Warning: This is one of those stories that will make you spew coffee (or the morning beverage of your choice) all over your monitor. So, whatever you’re drinking, put it down for a minute.
I blogged earlier about Paul Hackett’s race for Ohio’s 2nd district congressional seat. (Note, the fundraising button it still up there. If you haven’t hit it yet, please consider doing so.) I also mentioned his opponent’s ethical problems. Well, now it looks like the opposition has another problem in the form of an old fashioned outing campaign. No, no one on Schmidt’s team is gay. And that’s what makes it so interesting for me as a gay man. What happens when a heterosexual is outed in terms of their taste for certain sexual dynamics?
for those keeping up with the special election in OH-2, this should pique your interest. now i’ll preface this post by saying i am not one to really get up in anybody’s bedroom business… unless it exposes some hypocrisy.
and it seems that jean schmidt and her (now ex as of today) campaign manager, joe braun, have some hypocrisy issues.
…a bit of google sleuthing turned up a few, er, interesting hits on the old deanofcorn. first there is this profile on a cincinnati-area GOP message board. there is no posting activity for the profile, but it fits braun’s location and links to his aol handle.
I think the profile has been yanked, but thanks to the wayback machine you can still it. (Remember, folks, the internet is forever. That’s one of the many reasons why I’ll never run for public office.) Of course, on Steve Gilliard’s post on the story, a debate breaks out over whether we should be doing this, whether this guy’s sexual predelictions are off limits, and whether it makes a difference that Schmidt has been running a "family values" campaign. At this poing it’s on Kos, LinkFilter, and on Swing State Project, where Bob Brigham writes:
Schmidt has focused her campaign on family values, but now it looks like her Campaign Manager may have used the internet to satisfy his bizarre sexual fetishes. If this is true, it is the ultimate in hypocrisy.
…Jean Schmidt’s family values campaign is nothing by crass hypocrisy if her Campaign Manager is a pervert.
Now, good liberal gay guy that I am, I’m hesitant to throw about terms like "pervert." I’m particularly hesitant here because I think it takes the focus off of the real issue at hand. It’s the same thing people struggle with when it comes to outing gays who work for homophobic politicians (like Sen. Rick Santorum’s communications director). The point is not the sexual orientation, or sexual activity — in the case of Schmidt’s campaign manager, it’s the hypocrisy.
Basically, it’s like Steve said.
Now, I disagree with Bob, there is nothing perverted about BDSM. It’s perfectly acceptable, as private behavior. It isn’t my taste, but neither is yogurt.
What I agree with is this: Schmidt is running around, talking about the evil gays and family values, while her campaign manager is engaged in bashing people in alternative lifestyle. And no, that isn’t just code for gay.
But there’s something else to what Steve goes on to say. I think the immediate response of a lot of liberals and progressives is similar to that of this comment over on Kos.
this is over the top. It is an ethical stretch, to say the least. Yes he’s a hypocrite, yes Schmidt is a snake, but aside from the obvious humor in it, IMO it is best left alone.
It is hard to believe he’s such an idiot, but he isn’t the candidate. By the way, when I say I think it should be dropped I’d qualifty that by saying leave it unless Barns runs for office or is caught doing something even slimier to the Hackett campaign.
The idea seems to be that we shouldn’t stoop to their level, but that completely ignores the point that these people stoop to conquer, so to speak. As Steve points out in his post, Kerry was Swift-Boated, and Max Cleland was lied about for political gain. And guess what. It worked. Steve get’s to the heart of the matter in a way that, once again, echoes arguments the gay community has had over outing gays who work for anti-gay politicians.
They disrespect our patritoism, our service, our beliefs, and we’re supposed to help them keep their secrets?
No fucking no. No more.
Of course, in the gay community, the argument is whether we’re supposed to help keep the secrets of gays who work for politicians that advocate anti-gay legislation, but the gist of the argumetn is still the same.
The point is that elections, and therefore to some extent politics, is about winning. It might feel good to "not stoop to their level" and to take the "high road." But at the end of the day, if the "high road" doesn’t lead to the White House or Capitol Hill (or the governor’s mansion, or city hall, etc.) and the low road does, then maybe it’s time to consider a change in tactics.
If we haven’t learned anything else from the Bush’s second term, and the effect of having Republicans in control of both Houses of Congres, we should have learned that to the winner go the spoils. We’ve bemoaned Democrats voting with Republicans on lesiglation they had little chance of stopping, like the bancruptcy bill. We’ve torn our hair over the Senate compromise on judicial appointees, and wrung our hands over Democratic Senators seeming ready to give Roberts a cakewalk onto the Supreme Court.
You want legislation passed? You want to stop bad judges from getting appointed? You want to protect reproductive choice, civil rights and a host of other issues on the Supreme Court? Well, guess what. You have to win some elections first. And if you want to win, sometimes that means watching what the winners are doing, and then following suit.
The rules of the game have changed. Like it or not. You can wait for them to change back to what they once were, if you want, but you might have a long wait and suffer a lot of losses in the meantime. And the rules may not change back. In the meantime, the game is in play, and somebody is going with win. The only real questions are will it be our side or theirs, and how.
Does it matter how? Maybe it does, but to change that you have to change the rules, and it looks like in order to change the rules you have to win. So maybe, just maybe, winning should be our primary goal right now.