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Senatorial Drama
April 13, 2005 5:08 PM   Subscribe

Another republican, Sen. Paul Koering, comes out of the closet after voting yes for an amendment setting out to legally define marriage in Minnesota. Meanwhile other Minnesotan senators, like Michelle Bachmann (R), are finding one way or another to land themselves in scandal, one of which was getting caught hiding in the bushes behind a rally contesting the anti-marriage amendmant. And yes, here are the pictures to prove it. (Anonymous login available for articles)
posted by taursir (53 comments total)

 
It gets cold in Minnesota, maybe they were just conserving body heat.
posted by jonmc at 5:12 PM on April 13, 2005


Bachmann is the light brown lump in the center.

That's fitting enough to go on a tombstone:

Michelle Bachmann, the Light Brown Lump in the Center
posted by jonp72 at 5:17 PM on April 13, 2005


RawStory has more, and says he came out against their amendment-- As a proud Republican legislator who stood alone against his party to take a stand against what he sees as discrimination, Koering’s support for reporting on “hypocritical” gay politicians—including Republicans—is certain to send a shockwave through the Washington gay community.

I'm proud of Koering.
And the HRC is as worthless as the Log Cabin bunch.
posted by amberglow at 5:18 PM on April 13, 2005


I'll admit to not being that knowledgeable about the Log Cabin Republicans, but how does being gay, aside from gay issues, neccessarily define one's political outlook? The fact that one prefers one's own sex for romantic company shouldn't neccessarily affect how one feels about, say, taxes or defense spending.

Now, I'm neither gay nor republican, but when fighting for equality in rights, the right to disagree should be at the top of the list, no?
posted by jonmc at 5:28 PM on April 13, 2005


What is it with the GOP and buggery? They do it to the nation and now they're learning its fun to do on a one to one basis as well?
posted by fenriq at 5:28 PM on April 13, 2005


jon, when the GOP makes it an election issue, and uses anti-gay sentiment to rile up people, and tries to change the Constitution to permanently relegate us to second-class status, that defines the political outlook. Any gay man who wants lower taxes or higher defense spending has to also buy the anti-gay shit, or they're delusional. The GOP doesn't stand for lower taxes or higher defense spending anymore anyway, unless you count lower taxes for the wealthy, and spending for Hallburton.
posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on April 13, 2005


Fundies scare me as much as anyone, and anti-gay marriage bills disgust me, but come one, the woman was sitting on the curb. Probably having a smoke.
posted by orthogonality at 5:38 PM on April 13, 2005


Meanwhile other Minnesotan senators, like Michelle Bachmann (R), are finding one way or another to land themselves in scandal, one of which was getting caught hiding in the bushes behind a rally contesting the anti-marriage amendmant.

Please. Bachmann said she was just sitting on the curb for a minute, and surely that is a much more plausible interpretation than the suggestion that she was crouching behind the bushes, conspicuously (and stupidly) "hiding" in the plain site of anyone who happened to show up late to the rally.
posted by gd779 at 5:38 PM on April 13, 2005


jon, when the GOP makes it an election issue, and uses anti-gay sentiment to rile up people, and tries to change the Constitution to permanently relegate us to second-class status

Again, amberglow, I said aside from gay issues, that particular conflict is glaring and obvious.

, that defines the political outlook. Any gay man who wants lower taxes or higher defense spending has to also buy the anti-gay shit, or they're delusional

why? what's to stop a theoretical candidate from saying, "I'm pro-gay mairrage, but I'm also pro-tax cuts." Again, I don't agree and think it's a stupid postion, but people have a right to be stupid. And what about wealthy gays? wouldn't a pro-gay mairrage/tax cuts for the wealthy platform just be plain old self-interest? Selfish to be sure, but self-interest in politics is nothing new.

We're on the same page politically, my freind, but it's the idea that people have to march in lock-step on every political issue because of their sexuality that I find a mite discomfiting.
posted by jonmc at 5:42 PM on April 13, 2005


Is there a list of these Closeted/Outed GOP politicians somewhere? Seems like they are really starting to rack up.

I think that Bachmann lady was taking a dump. She was afraid of being accosted in the bathroom and catching The Gay.
posted by tkchrist at 5:53 PM on April 13, 2005


You can't separate a party from what they make the biggest issue of the election, jon, or from what they consider the most pressing problem of this country (i think it was Santorum who said on the Senate floor it was more important than fighting terrorism). Aside from gay issues is meaningless when the election was run on anti-gay issues--it wasn't run on Social Security or lower taxes or any of those things.

