Andy Martin says Florida governor brings “blank canvas” to vice presidential weenie roast
Is Senator John McCain risking another Republican sex scandal? Martin says Republicans have at least as many gay staffers on Capitol Hill as the Democrats; columnist suggests Republicans end their hypocrisy on sexual issues.
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REPUBLICANS TOY WITH NEW GAY SEX SCANDAL AS FLORIDA GOVERNOR IS TREATED AS POTENTIAL VICE PRESIDENT FOR SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN
(PALM BEACH)(May 26) Republicans, the party of “family values” and opposition to gay marriage, seem to end up with more sex scandals than the Democrats. The latest scandal was the double life of Representative Vito Foscella, who had families on Staten Island, New York and in suburban Washington. As someone whose background in Florida politics go back far enough to remember the first time Congressman-to-be Mark Foley ran as a right-wing crusader and promised to vote against gay marriage, I am amused by the current national media fandango being conducted by Senator John McCain.
McCain says he is just hosting a weenie roast for a few friends this Memorial Day weekend, among them being potential “vice presidents” such as Florida Governor Charlie Crist.
Crist is a man with no sexual past, except a long-ago “paternity” suit and brief marriage to a spouse who has remained mute and may herself be gay. Crist denies being gay; he has repeatedly made that assertion. Of course, Republicans always deny being gay; Senator Larry Craig denies he is gay. He just has a wide stand in airport men’s rooms. Democrats, on the other hand, love to fess up and gain the notoriety. Such was the enduring appeal of “Gay American” and former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy.
Adding an ironic note to this column, and in the interests of full disclosure, I actually ran against Crist a decade ago, and whipped him in Florida’s largest county, Miami-Dade. In fact I have probably received more votes against Charlie Crist than any other Republican. Anyway, in the same way that I crossed paths with Mark Foley in the 90’s I also crossed paths with Crist.
Adding irony to the enduring doubts about these officials, Foley and Crist were apparently roommates together in Tallahassee. The apparent Crist-Foley connection when both men served as state senators always interested me. It still does.
Let me be clear: I think Charlie Crist has done a very good job as Florida governor. I am amazed that while New York and Illinois Democrats are plundering their states, fiscally responsible Florida Republicans are cutting budgets and cutting taxes, albeit only marginally. But even a small cut in taxes is better than an increase, so I say, “Bravo Charlie.”
Charlie, however, seems to have adopted another tactic which was favored by Mark Foley. Foley would occasionally appear in Palm Beach with a woman, his “date,” though not his regular male companion. Indeed, Foley’s hypocrisy used to incense local gay rights groups. Crist does not draw the same opposition from gay activists because Charlie appears to have led an asexual lifestyle since his “paternity” incident and brief marriage decades ago.
But somnolent Tallahassee is not the same stage as a national campaign for Vice President. Crist would not be able to get away with the odd “date” on the national scene, while leaving his entire adult life a blank canvas. It appears that Crist is in fact gay, but that he has recoiled from participation in the gay lifestyle and has successfully remained celibate and virtually asexual. So what do we make of such a candidate?
Would Republicans flock to an asexual man with a blank canvas for a personal history, who has started salting his social life with female arm candy? I have no idea.
The most likely explanation for the Republican weenie roast is that Senator McCain genuinely likes Crist, and is aware of his “blank canvas” as an adult, and merely wants to “romance” Charlie to feed his ego. The Miami Herald on Sunday delicately suggested as much, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/story/545770.html
If there is one thing Senator McCain does not need it is the embarrassment of another Republican Party sex scandal. Florida, moreover, is a very different place than Kansas. Florida is tolerant in a way that few states are. If Mark Foley had “come out” early in his congressional career, and kept his attention focused on adults, it is likely he would still be in congress. The bible-pounders were content to vote for him. It was only because Foley insisted on living a lie, and letting himself act in a manner inconsistent with adult behavior, that he was the architect of his own downfall.
One of the problems that men such as Foley and Crist experience is that they start to forget that Florida ain’t Fayetteville, and that what goes in Florida doesn’t necessarily go elsewhere. That explains why Foley thought he could live a lie forever, and was brought crashing down to earth. Crist may believe that strict celibacy may be a substitute for a family or even conventional social behavior. He may live to learn otherwise.
While a strictly celibate gay man such as Crist is acceptable to a broad cross-section of the electorate in Florida that may not be the case when he goes through the meat-grinder of the national media. Hey, Florida is a tolerant place. I don’t know—indeed I have no idea—if such a “blank canvas” and hollow lifestyle would resonate broadly across the entire nation. In any event, if he continues to romance Charlie Crist as a vice presidential “contenda” Senator McCain may soon find out.
The bottom line is that the Republican Party as a party needs to “come out” and stop pretending that normal human urges and the full range of adult sexual activity do not exist among Republicans. On Capital Hill, there are rumors of more gay staffers on the Republican side than there are among Democrats. Indeed, Congressman Foley may have thought that “gays in high places” on Capital Hill would always protect him. They cut him loose to save themselves.
Likewise, the Illinois Republican Party staff enjoys a notorious below-the-radar reputation for being excessively populated with gays (which is why opposition to gay marriage has never generated any traction among Illinois Republicans). Ultimately, Republicans nationally should come clean and remove the stigma of closeting their own supporters while trying to cast aspersions on Democrats. Whether Senator John “DeGeneres” McCain is ready to take such a bold step is an open question.
In the meantime, Charlie, enjoy the McCain Ranch. You earned a visit. So have Florida Republicans.
Chicago’s Number One Internet columnist, broadcaster and media critic, Andy Martin, is the Executive Editor and publisher of http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin covers regional, national and world events with more than forty years of experience. He is a chronicler of all things Midwestern and the authentic Voice of Middle America. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has been a candidate for U. S. Senator from Illinois and Florida. http://www.AndyforUSSenator.com. Comments? E-mail: AndyMart20@aol.com. Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Columns also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com.