• Gay BlogAds

  • Gay News Watch

  • Chris Tweets

  • « HRC and reverse gay-baiting | Main | Long-distance dedication »

    October 13, 2006

    Will they ask 'the question'?

    Posted by: Chris

    The House Ethics Committee heard five hours of testimony yesterday from Kirk Fordham, the gay former chief of staff for Mark Foley who claims he alerted House Speaker Dennis Hastert's chief of staff three years ago of Foley's "page problem."  As the committee gears up its investigation, the Washington Post is reporting that the early focus will be on three Hastert aides: Scott Palmer, the speaker's staff chief; Mike Stokke, his deputy chief, and Ted Van Der Meid, his chief counsel.

    Fordhamkirk Fordham claims he went to Palmer in 2003 about Foley's inappropriate contacts with pages after being called by chief House clerk Jeff Trandahl about a late-night drunken visit by the Florida Republican outside the page dorm, trying to get in.  Trandahl, who is gay, told Fordham, who is also gay, that he needed to rein the congressman in — a conversation the two aides apparently had more than a few times over the years.  According to the Post, Fordham expressed doubt that a warning from him would do anything at this point, so the two decided to raise the issue with Palmer.

    As I've mentioned before, the word on the Hill is that Palmer is also gay, so bringing the issue to him was still keeping the Foley issue within the so-called "velvet mafia" of gay Republicans on the Hill. The Post describes Hastert, Palmer and Stokke, who all live together in a D.C. townhouse, as "unusually close." The profile makes no mention of wives or families for any of the three Hastert aides.

    Will the committee ask whether Palmer, Stokke or Van Der Meid is gay? I've also heard that Van Der Meid is, but the rumor mill is at full tilt right now in D.C.

    A combination of factors may result in "the question" never being asked by anyone, much less answered. First and foremost, political correctness dictates the question can't be asked. To Democrats, asking is the equivalent of a McCarthy witchhunt, even though the facts in this case make sexual orientation squarely relevant. Also, more cynically, Democrats want this issue to stick to Hastert and GOP members of Congress, not a coterie of semi-closeted staffers. Gay activist and blogger John Aravosis, who made headlines a few years ago as one of two "outing activists," is shying away from the question this time for the same nakedly partisan reasons.

    For Republicans, asking the question violates their own, slightly offensive form of political correctness: They embrace "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because what you do in your bedroom is your business, as if being gay is any more or less about sex than being straight. And as deep a pile of muck as the Foley scandal has created for Republicans, they gain little by blaming a "thin pink line" of gay GOP staffers. They're still Republican staffers, and the party's anti-gay base of evangelical conservatives would likely be further turned off, keeping them home for Election Day.

    That leaves the media to ask "the question," since the House committee is full of partisan politicians and the FBI is focused on the law, not the full truth, which aren't necessarily the same. Will the media — straight or gay — ask "the question"? Have they finally learned that asking the question isn't "outing" anyone? It's doing a journalist job. I'm not holding my breath.



    TrackBack URL for this entry:


    The comments to this entry are closed.

    © Citizen Crain - All Rights Reserved | Design by E.Webscapes Design Studio | Powered by: TypePad