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    August 27, 2008

    Manhunt-McCain witchhunt (IV)

    Posted by: Chris

    I enjoyed Jamie Kirchick's great op-ed today in the Los Angeles Times about the brouhaha over the donation to John McCain from Manhunt co-founder Jonathan Crutchley -- and not just because his view mirrors my own on the subject.

    There are differences in nuance, for example in the way Jamie describes the "liberal intolerance" that motivated the Manhunt boycott:

    In the minds of too many on the left, gay people (like women and ethnic minorities) have to be liberal and support Democratic candidates. To do otherwise -- that is, to have opinions on issues (even issues utterly unrelated to gay rights) that don't follow the left-wing line -- is to be a traitor to the gay "community."

    That's undoubtedly true of some on the politically correct gay left, but many intolerant gay liberals really don't care so much about how gay Republicans feel about "issues utterly unrelated to gay rights," except to assume unfairly that their motivation is probably selfish (i.e., lower taxes) rather than not (i.e., national security, foreign policy, etc.).

    The real source of their trouble is their singular focus on gay civil rights as an issue that ought to trump every other, so much so that they bear real feelings of betrayal and outright hatred for any one of "our own" who support politicians or even political parties on the other side of that issue. (No doubt that singular focus is easier when they just so happen to agree with Democrats on most every other issue.)

    I understand and sympathize with their fervent commitment on equality for gays.  I quit the Republican Party years ago in part because of the willingness of GOP leaders to pander and placate and empower gay rights foes and outright anti-gay bigots.

    The problem with the witch hunt at Manhunt, to slightly restate Jamie's point, is too many on the gay left who believe that because of how the parties stand on gay rights, to be gay and Republican is a betrayal not to be tolerated, especially if you support individual politicians like McCain who have a rotten gay rights record.

    For those who can't get enough of this issue, check out my gay press column last week on the topic. Parts will be familiar to regular blog readers but I think it's a fun read. The column also follows after the jump.

    A witch hunt at Manhunt

    Political correctness and not effectiveness
    is behind the call to boycott a gay sex site
    because its co-founder is a Republican.


    They say politics makes for strange bedfellows, and that’s certainly true of the $2,300 contribution by a co-founder of Manhunt, the gay hookup site, to the campaign of Republican John McCain. Unfortunately, the boycott demands that came in response only prove once again that despite all our talk about prizing diversity, gay bedfellows make for strangers to tolerance – at least of the ideological variety.

    A lot of eyebrows got raised when word got out that Jonathan Crutchley, one of two original investors behind Manhunt.net, had donated the maximum allowed by law to a presidential candidate with a rotten gay rights record. The site, which boasts a staggering 1 million members who generate $30 million a year in revenue, dwarfs Gay.com and other web holdings of the struggling PlanetOut. With the motto “Get on, Get off,” it’s also an unlikely cauldron for conservative politics.

    News of Crutchley’s contribution to McCain could have been an opportunity for real discussion about why some gay folk prioritize other issues like national security – which Crutchley cited in his own defense – over "the gay agenda," as he put it somewhat dismissively.

    Of course that's not what happened. The blogs howled with angry calls for horny gay boys everywhere to cancel their Manhunt accounts in protest. The righteous outrage all but ignored that Online Buddies, Inc., which operates Manhunt, had nothing to do with the donation from Crutchley, who chaired the company’s board of directors. What’s more, co-founder and CEO Larry Basile is a long-time supporter of Democrats and gay rights groups.

    If the angry boycotters really cared about takes the White House in November, boycotting Manhunt is about the least effective way to do something about it. It doesn’t help Barack Obama or the Democratic Party or gay rights groups. 

    Then again, the boycott threats were much more about political correctness than effectiveness. The ideological purists are always bloodthirsty for gay man and lesbians who give aid and comfort to Republicans. Once they feel quenched by the universal denouncement of Crutchley and his ilk, they can then savor that "special" sense of superiority. Imagine Dana Carvey doing his “Church Lady” dance if you need a visual.

    Judged by those standards, the witch hunt at Manhunt was a huge success, partially because Online Buddies was uniquely vulnerable to ideological attack, headquartered as it is in Cambridge, Mass., which practically gave birth to political correctness some two decades ago.

    I saw it firsthand, arriving at Harvard Law School primed to complete my transition from the Bible-thumping conservative of my youth to open-minded progressive. But I was so repelled by the intolerance from the left that poisoned the environment there, I had moved back to the right by graduation.

