Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mike Rogers, Closets and Outing, and Political Insanity

I encountered a post awhile back on Mike Rogers blog that Outed Andre Bauer, the Lt. Governor of my state as gay. I have mixed feelings about the concept of Outing someone against their wishes. I think it is a heinous practice and causes great harm...on the other hand, politically, Rogers has a point! I emailed Rogers post to the moderator of a list I am on, because I was conflicted over the concept of Outing, and concerns about validity and ethical reporting...I felt it was relevant, but I wasn't sure it was an appropriate post to the list. The Moderator took it on and posted it for me, and his prefacing remarks are perfect.
He also found some reactions to Rogers claim that Bauer is gay that boggled my mind - like an accusation that SANFORD, the beleaguered scandal ridden SC Governor orchestrated Roger's rumor! Unbelievable!

The political circus continues...popcorn anyone?

List post On Rogers, Sanford and Bauer, oh my...

"Cameron -- a South Carolina resident -- brought this to my attention early in the week, and was hesitant about posting it. I'd seen previous references to the 'rumors' about South Carolina's lieutenant governor and his alleged closeted sexuality, and didn't feel at the time there was sufficient substantiation -- or mainstream reporting, in any case -- to bring it into this conversation. But Mike Rogers claims to have a "100% track record" of accuracy in his 'outing' of public figures -- and counts former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida), and others among his 'hits.' (It may be duly noted that a perfect record seldom continues indefinitely. )But in this web posting, he goes into long-winded detail about his restraint in reporting on South Carolina's Andre Bauer until he had acquired 'confirmation' through personal interviews with a handful of persons allegedly in a position to know the truth. Rogers' rationale for his reporting is that the people he outs are homosexual, however much they deny it, but in their zeal to identify with (and to gain or keep the support of right wing political and religious forces), they behave publicly as enemies of TLGB equality and justice, and therefore deserve no consideration or 'grace' with respect to their alleged identities and hypocrisies. Whatever you feel about the practice of taking an individual's discretion regarding privacy around sexual identity or orientation out of their own hands and publicizing it yourself, Rogers counters that his is not a matter of vindictiveness but of self-defense for the community at large. But perhaps the chief consideration for posting the reports here is that both Gov. Sanford and Bauer -- each trying to survive sexual 'scandal' -- are card-carrying members of the conservative, blustering, and increasingly phony-sounding 'family values' wing of the Republican Party. In fact, 'wing' has reached the point of misnomer -- it has become the entire structure, with only a few outbuildings of progressive or even moderate philosophy.Perhaps the appropriate concern here is whether the sphere of politics will ever be free of the attitude that accusations of gay sexuality are prima facie evidence of immorality, and potentially mortally wounding. Probably not as long as the once-proud Republican Party (of Lincoln!) is alive and in the grip of fundamentalist faith police.

