Don't ask me why, but the Republican Party seems to be a magnet for self-loathing closeted gays - and even sexual predators like Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House of Representatives. I've never understood the mindset of those who seek political advantage by making the lives of others as horrible as possible, yet that is definitely the way of today's GOP which plays on hate, racism, homophobia and bigotry of every form to push its agenda of creating a new Gilded Age. The list of these self-loathing gays is long and, in my view includes some not yet "outed" such as Ken Cuccinelli and Rick Santorum who are just too hysterical about gays for someone who doesn't have personal psycho-sexual issues going on. The Huffington Post looks at the way Denns Hastert assisted the GOP's anti-gay agenda even while guarding his secret that he was not only gay, but a sexual predator who preyed on boys. Here are highlights:
During the 2004 elections, George W. Bush's campaign, managed by a closeted gay man, pushed a series of anti-gay ballot initiatives across the country. The House of Representatives, led by a male speaker who allegedly sexually assaulted a male minor, moved a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage after beating back attempts to strengthen hate crimes legislation. And the White House, led in part by a vice president with a lesbian daughter, eagerly encouraged a conservative evangelical base hostile to gay rights.
Though only slightly over a decade ago, that election seems increasingly like the relic of a far-off era as the country moves closer toward acceptance of legalizing marriage equality nationwide. But it's being revisited in light of recent revelations that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) may have sexually abused at least two male students during his time as a high school teacher and wrestling coach, and later lied to the FBI about the hush money he was paying one of them.
[Hastert] was a vital cog in the anti-gay political machinery that the GOP deployed for political benefit. And now it appears his involvement carried the same elements of duplicity and deceit as that of other Republican operatives of that era.
"The hypocrisy is breathtaking in its depth," said Elizabeth Birch, former president of the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
As speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, Hastert didn't just go along and vote the party line on various bills; he decided which pieces of legislation made it to the floor for a vote. During his tenure, he was a clear foe of the LGBT community.
That Hastert was allegedly hiding a sordid past wasn't known at the time, though rumors were beginning to spread. Still, those who lobbied on the bill picked up odd clues that hold more meaning now.
"I once sat in a meeting with Denny Hastert where he literally teared up in front of Judy and Dennis Shepard [Matthew's parents] and committed to doing everything he could to pass the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill and then literally did nothing. Didn't lift a finger," recalled Birch.
Hastert continued opening the gateways for anti-gay legislation in the years that followed. In 2004, Bush announced his support for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Hastert brought it to the floor even though he predicted that passage would be difficult since it required the approval of two-thirds of Congress.
Those who were on the other side of the fight aren't so quick, however, to let bygones be bygones. On MSNBC Friday, former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), himself gay, said that he did not excuse Hastert's alleged actions -- "the teacher taking advantage of students" -- but that the episode made him think of how destructive homophobia has been.
"Leave aside from the fact the illegitimate nature of the fact that it was a teacher-student relationship that should not have happened," said Frank, who added that it seemed Hastert may have been bisexual. "But the gay sex in itself obviously, it was something which back then was considered so scandalous that Hastert couldn't do it in an -- in a kind of an open way."
Do I want to see Hastert crucified? Most definitely! He abused minors and then lied to the world and worked to harm other gays. A stunning example needs to be made of him. And other politicians like him - think Lindsey Graham, the Palmetto Queen - need to be outed. I have no use whatsoever for these warped bastards.