Foley Scandal Price of Tolerating Gay Republicans?

Accuracy In Media editor Cliff Kincaid believes the Foley scandal is the price Republicans have paid for pretending that gay sickos can actually be real Republicans:

The complex nature of the “dirty trick” against the Republicans over the Mark Foley scandal is beginning to emerge. It doesn’t involve a George Soros-funded group or emails that had been in the possession of the media or shopped around by Democratic operatives. Instead, the GOP has played a trick on itself. The party brought so-called gay Republicans into positions of power in Congress only to realize that the confidential information they held about a secret gay network was political dynamite that could backfire.

At this point in the scandal, the issue is not whether there was such a network, but how big it is. CBS Evening News correspondent Gloria Borger reported the emerging belief that “a group of high-level gay Republican staffers were protecting” Foley. A New York Times story by Mark Leibovich confirmed that gay Republicans have occupied “crucial staff positions” in Congress and “have played decisive roles in passing legislation, running campaigns and advancing careers.”

The mystery man at the center of the scandal, Jeff Trandahl, is supposed to be a “lifelong Republican” who is gay. But Trandahl, who supervised the congressional page program as House clerk and knew about the controversial Foley emails many years ago, has a strange way of showing his Republicanism. A search of Federal Election Commission (FEC) records over the last six years shows no financial contributions to the Republican Party or Republican candidates. Instead, Trandahl in 2000 gave $1,200 to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which gives over 80 percent of its political campaign money to Democrats. Trandahl is so much of a Republican that he joined the board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund, another gay political action committee that commits most of its funds to electing Democrats. Its latest list of “winning candidates” is all Democrats, except for Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee, who admits not voting for President Bush in 2004.

If you are getting the idea that gay Republicans may be closeted Democrats, then you are beginning to understand how the Mark Foley scandal could have been a Democratic Party dirty trick.

In response to the scandal, a representative of the Log Cabin Republicans, a homosexual activist group, has been on cable channels like CNN and MSNBC expressing the fear that the Foley scandal will be used to root out homosexual influence in the Republican Party. But the Log Cabin Republicans are so Republican that its board voted 22-2 against endorsing President Bush in 2004 because of his stand against homosexual marriage.

So if the gay Republicans are not really Republicans, what are they? One veteran observer of this network told AIM that the Foley scandal should make it crystal clear that the gay Republicans are in reality “liberal activists” who want to use the party to advance the same homosexual agenda embraced by the Democrats.

The conspiracy is revealed! And it was so obvious, too!

Who would have thought that gay people who agreed with the Republicans on more issues more often than they agreed with Democrats would nonetheless work on behalf of broadened rights for gay people? And they refuse to endorse a president who is actively working against their interests by pandering to anti-gay prejudice? How dare they?!

Articles like this one by Kinkaid reinforce the view that Republicans are closed minded bigots, making it harder to persuade moderates to vote for the party’s candidates. Come to think of it, maybe AIM is a Democratic Party dirty trick? It would certainly explain a lot.

UPDATE: Max Blumenthal predicts “The Coming Gay Republican Purge” at the Nation‘s website. It would appear that Kinkaid isn’t the only one wearing a hat crafted of pink tinfoil.

Immediately after the Mark Foley scandal broke, some anti-Republican gay-rights activists composed a memo containing the names of closeted gay Republican Congressional staffers and sent it to leading Christian-right advocacy groups. The founder and chairman of one of those groups, the Rev. Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, told me he has received that memo, which he referred to simply as “The List.” Based on The List’s contents, Wildmon is convinced that a secretive gay “clique” boring within the Republican-controlled Congress is responsible for covering up Foley’s sexual predation toward teenage male House pages. Moreover, Wildmon calls on the Republican Party leadership to promptly purge the “subversive” gay staffers.

“They oughtta fire every one of ’em,” Wildmon told me in his trademark Mississippi drawl. “I don’t care if they’re heterosexual or homosexual or whatever they are. If you’ve got that going on, that subverts the will of the people; that subverts the voters. That is subversive activity. There should be no organization among staffers in Washington of that nature, and if they find out that they’re there and they’re a member, they oughtta be dismissed el pronto.”

Wildmon claimed that an investigation by Congressional Republican leaders into the gay menace lurking in their midst will clear House Speaker Dennis Hastert of allegations that he repeatedly ignored warnings about Foley’s behavior. “I think the identification of the members of the homosexual clique is going to come out,” Wildmon declared. “I think it’s going to come out whether or not Hastert knew what he says, and at this point I’m inclined to believe he’s telling the truth. I’m beginning to think that the homosexuals shielded their former Congressman Foley and that Denny Hastert did not know the depth of what’s going on up there.”

