — just read some Bible verses and remind yourself that you should.”

    Paraphrased, but seriously, how many HUNDREDS of times have we seen some fervent Christian deliver this sermon and then get caught with a twink in a motel? From a strictly psychological point of view, the only way anyone WOULD say anything about fending off endless gay temptation is if they are gay. I mean, I wouldn’t call myself a ladies’ man, but I just don’t find myself struggling to avoid fantasizing about gay sex. I don’t think most straight men do. I know that plenty of gay men fantasize about gay sex, and that only the closeted gay men try to keep it a secret like this. There’s nothing more to the pray-the-gay-away method than closeting. Nobody even CARES about straightening out gays unless they are wrestling with their own demons.

    To be fair, this could be the first time in history that a prancing, lisping, outspoken anti-gay Christian, whose own wife admits that she wasn’t attracted to him before they were married (and afterwards…?) , who describes openly gay men as sinful savages who must be disciplined into self-denial, really is just a straight dude who wants to help make more straight dudes. But I sure as hell doubt it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  72. The Pale Scot says:

    Cher says he gay, that’s good enough for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  73. James Joyner says:

    @Kylopod: “Malkovich” has been banned from commenting several times but it’s a minor pain to actually enforce.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  74. Tamara Johnson says:

    It always amuses me when people criticize John Stewart as if he had to live up to some journalistic integrity–hello, it’s a comedy show. Real journalists these days don’t even have integrity, or always even report the truth. Since The Daily Show has more fact to it than some so-called news channels, some have made a sport of attacking Stewart instead of demanding real news from journalists.

    I would also point out that when you run for president, you and your family are fair game; that is the way it is for everybody. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Television has done this to us. Remember how mean some men were to Hillary? I didn’t see a lot of men defending her. Anyone who runs for president and doesn’t consider what mean-spirited people and the press are going to cook up, isn’t paying attention, but we are talking about Michele Bachmann here.

    Lastly, I would agree with those who are sick of the hypocrisy from those who are anti-gay and then later we find out they are in the closet. Their self-loathing and political point-making has caused many to just assume that Marcus Bachmann is just another example of this phenomenon, even though he may be just a plain, old homophobe, trying to make money off of swindling others. Either way, he doesn’t deserve our pity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  75. Frederick says:

    Oh, yeah, well I heard Michelle Obama’s husband was gay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  76. steve says:

    @PD- Grew up very conservative independent Baptist. Friends with some of the Bob Jones family. Women were help meets. Men made the decisions.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  77. Geoff says:

    What an insane comment….and wishful thinking on your part. I wonder what you think it would prove if watcing gay porn made him puke? Oh…it would prove he is “homophobic” of course.

    James wrote a well thought out piece, and though I disagree with every premise he brings to it, I give him credit for being honest and fair. Too bad the same cannot be said about the commenters

    @Nick:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  78. Geoff says:

    @Tamara Johnson: John Stewart is the most trusted “journalist” for people between the ages of 18 and 30. Something like 40% of that group trust him more than any other “news” source. Stewart hides behind the “I’m a comedian” bs while trying putting forth info as though it’s factual.

    Only a leftist would believe him, and only a fool would trust anything he says

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

  79. Jim says:

    I wonder why this meme has struck such a nerve with the party of Ted Haggard, Lindsey Graham, Mark Foley, Eric Cantor, and Larry Craig. We may never know…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  80. MarkedMan says:

    The slander in these things isn’t that someone is Muslim or gay, the slander is in saying they are lying about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  81. Mike Gabel says:

    So now the left is trying to demonize someone for being gay, just because he’s related to a conservative? Libs blow trumpets for the cause of gay marriage.

    Libs are hypocrites. They would all be glad if Casey Anthony killed her daughter while she was still in the womb.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11

  82. Jim says:

    No, we’re demonizing him because he’s a hateful idiot who says that being gay is a choice.

    We’re also mocking him because he’s obviously gay himself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  83. 1) for some people “gay” is a choice. Happens more with females than males due to inherent differences in sexual nature. A lot of people are gay-curious but remain heterosexual. What one finds sexually attractive is not either/or.

    2) If “choice” is good, then how is the personal choice of someone who wants to channel their sexual behavior in a particular direction wrong? Is someone forcing people into Bachmann’s clinic? Why are Medicare/Medicaid patients to be denied their choice of therapist?

