Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another Gay Republican

Earlier today the news broke that the sheriff in a county in Arizona was accused of threatening to deport his ex-lover (who happens to be Mexican) if he went public with their relationship. This is the kind of scandal that our Hyena Media loves to devour: a conservative law and order man who is currently running for the 4th Congressional District in Arizona and is a highly respected up-and-coming politician in the religious conservative rightwing of the Republican Party has been exposed in a gay sex scandal. Surprise, surprise!!! Is anyone really surprised anymore about this party of hypocrites? I'm not. Wake me up when the media finds a faithful, family values Republican with ethics and morality. Then, I'll be shocked. Until then, I think the whole lot of them have a lot of things hidden in their closets that they don't want the American public to find out about.
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Sheriff Paul Babeu is the current example. I've never heard of him until this scandal broke, so I did some Google-searches and found his campaign website. Based on what I read, he actually sounds like a reasonable guy. He served 20 years in the Army Reserves, starting out at a lowly enlisted rank and then going to college and getting a commission as an officer. He served in Iraq. He was elected sheriff in a county in Arizona and had endorsed John McCain's campaign in 2008 and was a co-chair something or other on Mitt Romney's campaign. He's definitely law and order type of guy and an example of the kind of guys I met in the military. As a liberal Democrat, I'm actually not opposed to someone like Paul serving in Congress as a conservative Republican. His background is interesting and he would've been a fine addition to Congress.

That is, until the scandal broke. Though he is not quitting his campaign for Congress, nor resigning from his sheriff's job, he did give up his position on Romney's campaign (though it was probably nothing big other than being a big name attached in order to sway votes when the primary comes to Arizona and a possible job offer in a Romney Administration). In his press conference (which I've added a video link to below), he denied the allegations of threatening his ex-lover in any way but he did not deny a relationship. It was kind of difficult for him to deny a relationship when photos appeared that showed him standing next to his lover with his left hand touching the bare chest of the guy next to him (the lover wore a shirt that was unbuttoned down to the stomach). In the press conference, Babeu even mentioned disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner to make a case why his situation was different (because he's not denying that its him in the photos, he's not going to lie about it in hopes that it goes away). Well good. Someone learned a lesson from Weiner. It's nice to know that there are people out there who are paying attention and not repeating the same mistakes as other politicians. I give him a few points for that.

In his press conference, though, you will hear him state many times during his statement and during his Q & A segment that he always believed that his private life (i.e. sex life) was no one else's business. He spoke about his professionalism at work and how his private life did not interfere with it and he did not rub anyone's noses in what he did in his private life. He did not want to answer questions regarding his private life and made a very libertarian appeal to protecting his own privacy. Well, I actually agree with him on that point, but considering that he is a Republican who recently spoke at the CPAC convention (the biggest conservative political gathering of the year) and is courting the teabagger support and vote, I'm a little bit skeptical about his claims. Had he not been outed, would he have pandered to the teabaggers with homophobic appeals on issues like gay marriage? How long did he think he could hide the truth of who he was from the public? He had to know that there is a target on any conservative Republican who might be gay, because of the level of hypocrisy regarding the pandering to the religious right, particularly on sexual issues. Another question that comes to mind is, now that he's out of the closet, will the teabaggers support his campaign? If they do support him because they like his track record and conservative views, are they being hypocritical when they continue to be anti-gay marriage? How can you say that you support a gay politician because he stands on the same side of the issues as you, but you still expect him to be celibate and monastic? His political race will be an interesting one to watch because it puts evangelical voters in a tough spot. Do they vote for his opponent because they hate his sexual orientation, or do they vote for him anyway because they like his stance on issues, even if they still might be against gay marriages?

With the scandal, I hope its only the tip of the iceberg. I suspect more stuff will come out on this guy. A reporter managed to ask him if he expected any more people to come forward with allegations. Paul gave an honest answer that he didn't know, but he can't base his campaign on what might come out. He has to work to clear his name on the current allegations, which is kind of ugly. The ex-lover seems like the jealous type, who suspected that Paul was cheating on him so he sought ways to get back at him. Sabotaging a Congressional campaign would be the ultimate revenge. Outing him seemed to be the implied threat. But did Babeu make threats back? Such as threatening to have him deported back to Mexico. If this allegation is true, it represents an abuse of office and is certainly an impeachable offense.

It was funny to hear Sheriff Babeu say in his press conference that he has gotten many marriage proposals from women, but he turned them down. Must be nice to have women throw themselves at you and you get your pick. But, he's not attracted to women and if he gets elected to Congress, it does make one wonder, considering the number of gay sex scandals inflict the religious right and the Republican Party: Just how many closeted Republicans are there, anyway? You have to say one thing about the Republican Party in the past few years. They sure do know how to keep on entertaining us. The non-stop carnival of crazy continues under "the Big Tent" of the GOP! Step right up and take a look.

Sheriff Paul Babeu Press Conference from Paul Babeu on Vimeo.

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