    I don’t know what qualifications are required to serve on the board of Manhunt, but the directors there, along with CEO Bastile the self-professed liberal, clearly graduated from the same school of thought. They reacted with “disbelief” to Crutchley’s donation and asked for his resignation, even though they’d known all along about his moderate Republican politics.

    It is especially ironic and even hypocritical for a company that profits off providing hundreds of thousands an anonymous way to get laid to be so judgmental of anyone’s personal beliefs and political contributions. After all, Manhunt isn’t about same-sex marriage as much as the right to privacy – though clearly not the ideological variety.

    Like most ideological witch hunts, this one sits on a slope so slippery no lube is required. Hundreds of gay-owned or gay-focused businesses have been launched or managed by homos with conservative tendencies. The owners and executives at these small business no doubt are overrepresented among the quarter of gay voters estimated to have backed George W. Bush’s re-election.

    So why aren’t we ferreting out their contributions so we can target their livelihoods? While we’re at it, what about gays with the temerity to be Catholics? The Vatican has had a far more pernicious impact on gay lives than Republicans ever could.

    For that matter, why should GLBT citizens from friendlier places like Western Europe and Canada continue to patronize gay businesses from the U.S.A.? Just think of the tax dollars going to benefit a government that happily expels gays from the military and refuses any form of relationship recognition or basic civil rights protection.

    Then again, this sort of demand for ideological purity is always situational because the intolerance that motivates those who hunt the witches gives no weight to things like intellectual consistency.

    To be sure, there are times when it makes good sense to boycott a business based on personal politics, especially when the target owns a large share of the company and uses his wealth to directly harm gay interests – giving to groups and causes that are specifically anti-gay.

    Like most gays who donate or vote for John McCain, the man behind Manhunt supports gay rights, even if he gives our equality a lower priority than you or I would want. Almost all the gays who’ve stuck with the GOP have done so based on libertarian or conservative views about taxes, fiscal policy or national security – perfectly valid and important issues.

    Gay Republicans will are less likely to listen to those voices that challenge their views in a respectful way if we are drowned out by the those who gleefully judge them as greedy, self-loathing hypocrites. The mean-spirited display of intolerance also reinforces a disgust for movement politics that is responsible for apathy among others.

    As wrong as we may think it is for the Crutchleys among us to help elect John McCain, we should be even more troubled by the arrogant intolerance that says they have no place in a community that flies rainbow flags to show pride in its diversity.

    Chris Crain is former editor of the Washington Blade and five other gay publications and now edits GayNewsWatch.com. He can be reached via his blog at www.citizencrain.com



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    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 28, 2008 1:00:32 AM:

      (rolls eyes)

      Yes, Chris, it's all about their "fervent commitment on equality for gays".

      Or, put differently, the owner of an apolitical private website was nationally humiliated and run out of his business for making a donation to the "wrong" candidate, but the executive board members and leaders of the DNC and HRC can make thousands of dollars in donations to the "right" candidate without a whimper from these "fervently-committed" gays -- even when said "right" candidate flatly and openly supports the FMA.

      Donald Hitchcock's case was a loud and clear message to gays from the DNC: "We own you. You will do what we say when we say it and give us your money when we demand it; if you dare to even criticize us, you will be punished, lose our support, and be subjected to the hatred of your fellow gay and lesbian people whom we control."

      As a result, liberal gays and lesbians have developed the irrational hatreds and bizarre issues that you correctly note, just as a battered spouse will go to immense lengths to blame other people for his or her mistreatment rather than the batterer.

      Call it what it is. It's not "fervent commitment for equality"; it's rationalizing why people who aren't your friends unless you pay them and do exactly what they say aren't really your friends in the first place. The anger is nothing more than that of an immature teenager who screams at their parents who, being older and wiser, recognize this sort of dysfunctional relationship.

    1. Doug on Aug 28, 2008 1:22:09 AM:

      As I've said many times. You can be a gay conservative but you cannot be a gay Republican. Being a gay Republican is like being a Jewish Nazi.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 28, 2008 2:56:36 AM:

      Really, Doug, the only thing you're doing is humiliating Chris and making his words look more empty and hypocritical.