    3) Again, double-standard. Someone wants to modifiy their biological sex with surgery/hormones and YES! Celebrate it! WooHoo! … Someone wants to modify their sexual behavior in choosing a partner? EVIL! Such a person should learn to live with their orientation!!

    Sorry, this attempt to smear Congresswoman Bachmann for the apostasy of not being a [il]liberal-Leftist by a whisper-campaign against her husband (including charges of pedophilia) is transparent. I would say any participant in such a campaign should be ashamed, but that isn’t in the vocabulary of such morally bankrupt people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

  84. Marky says:

    I had never heard of this guy until just now. After searching a bit on the net and hearing his voice, watching his moves and demeanor I can definitely attest he is a Friend of Dorothy. My gaydar is still smoking, almost blew an o-ring.

    If Michele wins the presidency we won’t have a First Lady for the first time in our history but we’ll finally have royalty in the White House. Long live the Queen!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  85. Jim says:

    for some people “gay” is a choice. Happens more with females than males due to inherent differences in sexual nature.

    I know of not one single gay person who says it’s their choice. It’s true that some people may be naturally attracted to both sexes, but their “sexual nature” was not a choice. I guess the difference is that you and Marcus seem to define “gay” as a series of actions, whereas I think of it more as a personal characteristic, not unlike skin color.

    If “choice” is good, then how is the personal choice of someone who wants to channel their sexual behavior in a particular direction wrong? Is someone forcing people into Bachmann’s clinic?

    Um, yes. Rhetorical question fail. Quite a few people were sent there by their parents.

    http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/07/andrew_ramirez_marcus_bachmann_gay_therapy.php

    Again, double-standard. Someone wants to modifiy their biological sex with surgery/hormones and YES! Celebrate it! WooHoo! … Someone wants to modify their sexual behavior in choosing a partner? EVIL! Such a person should learn to live with their orientation!!

    The clinic is not touted as “modifying behavior”, the clinic is sold as “curing” gays. I am somewhat depressive and I’ve learned ways to control it, but I do not believe in any one-time magic cure.

    The pray-the-gay-away therapy has been shown many times not to work, btw, but science has a well-known liberal bias…

    Sorry, this attempt to smear Congresswoman Bachmann for the apostasy of not being a [il]liberal-Leftist by a whisper-campaign against her husband (including charges of pedophilia) is transparent. I would say any participant in such a campaign should be ashamed, but that isn’t in the vocabulary of such morally bankrupt people.

    Are you unfamiliar with Ted Haggard? Eddie Long? Just wondering.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  86. steve says:

    @James Joyner:

    He sure looks gay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  87. Nick says:

    An effeminate man who dedicates his life to helping men with homosexual urges avoid acting on those urges.

    Now why would anyone suspect he’s gay (Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, George Rekers, Mark Foley….and probably more than one right winger posting on this board).

    James, you’ve become an apologist for the fundamentalist husband of a woman who believes American foreign policy should be influenced by concerns that supernatural entities will act against us if we don’t appease them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  88. An Interested Party says:

    @Kylopod: Yes I agree with you, the point is that Bachmann opens himself up to this kind of thing (whether there is definitive proof is another matter) with his vile and despicable words and actions…

    its REALLY bad to try to make gays straight? um, why?

    It’s bad in the same that it would be to try to “make” straight people gay, unless you are all for that?

    John Stewart is the most trusted “journalist” for people between the ages of 18 and 30. Something like 40% of that group trust him more than any other “news” source. Stewart hides behind the “I’m a comedian” bs while trying putting forth info as though it’s factual.

    Only a leftist would believe him, and only a fool would trust anything he says

    Reminds me of how many people take the words of Rush Limbaugh as gospel, but so often when he’s called on his bull$hit, he hides behind his “But I’m just an entertainer” shtick…of course, only a righty would believe him, and only a fool would trust anything he says…

    So now the left is trying to demonize someone for being gay, just because he’s related to a conservative?

    No, actually he’s being “demonized” because he might be a potential closet case who is doing damage to people who may very well share his desires…nice try, though…

    If “choice” is good, then how is the personal choice of someone who wants to channel their sexual behavior in a particular direction wrong?

    Good question…you should ask that of people who want to deny gay people the same rights that straight people have…

    I would say any participant in such a campaign should be ashamed, but that isn’t in the vocabulary of such morally bankrupt people.