John Aravosis, a gay Democrat who admits to being a Democrat–which shows just how clever these people are–thinks the likes of Kinkaid and Wildmon are just jealous:

Because while gay and lesbian Americans have been increasingly welcomed into the fabric of the American family, including the Republican party, the religious right has increasingly exposed itself as a fringe movement of hateful bigots, and nobody likes them anymore.

While the Republicans are unparalleled in their ability to gay-bait, Latino-bait, black-bait, Muslim-bait, France-bait, and woman-bait, few of them really mean it. Most Republicans don’t give a damn about the religious right agenda. In fact, they hate it. I know more than a few Republicans in town, several of them downright conservative, and I can’t find a one who has a good word to say about any of the religious right hate groups or their deluded, hate-filled followers. In fact, they find them kind of nutty and obnoxious.

And, I should note, the vast majority of conservative religious Republicans do, too.

Hilzoy thinks Kinkaid is falling into a trap that has already snared many Democrats:

[Taking] the view that all gays are Democrats, more or less in virtue of being gay. This is a view that I normally associate with Democrats, and I normally try to discourage it, thinking that it must be rough to be someone who is both gay and sympathetic to the Republican party’s other positions, and that any such person presumably knows all about the Republican party’s track record on gay issues, and does not need the rest of us to lecture him or her, or to indulge our stereotypes at his or her expense.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Articles like this one by Kinkaid reinforce the view that Republicans are closed minded bigots, making it harder to persuade moderates from voting for the party’s candidates.

    Hmm. Yeah. Who’s this guy again?

  2. legion says:

    This is a side-effect of the GOP linking their social conservatism with the far-religious-right’s intolerance. They can’t admit gays are any better than third-class people (watch Pat Robertson’s head explode!), barely even human, but realistically the party couldn’t function if they really did “purge” them. It’s a little hypocrisy both gay and straight Repubs have lived with for some time now, and digging into it would be a true no-win situation for the GOP.

  3. Fersboo says:

    Hmmm, there are some more of those blanket comments about ‘religious-right bigots’ etc. I’ve been told for most of my 38 years that the religious-right is racist & homophobic to the point of being violent, but my ‘wing’ of the religious right seems to teach love and understanding and deplores hatred. Yes, we don’t look kindly on homosexuals or adulterers, but the church teaches that through Jesus, sinners will be forgiven if they walk with him. I wonder, have I been blinded to the ‘religious right’s’ hatred all these years? Is there some vast conspiracy within the ‘religious right’ that hides the hatred from its members, only visible to those who hate the ‘religious right’?

  4. hilzoy says:

    Minor quibble: I didn’t mean that “many” Democrats think this; just that many of those who think this are Democrats. (Compare: “many of the people who build scale models of large buildings out of toothpicks in their basements are male.”)

  5. legion says:

    This may just be a difference in using the term… I (And I assume a lot of other leftys) consider the term ‘religious right’ related to (if not synonymous with) ‘extremist’. From your description, I would consider you more of a moderate… I understand many people really do mean it when they say things like ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’, but a lot of others (Robertson, Dobson, Phelps) merely use that language as cover for their bigotry. If you truly practice what you preach, then I apologize for any insult – it wasn’t meant for you.

  6. Steven Plunk says:

    I don’t attend church, I sin with the best of ’em, but I recognize the good that comes from the religious people of this country. I also recognize intolerance and bigotry against those on the religious right. Lumping all voters who oppose gay rights into one group and calling them bigots is bogus.

    The christian religious right of this country oppose gays in the political arena but, as Fersboo pointed out, preaches love and forgiveness in daily life. Hate the sin love the sinner. Opposing gay lifestyle issues before your elected representatives doesn’t make you a bigot.

    The clever moves being made by the Democrats have to do with exploiting this scandal to their benefit when they are as guilty as the Republicans in turning a blind eye to the problems in the page program.

  7. madmatt says:

    For all the screaming about how dems can’t do anything correct that so often comes from the right wing I am flattered that you think we have pulled off a 20+year plan of spying and guile all building up to this moment. Grow up!

    Also to Fersboo, if you don’t want to be lumped in with the homophobic bigots why don’t you try and find some more moderate spokesman for your people…I don’t see any public denouncements from the more moderate right wingers of dobson, perkins etc…so why should we believe you are any better? To paraphrase…Its the hypocrisy stupid!

  8. Anderson says:

    If I can be a Christian skeptic, I suppose I have no room to point fingers at gay Republicans.

  9. Kent G. Budge says:

    I know more than a few Republicans in town, several of them downright conservative, and I can’t find a one who has a good word to say about any of the religious right hate groups or their deluded, hate-filled followers.

