Is it a fair tactic to try and question a candidate’s sexuality — or is it only a fair tactic when the candidate is a Republican?

Remember the uproar from our friends on the left when Ann Coulter called Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a “faggot?”

Well, Pam Spaulding of Pandagon was displeased with what she called Tucker Carlson’s “questioning” of Barack Hussein Obama’s masculinity. Miss Spaulding, somewhat, and some of the commenters moreso, spent their time claiming that such a statement by Mr Carlson was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    I guess if you have Freepers continually questioning Tucker’s masculinity and sexual orientation (the FR post with the above picture elicited a ton of gaybaiting), it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of projection going on in Mr. Carlson’s world.

There was considerable commentary about Mr Carlson’s bow tie! :)

Miss Spaulding had been critical of the Edwards and Clinton campaigns’ responses to Miss Coulter’s remark, saying that it hadn’t been aggressive enough, saying:

    This incident should have presented an easy opportunity for the DNC and all of the Democratic presidential candidates to not just condemn Coulter’s comments, but to ask aloud why she feels compelled to use homophobic commentary to make a political point and how it directly affects gays and lesbians in the real world.”>This incident should have presented an easy opportunity for the DNC and all of the Democratic presidential candidates to not just condemn Coulter’s comments, but to ask aloud why she feels compelled to use homophobic commentary to make a political point and how it directly affects gays and lesbians in the real world.

She continued:

    I can’t even begin to address the fact that the Edwards campaign used this as an e-fundraising tactic right out of the box. It cheapens the message beyond all reason. This required a separate response not tied to an ATM request.

Well, I waited a couple of days before responding to the article about Mr Carlson “questioning” Mr Obama’s masculinity. Why? I wanted to see if either Miss Spaulding or any of the liberal commenters on Pandagon would mention the attempts by some to claim that Republican maybe-candidate Fred Thompson is homosexual.

The link is to Wonkette, who specifically “states” what she believed Andrew Sullivan implied:

    Translated: COUGH COUGH GAY COUGH COUGH FRED THOMPSON IS GAY GAY GAY COUGH COUGH

When I Googled “Fred Thompson” and “gay,” I got back 1,290,000 returns! All this for a potential candidate being criticized for having a hot, young “trophy wife.”

So, is it fair tactics to try and question a candidate’s sexuality — or is it only a fair tactic when the candidate is a Republican? Miss Spaulding (who is an “out” lesbian) has a finely-tuned ear for anything she sees as even remotely homophobic, yet, somehow, I failed to see anything from her (or anyone else) on Pandagon condemning the efforts of some people to claim that Fred Thompson is homosexual. Did I just miss it?

Well, I used Pandagon’s site search for “Thompson” and “gay,” just to check, and I got this return, again by Miss Spaulding:

    Gay ex-aide to homophobe Santorum signs up with Fred Thompson
    Published by Pam Spaulding July 4th, 2007

    [UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan, apparently knows something about Fred Thompson’s carnal history that should make the Freepi go nuts: “Outside the extremist, activist base, regular GOP voters turn out to be relatively tolerant when it comes to sexual minorities and private sex lives. They’re not well represented by their party leaders, as far as policy is concerned. This is good news for Fred Thompson. The man has had a colorful and wide-ranging sex life, as I’m sure we will soon find out.” Tell us more…hahahaha.]

    Robert Traynham, the former communications director to ousted Pennsylvania Senator Rick (Man-on-Dog) Santorum has found a new anti-gay professional home. He’s joined the campaign of undeclared GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson as a senior advisor.

    Traynham’s professional closet door was kicked open by BlogActive a while back — and Mike Rogers honored him with his Roy Cohn Award. Little Ricky blew up with faux outrage and had this to say about his staffer, who was socially out, but it’s clear Santorum’s constituents probably had no clue he was tight with his gay communications director.

    “Robert Traynham … is widely respected and admired on Capitol Hill, both among the press corps and among the congressional staff, as a communications professional. Not only is Mr. Traynham an exemplary staffer, but he is also a trusted friend confidente to me and my family. Mr. Traynham is a valued member of my staff and I regret that this effort on behalf of people who oppose me has made him a target of bigotry in their eyes.

    “It is entirely unacceptable that my staffs’ personal lives are considered fair game by partisans looking for arguments to bolster my opponent’s campaign. Mr. Traynham continues to have my full support and confidence as well as my prayers as he navigates this rude and mean spirited invasion of his personal life.”

    It’s nice that he was so concerned about Traynham’s privacy while at the same time Ricky worked to legislate against citizens’ private behavior.

Not sure when Miss Spaulding’s update appeared, but there’s certainly no complaint therein that Mr Sullivan was implying that Mr Thompson is honmosexual. It was rather amusing that an article which excoriated a homosexual man for signing on with Mr Thompson, due to what Miss Spaulding claimed was Mr Thompson’s voting record generated this comment from someone styling himself libhomo:

One also should keep in mind that Thompson, along with the rest of the GOP is viciously racist.

Robert Traynham, a graduate of Cheyney University, is black.

