Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Media voyeurism remains the order of the day
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Never mind the hand-wringing. The simple truth is that everybody loves a
good sex scandal. The more exalted the poor bozos caught in the klieg
lights with their knickers around their ankles, the better we like it.
The seamier the details, the more preposterous the alibis and
rationalizations, the happier it makes us smug voyeurs out in TV land
who do our own furtive coupling in the dark. That was the great value of
the Clinton/Lewinsky episode to the Republicans, until they got nasty
and spoiled the fun. Generally, however, the more sanctimonious the
sinner, the bigger the laughs. Some enterprising bookie in Las Vegas
ought to open a betting pool on which “family values” Republican will be
next to atone for Kenneth Starr’s sins. With any justice, it’ll be one
of Sen. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig’s GOP colleagues, who elbowed each
other aside like roller-derby contestants racing to the TV cameras to
urge the poor dope’s resignation, John McCain of Arizona, Mitch
McConnell of Kentucky or Trent Lott of Mississippi. So long, Wide
Stance. Don’t let the stall door hit you in the butt.

Mitt Romney would be another fine candidate for public humiliation.
Here’s a guy who’s changed his mind on every imaginable “family values”
issue, from abortion and gay marriage to cross-dressing Barbie and Ken
dolls. OK, I made that up, but you know it could happen. Before he’s
done, I expect Romney to claim he was governor of Utah rather than
Massachusetts. But he’s foursquare against his Idaho campaign director
getting arrested in a sex sting in a men’s room in the Minneapolis
airport and he doesn’t care who knows it. That’s leadership.

By contrast, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana reportedly got a standing
ovation from his Republican colleagues after being forced to admit that
he’d called an escort service that federal prosecutors allege was a
prostitution ring.

Today’s GOP is all about what I call “heterosexual panic.” About half
the abusive e-mails and 100 percent of the anonymous calls this column
generates deal in sexual insult.

Remember when President Bush swaggered across the flight deck of the USS
Lincoln on Mission Accomplished Day in 2003? If it wasn’t embarrassing
enough hearing conservative pundits swooning over a 57-year-old
politician in a Village People costume, some actually marveled at how
well Capt. Codpiece filled his flight suit.

It gets worse. In his book, “The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars and
the Politics of Anxious Masculinity,” Stephen J. Ducat reports that he
bought one of those “George W. Bush Top Gun Action Figures” for the
cover art. Guess what. “The studly twelve-inch flyboy,” he writes, “not
only comes with a helmet and visor, goggles and oxygen mask, but
underneath his flight suit is a full ‘basket’ —a genuine fake penis,
apparently constructed with lifelike silicone.”

Top that, Barney Frank.

Broadly speaking, the more authoritarian a political movement, the
greater its sexual puritanism. During the Monica Lewinsky affair, I
happened to be teaching a course on George Orwell. “1984” became a
different book, less about “War is Peace” and the “Two Minutes Hate”
than about a middle-aged man who had a fling with a young thing at the
office that destroyed them both. A very deliberate writer, Orwell knew
nothing would horrify English readers more than Big Brother peering into
their bedrooms.

Today, we take media voyeurism for granted. The celebrity cult exalts
figures like Paris Hilton partly for the joy of tearing them down. In
that spirit, do let’s recall Sen. Wide Stance’s televised condemnation
of Bill Clinton as a “nasty boy, a naughty boy” whom godly Idaho
citizens wanted impeached before consigning him to the Republican Hall
of Infamy. And let’s not forget Wendy Vitter, who famously boasted that,
in the unlikely event her pious husband ever acted like the very naughty
president, “I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbit than Hillary—I’m walking
away with one thing, and it’s not alimony.” Ha, ha, ha. How come Wide
Stance has to resign while Vitter gets a standing O? Well, the same
reason Republican serial adulterers escorting trophy wives younger than
their children are seen as upstanding exemplars of “family values.” Rudy
Giuliani and Newt Gingrich’s marital histories make Clinton look
downright staid. Because most voters aren’t gay, exploiting bigotry
costs Republicans little. Also because the only “morality” these
hairy-chested fakers know is the morality of the closet, founded in
hypocrisy and nurtured in dark, secret places.

—–––––• –––––—Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author
and recipient of the National Magazine Award.


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