By Guest Blogger
Posted on June 15, 2007, Printed on June 16, 2007
This post, written by Howie Klein, originally appeared on Down With Tyranny!
This evening I went to the L.A. County Library's author's series, ALOUD, to hear Daniel Hurewitz, who wrote Bohemian Los Angeles and the Making of Modern Politics and Stuart Timmons, who wrote Gay L.A.-- A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics and Lipstick Lesbians. There was a great deal to savor and enjoy but what inspired me to run home and get to google was a mention of Frank Shaw, who was elected mayor of L.A. in 1933. "Unfortunately, he would eventually go into the history books as having led the most corrupt city administration in Los Angeles history" and he was the first U.S. mayor successfully recalled from office.
What brings him up these 70 years since that recall was his behavior while trying to deflect the public approbation resulting in his unconscionable corruption. He turned the L.A.P.D. loose on the 'til then unmolested gay community, the first time-- though not the last-- they would be scapegoated by an ambitious and crooked politician.
Before heading over to the Library I saw a New York Times story about a less socially divisive reaction to gay people, not in California, where we are currently burdened by a corrupt and Neanderthal Republican governor, but from Massachusetts, where the state legislature struck down attempts by right-wing loons driven insane by hollow interpretations of Bronze Age superstitions, to outlaw same-sex marriage.
"In Massachusetts today, the freedom to marry is secure," Gov. Deval Patrick said after the legislature voted 151 to 45 against the amendment, which needed 50 favorable votes to come before voters in a referendum in November 2008.
Massachusetts is the only state in America with full marriage equality. I guess it isn't a coincidence that Massachusetts also boasts one of only two openly gay members of Congress, Barney Frank (whose district, by the way, has a smaller percentage of gay people than the state in general).
In their May issue OUT Magazine featured "The Power 50" (they're obsessed with inane lists) and as part of that they interviewed Barney: "Out On The Hill-- Coming Out Didn't Stop Barney Frank From Becoming One of America's Most Powerful Politicians." One question stood out; actually, no questions stood out. One answer did though.
OUT: Are there closets full of closet cases on Capitol Hill?
Barney: "Sure. There are probably five or seven in the House and at least three senators.
Next question? Nope; they just let it drop. So, I had to turn to "Washington's Most Dangerous Man," my pal Mike Rogers to try to get to the bottom of this. Mike's web site, blogActive, makes a habit of exposing the worst of the hypocrites, the ones with the consistently homophobic voting records who also participate in closeted gay sex, the only kind Republicans approve of.
Mike is ultra cautious. He wants multiple sworn statements from participants and clear pictures before he'll out anyone, no matter how viciously anti-gay they are. Mike totally blew the cover of Virginia wingnut Ed Schrock, now retired, and for years has been helpful in getting out the information on Mark Foley (F-FL), also retired, and three who are still hiding in their closets, David Dreier (R-CA), James McCrery R-LA), and Larry Craig (R-ID).
Craig is a senator and surely one of the 3 Barney was referring to since he outed him on the Bill Maher show last year. And the others? Well, most people in DC who know about these things feel that Miss McConnell (R-KY) doesn't just act that way; he's as gay as any panicky right-wing closet case you never want to meet. Ditto for Lindsey Graham (R-SC). That's the easy part. Everyone knows about McConnell, Graham and Craig. What about all those House members?
Well, that's tougher. Dreier hardly even counts as being in the closet any longer since it's so widely known that he's gay, even in his own district... although no one ever speaks about it out loud. And McCrery thinks he inoculated himself by marrying his secretary and stashing her away somewhere deep in Louisiana. We've had some speculation about ex-high school wrestling coach Denny Hastert but the male prostitute who says he had sex with him was too embarrassed to be publicly identified. And people are pretty suspicious, for good reason, about Patrick McNutcase (R-NC). And the other 3? Mike's gone mum on me; but I know he's got some hot investigations he's tying up. Of course, Larry Flynt is trying to get to the bottom of all this too.
Howie Klein was president of his freshman class, drove to Afghanistan and Nepal, became the president of Reprise Records and started a blog called Down With Tyranny!. He's always hated tyrants.