    Must not be a town much like mine, if only several of its Republicans are downright conservative. And I wonder what religious right hate groups means; the term is so vague that it could mean genuine extremists who really are despised by the great majority of Republicans, or it could mean the entire Religious Right. In the latter case, it again sounds like a rather different town.

  10. just me says:

    You know anymore the term religious right has become almost meaningless.

    I am a republican. I am conservative. I am religious.

    Does that make me the “religious right?” If not what does it make me?

    I get increasingly uncomfortable with how the “religious right” is accused in various blogs, mostly because I can’t always tell just what the blogger’s definition of religious right is. There are a few bloggers who at times make it clear who they mean, but more often than not they just toss the term out there, and I am still not sure what it means exactly.

  11. Tano says:

    What I find amusing is all the copy given to stories about how the “extremists” in the Democratic Party (kossacks, and all those) are pursuing a self-defeating purifying purge of the party that will have grave long-term consequences. I have never bought that line of argument, since I think they bring into the party an order of magnitude more people than they drive out.

    But it seems to be the Republican base that is the faction that really is pursuing long-term destructive approaches. As in California a decade ago, when they cut themselves off from the rising Latino vote, and today, when they are doing that on a national level, and as they are doing nationally with gay voters. After, of course, having already established a trend of never getting more than 10% of the black vote, and insuring a persistent gender gap.

    The Republicans seem to truly desire to be a pure, minority party. The very notion of a “big tent” – which is crucial to having an enduring majority, seems to be at odds with their fundamental nature. How can you blame any observer from thinking that the party is basically narrow-minded, and likely bigoted, to its core?

  12. legion says:

    Because every once in a while, the GOP finds some minority member, like Michael Steele or Andrew Sullivan, willing to trade their identity for some silver. They get them to rub shoulders with utter bigots like Tom Tancredo or Pat Buchanan. And they fool a tiny fraction of people into thinking that Today’s GOP (and I use that phrase deliberately, to differentiate it from people who actually hold & follow conservative values) really gives a cold sh*t about what happens anywhere outside their own bank accounts.

  13. Steven Plunk says:

    As usual I see someone getting to the point about Republicans being greedy and evil while Democrats love everyone (except Republicans) and care nothing of personal wealth. It’s convenient to paint all Republicans that way but it’s also false.

    I explained to my son the other day one of the differences between liberals and conservatives. A conservative looks at a liberal and thinks them misguided in the policies they promote. A liberal looks at a conservative and thinks they are evil. Of course I further explained that this was not true for all conservatives or liberals but that in the public debate that we are all a part of you can see this on a regular basis.

    As long as these are the terms being used to describe people like myself who support the Republican party I don’t see bi-partisanship as a real possibility.

    I like to think of myself as a real conservative. Sure the Republican party is off track but it is much closer to what I believe than what the Democratic party supports. So, until something better comes along I’ll stick with the devil I know. Get it, devil, evil. Better go make a bank deposit.

  14. Tano says:

    “I explained to my son the other day one of the differences between liberals and conservatives. A conservative looks at a liberal and thinks them misguided in the policies they promote. A liberal looks at a conservative and thinks they are evil.”

    I think that qualifies as child abuse.
    Just about everything one sees in the popular discourse argues for the exact opposite. Read any Coulter lately (or Savage, or Rush, or …..)?

  15. Michael says:

    When individuals resort to name calling, meaningful dialogue stops. When certitude trumps contemplation, mistakes are made.

  16. Steven Plunk says:

    “I think that qualifies as child abuse”

    Explaining to my son what I see happening is child abuse? No, I don’t read Coulter, Savage, or Rush.

    My experience here isn’t just about national issues. Working with my local government on various committees and commissions I have experienced first hand what I speak of. To put it flippantly, if you don’t believe that warm puppies and rainbows will solve everything you are a cold hearted S.O.B..

    By the way, my son is 15 and certainly ready to hear what his fathers political beliefs consist of. He hears others speak about what they believe and he reads political blogs. Less than three years away from voting I think he is mature enough to be a part of the discussion.

    I guess the child abuse accusation proves my point. Abusers are evil, they hurt children, they deserve punishment.

    Why not respond to the statement in more detail rather than assume and accuse?

  17. Kent G. Budge says:

    I think that qualifies as child abuse.

    I think it is dangerous to characterize the teaching of things we disagree with to children as “child abuse.” It sounds like a way to nullify the First Amendment, by trumping the right to free expression with a demand to Think Of The Children ™.

    There are exceptions, of course. I would be comfortable with legal sanctions against folks who teach children how to don and use a suicide belt. But we’re talking about peaceful political disagreement here (however obnoxious you find it.)

  18. floyd says:

    “the religious right has increasingly exposed itself as a fringe movement of hateful bigots, and nobody likes them anymore.”…… NO BIGOTED STEREOTYPING THERE, HUH??