I’d planned to ignore James Taranto and his Best of the Web Today going forward, as his enthusiastic support for torture leaves him unfit to influence my thinking on anything. However, today’s edition is too instructive to withhold commentary. In reporting that Rep. Jim Kolbe knew of Mark Foley’s behavior, Mr. Taranto wrote:
Kolbe is gay, the only GOP House member to have publicly acknowledged homosexuality. And the revelation got us to thinking: We hear a lot about “homophobia,” or fear of homosexuality, but if Foley’s fellow Republicans failed to be alarmed by his “overly friendly” emails, maybe it was because of something more like homo-obliviousness. Most people just don’t think that much about homosexuality.
I know Republicans have a serious case of “homo-obliviousness,” as evidenced by their cries of foul every time the Democrats propose a Constitutional amendment to prevent same-sex marriage. Oh, wait…
When we first read those emails, we found them odd and a bit creepy. But it occurs to us that if a 50-year-old man sent a 16-year-old girl an email asking her to send a picture of herself, that would have set off loud alarm bells and brightly flashing lights. We know how the mind of a heterosexual man works, being in possession of one, and when a guy asks a gal he barely knows for a picture, it means that he has a sexual or romantic interest in her.
It’s quite important to distinguish between the minds straight and gay men, as we all know they’re different. Good grief. I think we all know how the next paragraph will play out.
When a guy asks another guy for a picture, what does it mean? When we stop to think about it, probably the same thing, but it wasn’t obvious to us because it simply isn’t part of our experience. We suspect the same was true of Hastert and other House leaders. Kolbe, on the other hand, because he is gay, probably understood better what Foley was up to and that it wasn’t good.
This is perhaps the dumbest possible defense of Republican leaders in the House. Believing that Rep. Kolbe would be better positioned to understand Mark Foley’s gay mind because he is also gay is offensive. There is no way for Mr. Taranto to wiggle out. Of course, I doubt he cares, as evidenced by this later comment on a story in which Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill refused to dismiss fundraising help from former President Clinton, which she presumably should’ve done because he was also involved in a
lying sex scandal. Parroting Ms. McCaskill’s response with his attempt at humor, Mr. Taranto concludes:
… say what you will about Mark Foley, at least you can trust him with your daughter!
I guess this is supposed to be funny, but I’m not laughing. This scandal is about abuses of power rather than some warped notion that one predator being gay means all gays are predators. That the Republican Party and its apologists don’t understand that speaks volumes.