    1. Joseph B on Aug 28, 2008 5:47:43 AM:

      One minute, I am ready to pound the keyboard with my liberal disgust and the next minute, I am ready to pound the keyboard with my conservative disgust and the next minute, the conservative liberal in me agreees. One, I think it may be a little narrow sighted to assume the anger gay men felt about the donation to McCain had to do with leftist gay political issues alone. But in fairness, 90% of African Americans are favoring Barak Obama, but, that didn't happen until the Clintons were made out to be racist. Michelle Obama was asked early in the campaign if she was concerned that her husband was only getting 40% of the African American vote? She laughed and said no, they will come around. No one is criticizing the African American Community for their blind vote and trust and no one is calling out the Obamas for their campaigns hands off approach to the smear campaign. People believe in and vote for what it is that affects their lives. What will bring them up emotionally, personally, financially and create safety for themselves, their friends, families and for many, a better place for the next generation? It was the gay community in a position to make a statement regarding the contribution to McCains campaign. But beyond the obvious gay issues such as the Republican Platform wants a constitutional ban on Gay Marriage and they have completely removed HIV and AIDS from their platform. OK, true, they are proposing these things, and may not yet be finalized. There is the constitutional ban on Abortion they are asking for in the platform. As far as National Security and Foreign Relations go, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Russia, Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, China, Afghanistan, Tibet, Darfur. Not exactly things you would put on a resume as successful Foreign policy. The US is experiencing its worst global reputation. Something like 20 cent on every dollar spent goes to pay interest on debt to China. The largest National Debt ever, approaching 9.7 trillion dollars. A trade deficit that has existed since 1975. A deficit can be good, it means a strong dollar, but you must regain a surplus, or you end up with unemployment skyrocketing and an American Dollar worth little. No road map for energy independence. It is just not a year to throw out the argument that Gay democrats are only thinking gay issues. But one can argue as well that this is not McCains' platform. He is not that far right. He actually differs little from the true winner of the Democratic Primaries, Hillary Clinton. If you want to meet in the middle, you need champions on both sides. So, Crutchley leans right and chooses to put his money where he thinks it will achieve the greater good. That's his choice. It is also the choice of those who have made him wealthy, to stop padding his pockets and take a stand. That's what this country is about. I agree though, for Manhunt to throw Crutchley under the bus sends the wrong message. Is it legal to 'fire' someone over their political beliefs? I think Manhunt would have fared much better in the long run to say, we understand your anger, as a board we disagree with his decision to support McCain, but it is his right to do so and we stand behind him in exercising that right. When your bringing in over 30 million dollars a year, get some f'ing balls, lose a few dollars and do what is right. Here is a great chance, if you feel so strongly about it, to throw back in the faces of those gay men who only think gay issues, that there is life outside of their world and we are going to continue our right to live in it. And guess what, we also respect your right to live in your World. Working together, maybe we can live peacefully as neighbors,and maybe your neighbors will join in and our neighbors will join in and you know where I am going .... The gay community, I think, is the most difficult of all minorities. Some argue you cant hide that your black, or a woman, or Asian, but that is the problem. So many are forced to be something they are not and wake up at different points in their lives realizing they don't know who they are. Psychologically, the age in which one realizes that makes a huge difference on how they deal with it. So I understand the 90% African American support for Obama and I understand the large support of LGBT Americans for Democrats. And although I may not agree, I can understand those who have had different lives than the majority and therefore, until they experience what it is the majority has, there cause will not always be the same. My person frustration, are all these people who are 'walking' the party line. Supporting and voting for candidates they do not feel are ready or capable for the office they are holding, in order to get a certain party elected. Our Pelosi led Congress is the perfect example of what you get. The voters spoke up and we end up with a Congress with the worst job approval rating in history and not a single voter issue resolved. An administration that is considered corrupt by some of the strongest Republicans. Our congress members, who take an oath to uphold the constitution, which clearly defines impeachment, look the other way for fear of how they may look. If our Congressmen men and woman fail to uphold that oath, they are also to be impeached. But, in a 2 party system, you got my back and I got yours. I hope that finally, after 3 consecutive fraudulent elections (at least obvious ones) that people realize it is ok and prudent to look at other party candidates. It is also time to bring back the Whig party (my gay side cant help but giggle with the thought of all the men in wigs at the convention). They supported Congress over the Executive Branch and favored a program of modernization and economic protectionism. A party with a name that was recognized as people who saw themselves as opposing autocratic rule. A party consisting of Henry Clay, considered "The Great Compromiser" and "The Great Pacifier" and Abraham Lincoln, I don't need to describe his qualities. OK, I have gone off on so many tangents, I will stop before I end up debating Britney and Madonna.

    1. John on Aug 28, 2008 11:45:50 AM:

      Thank you, Chris. Excellent post. I might add that Doug's comment is a good example of precisely what you wrote about. Intolerance isn't just something found on the right (especially the far Religious Right). I read comments like this and find folks like Doug to be just a bigoted and dangerous to the body politic as James Dobson et al.

      Frankly, Doug, I could care less what you think of gay conservatives or gay Republicans. TFB if we irk you. Give us another Truman or even JFK and perhaps you'll find more support for the party your side has prostituted itself to.