    The real moral bankruptcy is exhibited by those who think gay people are “barbarians” who need to be “fixed” of the “condition” that they “suffer” from…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  89. Nick says:

    @Ken:

    Spec 4 Steve Nichols, 572nd MP Company, Ft. Ritchie Md, 1975-1978.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  90. @Nick: @Nick:

    James, you’ve become an apologist for the fundamentalist husband of a woman who believes American foreign policy should be influenced by concerns that supernatural entities will act against us if we don’t appease them.

    Which, of course, doesn’t bother you a bit when they are of the correct skin color and party affiliation

    Perhaps your obsession with “hypocrisy” is merely projecting your own?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  91. Paul says:

    @Jim:

    I know of not one single gay person who says it’s their choice.

    I’ve known quite a few, and most of them women. It isn’t all that uncommon that a woman who is married to a wifebeater for 10 or 15 years before he throws them away is suddenly a lesbian.
    I, myself, was gay until my early adulthood when I spent the better part of a year in a sex free zone (basic and AIT of the Army). It was actually a surprise to realize that I was no longer gay. I’ve been straight for 15 years now and have a wife and kids.

    While I don’t really know anything about this brand of “therapy”, it is simply untrue to say that sexuality cannot be changed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  92. Jim says:

    It isn’t all that uncommon that a woman who is married to a wifebeater for 10 or 15 years before he throws them away is suddenly a lesbian.

    This is your idea of a “choice”? I think I’m starting to see the disconnect here. When I think choice, I think like, “I choose to buy some oatmeal.” Your definition of choice is more like, “He was paralyzed from the waist down and now he chooses to use a wheelchair.” I.e., not a choice.

    So a woman is beaten and raped and suddenly she… chooses to avoid men? Just like a child who is molested is more likely to choose to be emotionally distant and commit suicide later on. Amazing how nightmarish trauma can drive people to “choices” like that.

    I, myself, was gay until my early adulthood when I spent the better part of a year in a sex free zone (basic and AIT of the Army). It was actually a surprise to realize that I was no longer gay. I’ve been straight for 15 years now and have a wife and kids.

    The US military, under DADT, is likewise the last place on earth I’d expect to find anyone avoiding gay sex “by choice”. By definition. It’s like looking for mammals in the Marianas Trench.

    Not going to personally attack you, knowing nothing of you, but it sounds more like you’re bisexual, not that there’s anything wrong with that. You shouldn’t generalize this to say that every gay person can turn straight through sheer willpower and/or a stint in the Army, because… well, once again, Ted Haggard. I’m pretty sure he really genuinely wishes he were straight. Too bad he isn’t, though, and will never be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  93. Paul says:

    @Jim:

    You shouldn’t generalize this to say that every gay person can turn straight through sheer willpower …

    I wasn’t trying to generalize by saying that all gay people could change their orientation, or that all straight people could, for that matter. I was simply saying that it has been known to happen, for some people, and that to say that it cannot happen is false.

    The US military, under DADT, is likewise the last place on earth I’d expect to find anyone avoiding gay sex “by choice”.

    I made a choice to be abstinent for months when I joined – just like virtually every other service member, straight or gay, during school.

    but it sounds more like you’re bisexual, not that there’s anything wrong with that

    I don’t believe I am, though I agree that there’s nothing wrong with those who are
    I find that the widely held belief that it is impossible to change one’s orientation to be cruel to people who might want to entertain the notion. I would agree with Darleen when she states

    then how is the personal choice of someone who wants to channel their sexual behavior in a particular direction wrong

    Each of us have our own individual paths of self-discovery to walk.
    I’ve seen studies that suggest it is more possible for a person to change their orientation than for an alcoholic to give up alcohol, and yet we would never suggest that is impossible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  94. James Joyner says:

    @Nick: How do you get “apologist” out of this article?

    I find the notion of “curing” gay people beyond silly; it’s offensive and potentially quite dangerous. But the Bachmanns are deeply committed to a religious tradition that teaches that homosexuality is an abomination and that they have a duty to help people “afflicted” with it come back to the path of righteousness. Thankfully, that view is becoming less prevalent every day.

    Is Marcus Bachmman’s “counseling” practice deserving of ridicule? Yes. Yes, it is. And he’s certainly a public figure, so have at it. But the line should be drawn on this side of slander.