No one has to march in lockstep with anything for any reason, but you can't ignore this shit, even if you're a Republican. And i'll continue to shit on them for hurting themselves--and me. Country Club and Rockefeller Republicans are even disgusted with the current GOP shit. Log Cabin people are the new Uncle Toms. Check this out, for just one example of who they're happy to be associated with.
posted by amberglow at 5:55 PM on April 13, 2005


how does being gay, aside from gay issues, neccessarily define one's political outlook?

"aside from gay issues" is pretty much missing the point as far as this issue is concerned, isn't it? I mean, it's a bit like saying "how does being black, aside from Jim Crow laws and lynchings, necessarily define one's political outlook?"
posted by clevershark at 5:59 PM on April 13, 2005


amber, clevershark: I'm not disagreeing when it comes to the current administration. I'm more just spitballing about where a gay guy who's out, proud and gay marriage, but pro-tax cuts, pro-war in Iraq (for whatever reason) should align himself with, theoretically and whether you believe he's within his rights to do so. And I'm fairly sure that such people exist. The fact that someone's gay, dosen't necessarily mean they don't support welfare reform, say. I don't agree with them but hey it's a big world. And I don't deny your or my right to tell them that they're full of shit. I just don't like the idea that sexuality, (or race, or religion) has to define politics. And to be fair it's the right that forced the issue (for cynical political gain) with this anti-gay marraige nonsense.
posted by jonmc at 6:08 PM on April 13, 2005


The hiding in the bushes is hilarious. A senator has a perfect right to watch the opposition protest...so why make yourself look like a moron by hiding in the bushes? Priceless.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:08 PM on April 13, 2005


furious, thats what I thought was hilarious. I mean, even with people carrying signs that says "Go to hell, Michele" she still had bodyguards, and I doubt anyone would have wanted to try anything, lest they draw attention to her. Either way, she still got attention out of this. Heh.

As for her saying she was hiding in the bushes-- according to the friend of mine who took the pictures, she got out of there damn fast when she saw the camera pointed at her.
posted by taursir at 6:14 PM on April 13, 2005


jonmc -- I think that people, whether a private individual, Member of Parliament or Congressman, should cast every vote with their conscience. Of course the world doesn't quite work that way.
posted by clevershark at 6:18 PM on April 13, 2005


Yeah, jonmc, I made that exact same argument about six years ago to some friends who were arguing that another friend of ours had to be psychologically unstable because he was gay and Republican, and two such disparate states could not possibly reside in the same human being without causing such psychic discord as to induce a full-out psychotic state. I, on the other hand, argued that they didn't have the right to determine anyone else's prioritization of issues, and they certainly didn't acquire that right because of someone's sexual orientation.

However, that was in 1999. Ah, the good days, when the earth was green and fragrant. Now, I would have to agree with amberglow and clevershark. The republican party is not really the party of small government and fiscal responsibility anymore. Virtually the entire ideological platform of the party has become anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-feminist, and pro-jingoist. So now, no, I'm not sure that you can legitimately be gay and Republican in this particular climate without there being a pretty significant amout of dissonance.

I don't actually know where people like you described should go. I can understand why people could not be comfortable with the democrats, but lordy, look at the alternative.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:32 PM on April 13, 2005


and everybody's conscience tells them different things, and all of us also vote out of our own self-interest as well, and there isn't neccessarily any thing wrong with that. That's all I'm getting at.

The republican party is not really the party of small government and fiscal responsibility anymore.Virtually the entire ideological platform of the party has become anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-feminist, and pro-jingoist.

agreed. And I think it will eventually be their undoing once they reach a critical mass of people that they've alienated and screwed over. I'm just articualting my overriding belief in every individuals right to make the wrong choices.
posted by jonmc at 6:36 PM on April 13, 2005


It wouldn't suprise me that he was _allowed_ to out himself. In other words, given how he recently voted alone against all Republicans , he was given the choice of committing political sucide or meet the wrath of the Army of Our Superior Morals.

Political suicide because nobody really thinks he's going to be re-elected if he runs with Reps, do anybody ? Maybe closeted Republican...but if he won again that would be admitting there's a number of closet homos among Reps...something worse then an excommunication.

On a tangent: come again why the fuck do we care about consentient adults sexual orientation ? I tought there were more pressing issue like, for instance...weak dollar, Iraq, attack on Social security...you know something that is going to affect _masses_.
posted by elpapacito at 6:40 PM on April 13, 2005


On a tangent: come again why the fuck do we care about consentient adults sexual orientation ?

That's generally the position I take when I'm deling with a homophobe who should know better: "C'mon don't you have more important things to worry about? What do you care?"