    1. Chris on Aug 28, 2008 11:45:57 AM:

      Doug: NDT's usual ravings aside, your comment only proves my point. The fact that you feel you can simply assert something so outrageous as an obvious point not requiring explanation -- well that only proves my point further.

      NDT: There is a reason that no one who enjoys music will sit and listen to a broken record. It's just boring. I don't need your near-daily reminders that John Kerry backed state-level constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. I was among his loudest gay critics for doing so. (Name another who was louder?) There was still a chasm of difference between Kerry and Bush on gay rights issues. My editorial endorsing Kerry over Bush pays the issue you raise its due without losing the big picture, as you always do.

      Try advancing your argument a notch or three, NDT, so that those of us who might enjoy your music don't completely tune you out.

    1. Hawyer on Aug 28, 2008 11:47:08 AM:

      Joseph B on Aug 28, 2008 5:47:43 AM:

      I'm sure you had something germane to say, BUT!

    1. Hawyer on Aug 28, 2008 12:15:18 PM:


      I recall the selfsame argument several years ago when Dr. Laura was launching the TV version of her culture-mongering screed - which famously failed.

      At issue was her renowned pronouncement that gays were a "faux pas of nature" - and consequently, could - and should - be dismissed when doling out civil liberties or legal protections. Exactly what she would have us to do, remained altogether unexplained.

      Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe SoVo supported a boycott of WAGA-TV (local Atlanta affiliate who had signed-on to air her show). That was back in the mid-90s - can't remember your exact tenure with SoVo.

      There was also a great hue and cry from the right, that Dr. Laura's protection of free speech was being breached by the orthodox left - and lot's of spurious mudslinging from both camps.

      Then - as with Mr. Crutchley - I was compelled to come down with a rather libertarian analysis:

      1. Failure to launch (or sustain) a for-profit business in the open market - for whatever reason - is the province of capitalism. As the unattributed anecdote states: "I love business: there are no rules, and you keep score with money."

      2. The First Amendment to the Constitution does not address inter-civilian behavior. It only requires the government to stand down in the milieu of public discourse.

      Accordingly, both Dr. Laura's and Mr. Crutchley's businesses are fair game for both detractors and supporters. You keep score with money.


    1. MARTY on Aug 28, 2008 12:33:59 PM:

      Doug, that "Jewish Nazi" tripe is just absolutely vile. I cannot find words to express how repulsive anyone who uses such a phrase is, no matter what else they may believe.

    1. Joseph B on Aug 28, 2008 1:33:23 PM:

      Some post have a colloquial style. Some are just anserine. I personally lose interest in the latter.

    1. ted on Aug 28, 2008 7:04:04 PM:


      There is a huge difference between arrogant opposition and arrogant intolerance. The people who called for a boycott were not simply being "intolerant" of Republicans, they were working to oppose a man who was using his profits from a gay sex site to support a man who will only work to harm gay people. Refusing to patronize a Republican-owned business is not intolerance, it's a conscious decision to prevent your money from being used, however tangentially, to further the Republican agenda.

      Nevertheless, there is some issue of tolerance here -- about whether anyone should tolerate Republicans. And I do not have any interest in tolerating them. Why should anyone be tolerant of someone whose ideological positions are antithetical to everything that I believe? Do I have say, "Oh, it's perfectly okay that you're giving good money to a party who refuses to allow gay people to be equal -- because I'm tolerant"? Why? How does that help anyone? How is that anything more than apathy?

      I don't expect the anti-gays to tolerate me. I expect that I need to change their minds. And if I can't, I expect to have to beat them at the polls and in the media.

      "Political correctness" and "intolerance" are canards here; they are buzz words used by the right whenever they face organized opposition to their views about cultural issues. It's basically the same thing as "Stop calling me names! Wah!" If you cannot justify your actions beyond saying "be tolerant" or "stop being so politically correct" than maybe you should rethink those actions and the politics that led to them.

    1. Geo on Aug 29, 2008 1:39:25 AM:

      I just learned of this issue today and quickly removed my profile from Manhunt.

      Unfortunately it's the Republican party and not the gay community that has made being a gay Republican a hypocritical situation. The party actively discriminates against the Log Cabin Club and is the party of choice for the right wing groups who believe gay people do not deserve equal rights.

      Mr. Crutchley's money was and is still earned from gay dollars. It's absolutely appropriate to boycott Manhunt when that money is going to the leader of the party who will not openly acknowledge and appreciate the good gay people who want to help them achieve their policies. It really is very simple The Republican's hate gays. If your a gay man with any self esteem boycotting Manhunt makes perfect sense.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 1:59:41 AM:

      Do I have say, "Oh, it's perfectly okay that you're giving good money to a party who refuses to allow gay people to be equal -- because I'm tolerant"?