Clipping: BlogActive.com, August 31, 2009
http://tinyurl.com/nkyeyx [Photos at this link]
By Michael Rogers
First to dispense with all of the right wingers who will post in the comments that I have not come up with physical proof of this case. Before commenting, I urge you to look at a few of the cases I have reported on in the past:On October 17, 2006, I reported that Senator Larry Craig was a closet case who bashed gays while engaging in oral sex in public bathrooms. Comments on the site included: "that's all you've got?" ... "hello -- what is the proof?" ... "Put up or shut up -- this is not the place to act like you have some inside knowledge without providing the facts."It took over a year for one of my closest friends to tell me that when I first outed Craig he didn't believe me. I explained, I have a 100% record and I don't screw cases up. Then, On August 27 of the next year, we all learned some more about Larry Craig and his bathroom habits.On March 4, 2005 I reported about a certain Florida congressman who had a habit of hitting on men half his age. "...Mark Foley hit on men less than half his age..." I wrote. And once again comments came in. "Where is the proof???" people asked. On March 22 of that year, I awarded him the Roy Cohn Award for his part in contributing to anti-gay oppression from within the closet.Then, on September 28, 2006, Mark Foley was exposed for inappropriate emails with young pages and eventually instant messages came to light as additional proof of who Mark Foley really was.So, that's the preamble. In other words... I'm a reporter. I meet with people and I talk to them. Then based on a review of all of the facts, I report closet cases that hurt the gay community. You may not like my style, but I have a track record of 100%.And for those reasons I am now able to confirm a rumor that has circulated in South Carolina for years. South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer is a closeted anti-gay politician who stands to replace Mark Sanford should Sanford resign or be impeached (a real possibility, as Sanford is caught in his own sex scandal.)So, what is the deal with Bauer? I have confirmed and spoken to four individuals who I have no doubt are telling me the truth. These men have been hit on by Bauer, with one of them telling me it happened at least five times since Bauer's election in 2003. To a varying degree I have met with and believe the sources. And, as you'll recall, I have that 100% record. This was still not enough for me to report on him. Then another call came in and I met with the source while he was visiting DC recently. "He's gay," the source told me."How do you know?" I asked."Because I've had sex with him on two separate occasions." That too, was not enough for me to report on without confirmation from others. I was led on a path to chatting with acquaintances of the source and two former employees of Bauer who served on his staff between 2004 and 2007. They reported to me that on a total of three occasions Bauer spent hours alone with men in hotel rooms. Each of them explained that the visits were with younger men who were not on the staff of the Lt. Governor nor had any official reason to be with him. The two men confirmed that they had not known each other and each described similar circumstances under which these interactions occurred. One of them confirmed that he was told by the Lt. Governor's visitor he had a sexual encounter with Bauer.The combination of the reports and the first hand experiences were what I need to maintain my 100% record of being right in my reporting on this site.This case is particularly interesting because the governor Bauer serves has a little sex issue himself. It was Mark Sanford (a former resident of the now famous C-Street House) who decided it was appropriate to use the state's resources to fly to South America to rendezvous with his "soul mate." As you can imagine, this did not go over too well with Sanford's wife, who moved out of the governor's mansion. (I give her credit, she was not one of the fools who stood by on TV as her husband confessed his sins (see: Craig, Suzanne and McGreevy, Dina).His record? The bachelor is a right wing Christian conservative. He's done everything from defend the state issuing "I believe" license plates (complete with a cross on them) to defending the right of schools to use corporal punishment. In the presidential election he supported Mike Huckabee.There have been many rumors over the years about the Lt. Governor who was endorsed, incidentally, by Mark Sanford's wife (she must have an attraction to men with sexual secrets) but now they are, for the first time, verified on the site that has a 100% track record of this reporting. All of the other reports were based on rumors and innuendo, this one is based on individuals I have personally spoken with and met. Let there now be no doubt.There is another difference between this report and others. This one will be on satellite radio coast to coast! Over the next week or so, I'll be providing a variety of take action activities to make sure the right people in SC know the truth (and not the rumors) about Bauer. After all, what good is an outing if the right people don't know about it? Ask Mark Foley. Ask Larry Craig. Ask Ed Schrock. Ask them all.
Copyright 2004-2009
Michael Rogers

Clipping: WIS-TV10 (Columbia, SC ), Sept. 2, 2009http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=11029329 [Video clip at this link]

Last week, South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer said he would sacrifice his political ambitions if Governor Mark Sanford resigns. Sanford refused, and now Bauer finds himself on defense. The issue? His private life. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer wants to talk about where he would take the state if Gov. Mark Sanford leaves office. And unless Sanford decides to step down soon, making Bauer his successor, the lieutenant governor will likely run for the number one job.But since his remarks on the subject last week, Bauer has become a target -- first, accusations on a web site claiming that the 40-year-old bachelor is gay. That post has been picked up and repeated on other sites. We found at least 17 of them, all despite Bauer's previous denials. On Tuesday came strong condemnation from some of Bauer's closest advisers.Said communications director Frank Adams, "Rumors, gossip, lies, innuendo.... a bunch of scurrilous crap." Another consultant called the claim a "hatchet job." It's a frustrating situation for Bauer and, potentially, any candidate. "There's really almost unlimited power or license that they have now on the web or on the blogs where they can pretty much say anything," said USC's Dr. Robert Oldendick. "And you can either choose to ignore it or, if it gets enough momentum, to say, 'well this is really something we need to deal with,' then just address it."In June, Bauer did address an earlier round of rumors about whether he is gay. Said Bauer, "One word, two letters. No."One Republican strategist says things like this don't happen in a vacuum. He says someone in the party and perhaps a number of people believe Bauer has a good chance to become governor and decided to throw a "hand grenade" to stop him now. Another party activist says even though they may have reached thousands of people, the claims by bloggers are not bound by the truth and should be ignored.Copyright 2009 WIS.