It works better than you think. It may not get them to join PFLAG or Pride Marches or anything, but it removes them from the active opposition.
posted by jonmc at 6:44 PM on April 13, 2005


When you say gay, LittleMissCranky, do you mean with reference to culture, or with reference to sexuality? Before everyone goes, "OMG GAY ISNT A CULTURE LOL" I have to say that there is certainly a culture associated with gay men, for example, that is beginning to be detatched from the sexuality. I say this, because no self respecting gay guy I know (whether or not he is actually into guys) would align himself with the republican party. And yes, I do know some very gay straight men.

So with this in mind, I'm sure a number of guys who are just homosexual and not "gay" would have no issue being republican.

Sexuality is so mindbogglingly diverse, but in its mindboggling diversity, it still can't dictate political beliefs. That's a facet of culture, not what your sexual organs may enjoy most.
posted by taursir at 6:44 PM on April 13, 2005


So with this in mind, I'm sure a number of guys who are just homosexual and not "gay" would have no issue being republican.

When we reach that point, taursir, then the battle will for the most part be won. And FWIW, I've known plenty of proudly out gay men who loathe club culture, dance music and fashion and who embrace such "un-gay" things as heavy metal, pro-sports, country music and fast food. I imagine plenty of gay people would be quite happy being related to as just another guy.

To use the sexuality race analogy, I remember an interview with the late Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones where he said:

"When you ask people why they like R&B, you get pretentious answers. They say they find "an authenticity a purity of expression." I like it for the same reason I like listening to church bells. It dosen't express fuck-all to me, but I like the sound."

The same goes for me. I don't listen to say, Marvin Gaye, becauise I think I'm tuning into the black experience. I listen to him because I like the music and because it moves me as a human. If I gain insight about the black experience that's a valuable bonus, but i don't choose cultural experiences out of political duty.

And the same goes for gay culture. When I can relate to a gay person as simply another human, that's where the liberation begins, for both of us.

I remember a classic one-panel comic by a lesbian cartoonist. A lesbian couple is sitting on the couch watching TV. The straight couple across the street is staring at them indignantly. One lesbian turns to the other and says, "You wanna go cut up Barbie dolls or something?"

And that's the crux of it. Gay people are not aliens, magical woodland creatures, stayrs out to steal your children, fashion arbiters, moral props, or hip accessories. they're just people. They're you, folks.
posted by jonmc at 6:58 PM on April 13, 2005


Is there a list of these Closeted/Outed GOP politicians somewhere?

I thought John Aravosis had a list on his site but can not find it. Try blogACTIVE (scroll down, left side) for a partial list.
posted by mlis at 7:01 PM on April 13, 2005


we ARE TOO magical woodland creatures!!! ; >
posted by amberglow at 7:03 PM on April 13, 2005


then go into your tree and make me some cookies, dammit!
posted by jonmc at 7:32 PM on April 13, 2005


no cookies for you--you don't believe. : P
posted by amberglow at 7:33 PM on April 13, 2005


So with this in mind, I'm sure a number of guys who are just homosexual and not "gay" would have no issue being republican.

Of course, it is the latter with which the Republicans have their beef, not the former. Queer Eye is great entertainment; buggery is sin. Furthermore, this is like saying I am sure there are a number of guys who are just African-American and not "black" who would have no issue being members of the KKK. Perhaps now you see their folly?
posted by mek at 7:53 PM on April 13, 2005


ahem, "it is not the latter, but the former." If a Republican loathes "gay" society it is only because it stands as a reminder of the sin they get away with on a daily (weekly?) basis.
posted by mek at 7:56 PM on April 13, 2005


I am sure there are a number of guys who are just African-American and not "black" who would have no issue being members of the KKK.

This is a version of "there's black people and there's niggers" argument (I've heard variations on this applied to whites, gays, jews, italians, hispanics, whatever) that I've gotten from people whenever I've called them on racist statements. It's especially frustrating when it comes from people who've been freindly, even loving towards whatever their personal "other," is.

I had two freinds in high school, Jim who was white, Dave who was black. Both came from wildly dysfunctional, fatherless, working-poor families. Both were extremely likable freindly guys. They knew eachother from kindergarten on, and were thick as theives with eachother, Jim also worked at an oil change place where all the other employees were black guys and I'd see him palling around with them in an utterly unforced fashion. Jim's sister lived with a Jamiacan guy.

Yet, in a casual conversation, Jim would always complai about "the niggers," and call certain neighborhoods "niggertown," And I imagine as an adult, he probably votes for politicians who support policies that would screw over black people. And the craziest thing is, that Dave, who was as thoroughly and proudly black as any man could be, never gave him any crap about it, and never disavowed him as a freind. Jim seems unable to make the connection that the people he refers to as "niggers" are someone else's Dave.

