Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Larry Craig

It seems that Idaho Senator Larry Craig has been outed.

I honestly don't care whether he is gay or not. If he is, as a lot of evidence shows, I hope he comes out and is open with himself and his family about it. He'll probably be happier. Either way, he's a bastard and has done a lot of damage to the United States through his consistently right-wing politics. I do wish that people didn't find it necessary to out others, regardless of their political positions.

But one thing about this really interests me and another really galls me.

What interests me is how his constituents will react. If this was Mississippi or South Carolina, they'd probably throw him under the bus. And maybe his voters in Idaho will too. But the West is different from the South. There is a little more toleration for alternative lifestyles out here, so long as the government is not involved. Votes to legalize marijuana and assisted suicide are evidence of this. But Idaho is not the rest of the West because of its large Mormon population. If he was from Nevada or Arizona, I think it would matter less. No doubt the West has serious problems with homophobia--the Matthew Sheppard murder being Exhibit A and the reaction to Brokeback Mountain being Exhibit B. But overall, I do think it is slightly better here than in most of rural America. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

What galls me is that this even matters in American politics. As Scott points out here and here, there is a lot of fake outrage from right-wingers about outing Craig, even though they spent 8 years obsessing about the sexual exploits of Bill Clinton and continue to jump on anything remotely suggestive of real human sexuality from Democrats. Their "outrage" is disgusting not only because it is hypocritical, but because it shouldn't matter either way. If he is gay, who cares? He's a bad guy because of his policies, not because of where he likes to stick his cock.