    This is the exact opposite of endorsing or excusing his conduct. I merely suggest going after the abhorrent practice rather than engaging in character assassination based on ugly stereotype about homosexuals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  95. Jeff In Ohio says:

    Bullying? If he was gay, it might be bullying, but he’s not, so what is it? I’d call it a bitchslap at a homophobic pig who needs and deserves to be metaphorically dragged through the street for the disgusting person he is. Savage and Stewart don’t profess to be Christians, they have no moral imperative to turn the other cheek nor faux desire to pretend towards magnanimity. This is called bludgeoning your opponent with their own stupidity. Works for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  96. Nick says:

    @James Joyner:

    James:

    You’re right. I should have used ‘defender’ rather than ‘apologist’. Sloppy posting by me. What I meant to say was, of the almost infinite number of injustices perpetrated every day, why did you spend time going after this instance of slander?

    Marcus Bachmann and his ilk perpetuate a worldview that harms a great number of people. Yes, slander is wrong, but Bachmannn is not a sympathetic figure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  97. Nick says:

    @North Dallas Thirty:

    First, the articles you posted have the president and his wife pandering to Christians for votes. There’s not indication that the president as a candidate was promising to conduct policy with an eye towards appeasing supernatural entities to avoid their wrath.

    Second, while I wish appeals to the sentiments of superstitious people weren’t necessary to win elections in this country. Perhaps some day. I don’t see pandering to their superstitions as being some terrible violation of ethics during a campaign (compare, e.g., the Swiftboat campaign or Willie Horton).

    Third, I would be surprised if Obama actually thinks supernatural beings intercede in human affairs in response to human behavior.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  98. Robert in SF says:

    @Paul:
    You stated,

    I’ve seen studies that suggest it is more possible for a person to change their orientation than for an alcoholic to give up alcohol, and yet we would never suggest that is impossible.

    Sexual orientation is a drive, not an action. Being abstinent doesn’t make you not gay. Not drinking doesn’t make you a non-alcoholic.

    Think of it like hunger. You can be hungry for food and not eat. But, not eating doesn’t mean you aren’t still driven to want food. Outward behavior doesn’t establish drives.

    And the degree of drive varies from person to person…some are all the way gay or straight (exclusive, if you will)….others are somewhere in between…and some people are just sexual, the gender isn’t as important as the physical connection. Maybe, just maybe, that was/is you…you expressed your sexual drive younger, matured and settled down. Lord knows, we all know that sexual drive decreases over time. :/ But I might be mixing my messages here.

    If people want to try to change their orientation, then I don’t know of any any good, peer-reviewed, un-biased studies that show that to be possible. Some may be able to repress their drives enough to inhibit their actions and day to day thoughts, but not the drives entirely.
    The studies used to support changing orientation all measure something else, and project a very very small success rate on a very self-selected pool of participants….And the emotional and psychological damage done (granted, this might not be measured well either) overwhelms the benefit of the “change”.

    I think kids and young persons, the main target for these proponents of change, are too emotionally and intellectually vulnerable to really know what they are getting into. So they grasp at straws while everyone around them tells them they are drowning and will surely die a horrible, painful death without that straw….

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  99. anjin-san says:

    I’ve seen studies that suggest it is more possible for a person to change their orientation than for an alcoholic to give up alcohol, and yet we would never suggest that is impossible.

    Then you are wasting your time reading nonsense. I have not had a drink for over 22 years, but I will always be an alcoholic. People can alter their behavior, but not their fundamental nature. A gay person might practice lifelong celibacy, but they will still be gay.

    There is a difference between someone who is gay and someone who explores same gender sex/relationships and ultimately discovers it is not for them. There are also people who are truly bisexual – it sounds like you may be one of them. You are projecting through the lens of your own experience – people are pretty complicated, the next persons experience may well be completely different than yours.

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  100. jukeboxgrad says:

    kylopod:

    Sometimes people spread rumors about a person being part of a group, in order to exploit prejudice against that group.

    But this only works to the extent that there is prejudice against that group. That is, it’s effective only with people who embody that prejudice.

    Calling Mr. Bachmann gay is genuinely defamatory, but only in this specific sense: since he claims (implicitly) to be non-gay, calling him gay is essentially calling him a liar. This is exactly what MarkedMan said: “The slander in these things isn’t that someone is Muslim or gay, the slander is in saying they are lying about it.”