This cognitive dissonance drove me crazy then and it still drives me crazy now. But we've somehow got to figure out where the disconnect is with people, especially people who are in every other way fundamentally decent.

Is it an inability to connect the personal to the political? Deep seated denial? some kind of fear of being overwnelmed? I'm honestly baffled.
posted by jonmc at 8:14 PM on April 13, 2005


WTF, is that blog photo the only evidence that Bachmann was "hiding in the bushes"? From here it looks like she was just sitting on the retaining wall, in full view of and right next to a major road, with her two bodyguards just sorta hangin' out and not making any effort to conceal themselves... sheesh.

[also, for johnmc: Homosexual Robot Cop!]
posted by hattifattener at 8:29 PM on April 13, 2005


Johnmc, I guess it makes sense. I guess the disconnect is that some people are comfortable with things, while others are still overcompensating, and don't realize that ethnicity can be independent from racism and/or classism, or whatever it was that was driving your friends beliefs. Say I'm white, and hate white people? Isn't that just a form of comedy? Maybe your friend just dislikes the culture that he associates with the word. I think that's fair. It's the same way that I mostly identify as gay, and really dislike the whole cher-obsessed fag culture that goes along with queer as folk, or queer eye, and all that crap. Say I have a straight friend is cool with gay people, but also hates the fag-culture. I would be fine with him saying that, but everyone else who is probably unaccustomed to hearing that would freak and go, "OH GOD HOMOPHOBIA".

I guess its the same.

Anyway.

I kind of think mek's argument is mostly on, but just less plausible. To make another analogy, it reads like this to me: "there are some giraffes that live in the desert, but otherwise would be perfectly fine living with the penguins on the south pole". What I believe is that sexuality is independent of social behavior or political beliefs. While social behavior and political beliefs are independent from ethnicity just like sexuality is from beliefs and ethnicity, isn't ethnicity a bit more obvious? Its not like you have to come out to your mom as asian, and expect her to disown you. Wouldn't being black and going to a KKK rally pose a few huge issues, especially when the KKK assume that by being black, you're probably horribly opposed to what they're doing?

And now I'm talking in circles, and dont know where to close my tangents. Wee.
posted by taursir at 9:55 PM on April 13, 2005


isn't ethnicity a bit more obvious?

Certainly. But this may be the only difference. A black person attending a KKK rally does seem caught in a large moral quagmire; their position does not change if we suppose (hypothetically, of course) that ethnicity could be "hidden" like sexuality is.

The homosexual Republican's ability to hide means that they may support an anti-gay agenda which does not inflict actual self-harm; it harms a minority to which they do not admit they belong, and so long as their secret is safe, so are they. The outed Republican, however, is as absurd as the black KKK member - their position is no longer tenable, and so it's great schadenfreude to see where they'll go next.

The question is, how does the closeted Republican justify their position? If they believe wholeheartedly that they will not be outed and thus their actions will not come back to bite THEM, do they need to justify anything? (Think again on the black KKK member - if they were never discovered to be black...) I suppose it depends on how moral an individual they are. I fear they are just truly and extremely selfish.
posted by mek at 10:45 PM on April 13, 2005


Now I see what you mean, and so everything makes sense. For the outed republican, it depends on how much they mind giving up wanting to have their own rights, as you say. They may not identify with the "gay community", and in fact just be gay, and not culturally so.

Also, as a brief side note (I think I read it on MeFi) a white supremacist radio station was shut down when the owner was found out to be part hispanic. So, yes. Now that I remember something like that, I feel your analogy is more possible. ;)
posted by taursir at 11:32 PM on April 13, 2005


Every time I hear one of these stories I think of that skit from the first episode of Chappelle's Show where he played a blind black man that didn't know he was black and became a prominent white supremecist.
posted by The God Complex at 11:47 PM on April 13, 2005


Bachmann was not hiding. She was just sitting.

She's still evil in my book, though -- she consistently uses all the lies and misdirection that the Hateful Right love. She's trying really hard to get discrimination written into the Minnesota constitution, and while she may say that she doesn't hate GLBT folks, her actions speak very loudly.
posted by jiawen at 1:15 AM on April 14, 2005


why, sir jonmc is drunk as a lord!

you might call him "lordmc!" as if he were a rapper, or... the lord of the micks! ALL HAIL LORD MICK! for his pleasing rationality and sobering drunkenness.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:33 AM on April 14, 2005


so why make yourself look like a moron by hiding in the bushes?