      Why not?

      After all, as I noted above, gay Democrats seemingly have no problem with state marriage bans, Federal constitutional amendments, workplace discrimination, and pandering to religious leaders -- all of which is supposedly anti-equality if Republicans do it.

      In short, the problem isn't with what Republicans do, given that you're more than willing to give Democrats who do the same things your support, endorsement, and money. You're merely trying to claim that blind partisanship and adherence to the Democrat Party is somehow mandated by your sexual orientation.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 2:30:47 AM:

      Unfortunately it's the Republican party and not the gay community that has made being a gay Republican a hypocritical situation.


      Since, as I noted above, gay and lesbian Democrats give millions of dollars and endorsements to Democrat Party candidates who do exactly the same things they accuse Republicans of doing, it is the gay community that is being hypocritical.

    1. Allan on Aug 29, 2008 3:16:19 AM:

      WD40, in case you were too busy re-fighting the battle of 2004 to notice, our host Chris in his comment above already pointed out that your unhealthy obsession with John Kerry causes you to alienate those who might otherwise subscribe to your warped view of the universe, and earn the mockery of the sane contributors to this site.

      Or is it that the election of 2008 reminds you so much of 2004 because, once again, we have an out-of-touch elitist candidate who got rich by trading up for a better wife and has flip-flopped on virtually every issue?

    1. Hawyer on Aug 29, 2008 11:01:22 AM:

      ted on Aug 28, 2008 7:04:04 PM:

      Refusing to patronize a Republican-owned business is not intolerance, it's a conscious decision to prevent your money from being used, however tangentially, to further the Republican agenda.


    1. Hawyer on Aug 29, 2008 11:03:10 AM:

      Allan on Aug 29, 2008 3:16:19 AM:

      Or is it that the election of 2008 reminds you so much of 2004 because, once again, we have an out-of-touch elitist candidate who got rich by trading up for a better wife and has flip-flopped on virtually every issue?


    1. Jerry on Aug 29, 2008 12:23:47 PM:

      This is NOT about policital correctness. It is about the hypocrisy of someone who makes money from the gay community via a gay website supporting an anti-gay political candidate. If McCain were in favor of gay equal rights, then I would have NO problem with a Manhunt co-founder supporting McCain. I am very liberal, yet I support the Log Cabin Republicans so long as they don't endorse anti-gay Republican candidates. I also oppose anti-gay Democratic politicans like Sam Nunn.

      But when someone who makes their living from a by-definition gay website gives donations to a by-definition anti-gay candidate, I have a BIG problem with that.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 12:24:33 PM:

      Ah, but if you'll notice, Allan, the example of John Kerry was merely one of several involving a demonstration of how gay Democrats acted wholly inconsistently.

      For instance, gay Democrats like yourself are screaming over donations to McCain and demanding that all gays punish Manhunt by canceling their profiles, but seemingly have nothing to say about HRC's executive leadership giving thousands of dollars to FMA supporters.

      Or, as another example, gay Democrats like yourself whine and scream about ENDA and how "necessary" it is, but are seemingly close-lipped in the example of Donald Hitchcock, who was fired from his job for his partner daring to criticize his employer's antigay behavior -- especially sickening given that his employer was the DNC.

      Meanwhile, the finest example is how gay and lesbian Democrats like Hawyer scream about supposedly-antigay "theocrats" like Rick Warren and TD Jakes -- while running like hell from the fact that Obama endorses and supports them.

      The election of 2008 does remind me of 2004; however, it's because, once again, gay and lesbian Democrats are making excuses and spinning for why they support a candidate whose actions they denounce as "homophobic" if anyone else practices them.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 12:29:26 PM:

      But when someone who makes their living from a by-definition gay website gives donations to a by-definition anti-gay candidate, I have a BIG problem with that.

      But, as we see, the gay commmunity has no problem with executives and leaders of organizations that specifically label themselves as LGBT giving donations, support, and endorsement to candidates whose stances they denounce in others as "antigay".

      But of course, I forget; supporting the FMA, state constitutional amendments, workplace discrimination, and endorsing people who gays scream are "antigay theocrats" is not antigay if you're a Democrat.

    1. Gay Observer on Aug 30, 2008 3:04:45 PM:

      The only thing that old sleazeball owner of Manhunt cares about is his money. A whole fucking lot of it. Another "values republican"! You must be kidding.

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