    Same thing with calling Obama a Muslim (because he presents himself as non-Muslim). The ‘gay’ or ‘Muslim’ part are inherently defamatory only from the perspective of people who embody a prejudice against those groups. It’s the ‘liar’ part that is genuinely and universally defamatory. (But it could be legitimate defamation, if it happens to be true.)

    the rumor … or that McCain has a black child, were clearly smears, not because it’s bad … to have a black child, but because the people who created these false rumors were intending to discredit these politicians by playing on voters’ fears of these groups

    This is an interesting example, and it’s different from the others, because it’s a known fact that McCain adopted a person with dark skin. Pointing this out is defamatory only from the perspective of racists. And you’re right that it was pointed out (by the Bush campaign in 2000) for that purpose: to influence racists.

    james:

    Calling someone who finds homosexuality offensive a homosexual, especially with no evidence that he’s homosexual, is of course a slur just as calling Obama a Muslim is a slur.

    The slur is the ‘liar’ part.

    The fact that there’s nothing wrong with being gay or Muslim really doesn’t enter into it; the intent is to smear a reputation.

    It’s important to understand the fundamental difference between the two examples (Bachmann=gay and Obama=Muslim). Both cases embody an accusation of ‘liar.’ But in the former instance, the person making the statement (i.e., Stewart) does not have a problem with ‘gay,’ and likewise for his audience. So ‘liar’ is the entire slur. On the other hand, the people calling Obama ‘Muslim’ are not just saying he’s a liar. They also view the characteristic itself (Muslim) as negative, and they are addressing an audience which shares that view.

    I think this is an important distinction that’s being overlooked.

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  101. Annie says:

    “Gaydar” is real. It has been scientifically proved that people with certain personality traits and physical traits are more often self identified as gay than those without these same personality traits. We, as the readers of “gaydar” don’t always know exactly what we’re responding to. Did you know for example that the gay men tend to have a “hair whorl” (the direction your hair naturally leans on your head) that goes in a different direction from straight men?
    You say:
    “There have been a handful of cases of people who are publicly anti-gay who turn out to be gay, yes. I don’t think it’s reasonable to extrapolate from that, however, and presume that this is particularly widespread”
    And in fact you are mistaken. There is VERY good reason to extrapolate when you add that to the fundamental psychiatric knowledge that people who fear they might be gay (or any other poorly accepted thing) stand strongest against it. And, unless you’ve not really done your research, you can’t say it’s a few cases. There have been a lot.
    What Marcus is doing, before you get all up in Dan Savage’s face and call him a “bully” is using methods that are KNOWN to cause self hatred and increase suicide rates dramatically. When “gay curing” “works” it usually means some poor fag married to some poor woman who can’t understand why her husband won’t touch her. 99% of gay men can, if they get a little drunk and close their eyes and pretend it’s a boy, have sex with a woman. Michele Bachman’s children are NOT evidence that her husband isn’t gay, only that he has had heterosexual sex a few times. Being a Christian is a GREAT cover for a gay man because he can tell his wife, once they decide not to have any more kids, that their sex life is over. He may truly believe in Christ and truly believe that being gay is evil. That’s sad for him, but because he is “doctor” it IS other people’s business. Same for her. She stepped boldly into the public sphere, now what, we all have to handle her with kid gloves? Sorry. She wants to be president? She gets the scrutiny of the masses. I remember people talking about the size of Michelle Obama’s ass during the last race so don’t even ask me to defend Dr. Pray the Gay Away.

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  102. Gorgon3009 says:

    Whether or not it is ever proven, it is my strong opinion that Bachmann’s husband is likely very, very gay. I am entitled to my opinion, and it is the simplest explanation for his lunatic obsessive ideas about homosexuality. There is nothing wrong with being gay, but there is a lot wrong with being a hypocrite and a liar.

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  103. estamm says:

    @Donald Sensing: It is funny, but before I read this comment, I checked some of the hidden comments, and all appeared to be written by those on the left. Thus, they must have all been hide-rated by those on the right. I uprated all of them. So, to say that only the ‘left’ hide-rates comments they don’t like is an outright lie. Interestingly, this is the same type of reaction formation done by Bachmann. Odd that it keeps appearing by those on the right.

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  104. timb says:

    @Nick: About time someone mentioned this study

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  105. mattt says:

    Way late, but… why is it “slander” to suggest someone is gay?

    If James Joyner belonged to a weird cult that holds that blond-haired people are Teh Evil, and being blonde himself dyes his hair dark out of shame….. is it slander to suggest his light roots might be showing?

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