Clipping: Politico.com, September 4, 2009http://tinyurl.com/km6fuu[Photo at this link]
By Andy Barr

The increasingly nasty fight between South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer escalated further this week with charges from a legislative ally of Bauer that Sanford and his supporters are spreading rumors that Bauer -- a Republican like Sanford -- is gay. GOP state Sen. Jake Knotts made the charge in a letter to state legislators Wednesday that was obtained by POLITICO. In an interview in June with The State newspaper, Bauer voluntarily brought up the subject of his sexual orientation. Asked if he was gay, he responded: "One word, two letters. No." But the rumor has continued to circulate widely on the internet and has become caught up in the continuing drama surrounding Sanford, whose adulterous affair with an Argentine women has led to calls for his resignation. Bauer, who would succeed Sanford if he left office, called for Sanford to resign last week. Sanford communications director Ben Fox rejected Knotts's charges. "This letter is simply wrong and in that regard, as bizarre as many of the other claims and attacks of recent weeks, " he said in a statement to POLITICO. "Some have even argued this indeed points to an obsession with slandering anyone who tries to change the 'good ol' boy' system of politics in Columbia." "South Carolina is facing serious challenges, and the governor is dedicated to addressing these challenges alongside other members of the Legislature committed to the same. We have a state capital with too much spending, too little transparency, and as shown by this letter, at times too many political attacks." Bauer could not be reached for comment. In his letter, Knotts charged Sanford and his allies of having "stooped to a new low" in orchestrating a "false character assassination" against Bauer. "The timing of this smear campaign is obviously not a coincidence. Last week, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer called on Governor Mark Sanford to resign, and last weekend, the House Republican Caucus decided almost unanimously to move forward to ask Gov. Sanford resign from office, under threat of impeachment, " Knotts, who is a close ally of Bauer, wrote in the letter. "This attack was orchestrated on behalf of Mark Sanford, either directly or indirectly, and financially subsidized by him or one of his many 'front-groups, '" he wrote. Knotts, a vocal and longtime critic of the governor, accused Sanford's circle with having made a similar attack against him in the past, and warned state lawmakers that they too could find themselves trying to quell politically damaging information coming discreetly from the governor's office. "We cannot allow this type of groundless, baseless, Internet slander against public officials to continue to exist in our state," he wrote. "The legislature now has the opportunity to look into ending it once and for all. If we don't, you and your family could be the next target." Even among Republicans, the majority of South Carolina politicians have called for Sanford's resignation. Additionally, numerous sources throughout the state say that both the state House and Senate may now have the numbers to call in a special session to impeach the governor. State Republican leadership, however, is holding its members back from making the move until the results of a state ethics probe into the governor's use of state aircraft is completed. Knotts wrote in his letter to lawmakers that Sanford has given them "plenty of solid reasons to remove" him and argued that the alleged attack against Bauer offers "one more" reason to impeach the governor. "As one of Andre's closest friends, having known him since he was 8 years old, I am 100 percent certain the rumor is false," he wrote. "There are numerous other witnesses who will attest the rumor is without any merit whatsoever." Another Republican legislator, state Sen. Larry Martin confirmed to POLITICO that Knotts has been e-mailing the letter to members of the state House and Senate, and said that many state lawmakers think Knotts is "accurate in his suspicion of the governor." "Everyone I've talked to thinks there is some connection to the governor, just because of the timing of it, but it is very hard to prove," Martin said. "Unless you've got proof, everyone can have their suspicions, but I certainly wouldn't accuse the governor of that."

© 2009 Capitol News Company LLC

1 comment:

  1. Once again, I assert that we cannot afford as a country to use family values as a political platform. As long as waving a bible, sporting a wife/husband, and a couple of kids can be your proof of living a morally upright life, this country will prosecute gays and down grade the foolish. Worse, rather than looking at the issues or at the performace of the person in question, we look to the bedroom. Worse than seperation of church and state, it becomes a matter of privacy. No one has a right to look in my bedroom window, nor do they have a right to criticize who is a guest in my bedroom. (Good Goddess, I despise Bauer, and now I have to defend him?! Just as I despise Sanford for his ruin of SC, but still believe his affair not to be my business. I can criticize how he spent money, or where he was if we had an emergency - his love life and emails are not my business). Clinton was an excellent president, but we remember his scandal. Certainly poor behavior should not be condoned, but it cannot be legislated. And as long as sex is a media commodity, it override other media attention.

    Worse, as long as the accusation "he's gay" can cost someone there poltical office, then we obviously have a problem. Being married is okay. Being single is okay. But loving someone of the same sex suddenly brings into question your morals and values, whether you are conservative or libral.

    Somedays I just want to smack 'em all. Ya know? Arg.