Friday, December 16, 2011
If these are the last weeks of Rick Perry's ridiculous presidential campaign, his desperation is turning him into a nasty clown indeed. By publicly attacking the gays and lesbians who have chosen to serve their country in uniform, the Texas governor seems to have gained ground in Iowa. But at what cost did he win a few points that still leave him well below the top tier? His pollster and consultant Tony Fabrizio has been "outed," rightly or wrongly -- and worse still, the swinging closet door of the Republican Party has been flung open again. Who else will be found inside?
From the days of the Cold War, when reigning mischief-maker Roy Cohn was bedding boys and denouncing gays as "sissies," through the hidden homosexual history that leads from Marvin Liebman, co-founder of the National Review to Arthur Finkelstein, the ad man behind the '80s conservative revival, to the defection of former "hit man" David Brock, to Ken Mehlman, the Bush-era party chairman who didn't dare (until recently) to speak of his own true nature, and even Karl Rove, who ran gay-baiting campaigns despite his own father's orientation, Republicans have repeatedly watched their own intellectual and political leaders embarrassed by what emerges from that capacious closet.
In Fabrizio's case, he was pushed out by GOProud, an organization of right-leaning gays, when its leader, Jimmy DeSalvia, complained on a message board about the latest Perry ad, which says there's "something wrong" in America when gays can serve "openly" in the military but children cannot pray in public schools.
"I've just about had it with faggots who line their pockets with checks from anti-gay homophobes while throwing the rest of us under the bus," wrote DeSalvia on a public message board, specifying as follows: "I'm talking about Rick Perry's pollster/strategist." Although DeSalvia was quickly denounced for "outing" by his own board of directors, the damage had been done. A longtime friend of Fabrizio, speaking on background to The National Memo, said he was unaware of the consultant's alleged proclivities: "Tony has been a friend of mine for 30-plus years. I know he worked for the pro-marriage equality side in Florida when a constitutional amendment was on the ballot," said the friend. "I find it surprising, but as a libertarian, I don't care what he does in his free time."
Fair enough, although the straight supporters of GOProud, including Ann Coulter, never seem to have much to say when a politician like Perry openly attacks gays and lesbians to court evangelical voters. That is the reason that the Republican closet door keeps swinging open, with ugly and sometimes chaotic consequences. The "secrets" aren't really secret -- and every time a Republican politician attempts to use bigotry for political gain, the risk of outing is always there.
COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM
See Other Political Commentary.
See Other Commentary by Joe Conason.
Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports. Comments about this content should be directed to the author or syndicate.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.