November 4, 2006
On the weekend just before an election, a "surprise" like this one is hardly a surprise. The likelihood that the disgraceful "outing" of Colorado televangelist Ted Haggard was not politically motivated seems just about zero. Well, what did we expect? The perfect scandal: illicit sex and drugs! (What about rock and roll?) Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, ... In the Protestant branch of Christiandom, "pastors" are supposed to keep their flock from straying, but sometimes they themselves stray. That is why the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches have bishops to oversee the ministry of local clergymen. (At least they're supposed to.) The unsavory details about Haggard are in the Washington Post.
Not surprisingly, Andrew Sullivan is all over this story, focusing on Haggard's strong ties to "the Bush-Rove Machine." Haggard has been at the center of promoting laws and state constitutional amendments against gay marriage, and using that issue to advance Republican Party candidates. Wouldn't it be something if this made the difference in some of the congressional elections or the marriage amendment referendums! Why do so many in-the-closet gays, especially Republican ones, take an active (public) role against homosexuals? Is it simple self-loathing? Self-deception? Haggard's excruciatingly forced grin speaks volumes about the inner turmoil he must feel.
The Allen's A-team blog claims this as a big plus for the senator's reelection bid. For those of us who strive to make a sharp distinction between honest immigration reform and nativist xenophobia, however, that endorsement was not necessarily a good thing. As long as the Federal government was grossly negligent in policing our southern border, one could make an argument in favor of self-starter citizen initiatives such as the Minutemen. (see Nov. 2005.) Since Bush got serious about stopping illegal immigration last summer, however, I think that group's purpose has already been served. See Washington Post.
Over the last few days, the campaign ads have gotten nastier, of course, but it seems that both Allen and Webb are determined to close things on a positive note. Webb's personal appeal came across quite well, stylistically, but I take sharp exception to the way he frames the issues. Down ... to ... the ... wire !!!