I’m trying to find some evidence that our friends on the left see trying to claim that a politician is homosexual or, in Senator Obama’s case, “not masculine,” is wrong regardless of the politician’s political party; thus far, I’ve been unsuccessful.

6 Comments

  1. In general, I agree: a candidate’s sex life is irrelevant and should not be mentioned.

    There are specific exceptions to this: has the candidate been involved with children of either gender? has he been sexually or romantically involved with people that were in such a position relative to him that the relationship could have been an abuse of power?

    Specifically with respect to candidates who are gay: if they have made a career out of acting to prevent civil unions, or passing laws making it illegal for city governments to grant health benefits to partners of city employees, or ranting in public about how homosexuals are destroying american families, then I think the candidate’s homosexuality is a legitimate issue.

    Similarly for adulterers: I don’t generally care, but I think it becomes legitimate when someone who declares war on adultery, blames it for the nation’s ills, or attacks another politician for it is *themselves* engaged in adultery.

  2. …if they have made a career out of acting to prevent civil unions, or passing laws making it illegal for city governments to grant health benefits to partners of city employees, or ranting in public about how homosexuals are destroying american families, then I think the candidate’s homosexuality is a legitimate issue.

    aphrael, certainly you must realize that it’s quite possible for one to be gay and not agree that civil unions or granting benefits for partners of city employees is necessarily in a city’s, county’s or state’s best interest, if only financially. This, in my mind, is often a policy decision recast as a hypocrisy issue, whether it is or not in reality. And it may very well be, in reality, … or not.

    On the other hand, I quite agree that one who is “…ranting in public about how homosexuals are destroying american families” is being hypocritical if they themselves are gay.

    The other aspect about which we might tend to disagree, and this is my personal religious viewpoint, is that there is a difference between a practicing homosexual and one who has chosen to remain celibate if they consider that the practice violates their personal religious beliefs. In the same manner, it is possible to have commited adultery, have been forgiven by God and your spouse, and to continue to hold the belief that adultery is not good for our national culture. I suppose that this all boils down to the level of self-righteousness.

    Another comment. It is possible to “declare war on adultery” without declaring war on adulterers. In my religious background we refer to this as “hating the sin, but loving the sinner.” Unfortunately, this is also all too often a convenient excuse for self-righteousness.

    And finally, I have a very serious problem with my fellow evangelical conservatives who, believing that homosexuality is a sin, seem to believe that it is either the “unforgivable sin” or in some sense more egregious than other sins, including adultery. Often yet another excuse for a serious case of self-righteousness. Another subject for another time, though.

  3. There are specific exceptions to this: has the candidate been involved with children of either gender? has he been sexually or romantically involved with people that were in such a position relative to him that the relationship could have been an abuse of power?

    Oops! In my haste to comment I completely neglected to agree totally with your first paragraph. Not only should this behavior be exposed for the dispicable behavior that it is, but the politician should be run out of town on a rail wearing a tar and feather coat.

  4. certainly you must realize that it’s quite possible for one to be gay and not agree that civil unions or granting benefits for partners of city employees is necessarily in a city’s, county’s or state’s best interest, if only financially.

    Sure. That said, the financial cost of granting benefits for domestic partners of city employees are rarely the issue being discussed; when there is a controversy, opponents almost always couch their argument in terms of “those people aren’t really married and so therefore don’t deserve anything”.

    I could have been more precise, though, in saying that it’s opposition of the latter sort, coming from gay politicians, which I think suffices to make their sexuality an issue for public discussion. Purely financial objections don’t rise to that level.

    It is possible to “declare war on adultery” without declaring war on adulterers. In my religious background we refer to this as “hating the sin, but loving the sinner.”

    Fair enough. But when a politician is engaged in publically hating a given sin, surely it is in the public’s interest to know if the politician is themselves engaged in that sin.

  5. Fair enough. But when a politician is engaged in publically hating a given sin, surely it is in the public’s interest to know if the politician is themselves engaged in that sin.

    Also fair enough, particularly when the politician is actively so engaged, too often without remorse.

    I suppose what I find most discouraging about the level of public “discourse”, particularly on these topics, is illustrated in the difference in treatment afforded Rep Studds and that afforded Rep Foley. It seems to me that Foley’s emails (and his hypocrisy) were denounced far more severely than was Studd’s actual affair with a 17 year old page. Interestingly, republicans were equally intollerant of the behavior of both while democrats, well …

  6. Fair enough. But when a politician is engaged in publically hating a given sin, surely it is in the public’s interest to know if the politician is themselves engaged in that sin.

    Also fair enough, particularly when the politician is actively so engaged, too often without remorse.

    I suppose what I find most discouraging about the level of public “discourse”, particularly on these topics, is illustrated in the difference in treatment afforded Rep Studds and that afforded Rep Foley. It seems to me that Foley’s emails (and his hypocrisy) were denounced far more severely than was Studd’s actual affair with a 17 year old page. Interestingly, republicans were equally intolerant of the behavior of both while democrats, well …

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