The Republican Closet That Won't Stay ClosedDecember 13th, 2011 3:27 pm Joe Conason
If these are the last weeks of Rick Perry’s ridiculous presidential campaign, his desperation is turning him into a nasty clown indeed. By publicly attacking the gays and lesbians who have chosen to serve their country in uniform, the Texas Governor seems to have gained ground in Iowa. But at what cost did he win a few points that still leave him well below the top tier? His pollster and consultant Tony Fabrizio has been “outed,” rightly or wrongly — and worse still, the swinging closet door of the Republican Party has been flung open again. Who else will be found inside?
From the days of the Cold War, when reigning mischief-maker Roy Cohn was bedding boys and denouncing gays as “sissies,” through the hidden homosexual history that leads from Marvin Liebman, co-founder of the National Review to Arthur Finkelstein, the ad man behind the Eighties conservative revival, to the defection of former “hit man” David Brock, to Ken Mehlman, the Bush-era party chairman who didn’t dare (until recently) to speak of his own true nature, and even Karl Rove, who ran gay-baiting campaigns despite his own father’s orientation, Republicans have repeatedly watched their own intellectual and political leaders embarrassed by what emerges from that capacious closet. In Fabrizio’s case, he was pushed out by GOProud, an organization of right-leaning gays, when its leader Jimmy DeSalvia complained on a message board about the latest Perry ad, which says there’s “something wrong” in America when gays can serve “openly” in the military but children cannot pray in public schools.