Obviously because the stigma of being a smoker is far worse than being a homophobic bigot. This country's all backwards.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:37 AM on April 14, 2005


Lawrence Kansas has had a gay mayor for the past year but, few few people in the city knew. Tuesday night, his last night in the mayor's chair, Mike Rundle, announced that he is gay.
posted by amberglow at 6:02 AM on April 14, 2005


why, sir jonmc is drunk as a lord!

Actually, I had only had about 2 beers when I wrote that, but whatever.
posted by jonmc at 6:56 AM on April 14, 2005


The hiding in the bushes/sitting on the curb bit isn't the only weird piece of news Michelle Bachmann has been involved in lately (one local blog summed it up nicely: it's not really clear if she's really as weird as it seems, but it's certainly cool to have the local paper of record running quotes like "Help!!!! HEEELLLLLLPPPPPP!!!!!").
posted by COBRA! at 7:02 AM on April 14, 2005


orthogonality: Fundies scare me as much as anyone, and anti-gay marriage bills disgust me, but come one, the woman was sitting on the curb. Probably having a smoke.
Um, no, she and the bald dude are both hiding behind and looking over the bushes. Appears she is holding a camera or binocs in one. Arms-crossed dude seems to be saying "Geez, Michelle, what the fuck are you doing?"

Such behavior from Ms. Bachman does not surprise me. She seems to have inherited all of the goofiness and political hate from Minnesota politicians past (Govenor Goofy Perpich, Jesse the Mind, Chuck Lindbergh uber alles, etc).
posted by mooncrow at 7:23 AM on April 14, 2005


She seems to have inherited all of the goofiness and political hate from Minnesota politicians past (Govenor Goofy Perpich, Jesse the Mind, Chuck Lindbergh uber alles, etc).

Jesse the Mind was goofy and had the communications skills of a six-year-old, but the only sort of political hate he espoused was for the local newspapers. He gave a speech last week (or so) where he tore into the idea of a gay marriage ban.
posted by COBRA! at 7:37 AM on April 14, 2005


Hm, Burroughs lived out his last days in Lawrence, KS too. Is there something about that town that the rest of the country doesn't know? =P
posted by idontlikewords at 11:10 AM on April 14, 2005


Or one could argue that the gay republicans are like a person who secretly watches porn, yet supports government restrictions on pornography. I myself am in this camp. I occasionally indulge in controlled substances, yet think that legalization would cause all kinds of problems. Professional gamblers almost to a man will tell you that legalization of gambling in other states would be a disaster. I know it is hard in these politically charged times to believe that behavior isn't inextricably tied to politics, but i think jonmc is right.
posted by vronsky at 1:50 PM on April 14, 2005


The Body was no whackjob when you look at Arlon Lindner(R), who is partly famous for his lack of belief in the existance of the holocaust, and even has had some interesting things to say about buddhism.
posted by taursir at 2:13 PM on April 14, 2005


But neither porn nor gambling is being made illegal and unConstitutional. You can find porn everywhere, and gambling is in almost every single state now too. I think they don't quite compare.

I think you're talking about self-hatred, actually.
posted by amberglow at 2:25 PM on April 14, 2005


Hm, Burroughs lived out his last days in Lawrence, KS too. Is there something about that town that the rest of the country doesn't know? =P
Its getting fairly known in the hiphop scene, which is kind of interesting. Its a pretty cool town, but still, its a college town, so there's not a lot of jobs and stuff outside of the school and its satellite industries.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:45 PM on April 14, 2005


What's wrong with self hatred? It's underrated in my opinion.

And am I mistaken or is it just gay marriage that is outlawed and threatened to be made unconstitutional? Because I can certainly have all the gay sex I want, pretty much any time I want.

And by your reasoning, shouldn't all those hollywood bigwigs be republicans? They are white, male, billionaires in charge of huge moneymaking corporations. Why would they vote for higher taxes. It is against their self interest isn't it?
posted by vronsky at 2:52 PM on April 14, 2005


What's wrong with self hatred? It's underrated in my opinion.

Sure, it's great if you're Woody Allen and it's the 70s. But it's not much of a foundation upon which to govern.
posted by COBRA! at 2:56 PM on April 14, 2005


Nor is it helpful to those of us who would actually like equality. Why should all of us be penalized because you don't like something about yourself?
posted by amberglow at 3:02 PM on April 14, 2005


Both are good points. And the Woody Allen line cracked me up.

Maybe I'm wrong.
posted by vronsky at 3:14 PM on April 14, 2005


but i think jonmc is right.

How could I be right? I wasn't arguing anything, just asking questions.
posted by jonmc at 5:55 PM on April 14, 2005


The right questions!
posted by mek at 2:34 AM on April 15, 2005


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