September 23, 2004

I Wasn't Sure

. . . whether to write about the (possible) outing of GOP congressman David Dreier. It's tempting to imagine that the more we say about it, the worse it will be for him. But James wrote about it, and Al Rantel discussed it over the radio last night here in L.A. The toothpaste is out of the tube, and all that. Al Rantel is, of course, fit to be tied. For the record, he repeatedly maintained that it was not clear whether or not this was a real "outing."

That's an important point: I don't think we know for sure at this point whether David Dreier is gay. But then, I don't think a lot of conservatives care about his personal life. That is, after all, the nature of conservatism: what's private is private. The State has no business in your bedroom. The original modern conservative, Barry Goldwater, had a gay son and made it clear that he wasn't interested in legislating morality—or in armed forces weakened by arbitrary rules about whether gays could or could not join.

And I don't think it's hypocrisy for a gay man not to think gay marriage is necessary, for his own happiness or for the good of society. (I happen myself to be in favor of gay marriage, but it's a fine line and I would be happy if there were simply a vehicle for conferring full partnership benefits upon gay couples—including Federal benefits.) It's worth noting that Dreier didn't support the decidedly un-conservative Amendment prohibiting gay marriage. (I tend to think that Amendment was only proposed as political cover: I truly doubt anyone ever expected that turkey to ever succeed.)

But this business of "outing" people has got to be the dirtiest thing I've ever seen in my life. Making the intimate details of people's lives (real or imaginary) a subject of public discourse is disgusting. I am not the least surprised to see Larry Flynt's money behind this, as it was behind the campaign to smear the House Managers during Bill Clinton's Senate trial. (Because God forbid a poor woman like Paula Jones actually have a fair day in court; Clinton's perjury was excusable so the wealthy can retain justice for themselves.)

This "political outing" business is an unbelievable, depraved thing to do. And I hope the people involved feel dirty for the rest of their lives. And I hope Dreier wins re-election by a huge margin, so we can show the left who the real homophobes are.

Hugo is conflicted, but largely negative about outing, thank goodness. Xrlq shows up in his comments section for a lively debate.

BoiFromTroy is unimpressed by the putative "outing": "my advice is, simmer down and get back to me when you have more than innuendo."

Dirty tricks: that's what they've got. It's actually kind of sad.

Posted by Attila at September 23, 2004 12:25 PM

John & Ken are currently trying to oust Dreier because of his failure to do anything about illegal immigration. Fully explained here. Unless there's money involved, no one should care about the gay stuff. And, when Dreier loses it will have been because of immigration matters.

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog at September 23, 2004 09:39 PM

I'd love to have a debate about immigration, actually—particularly if the people to my right really seemed to have any concrete suggestions on how to implement their various ideas as to how we can address this. Such as:

1) how to truly seal the borders without quadrupling the size of the U.S. military, and

2) how to get done all the things that are, at present, being done by undocumented workers.

I mean, I get the fairness argument. I get the "the current situation is unsafe in a 9/11 world" idea. I just don't see alternative solutions that are realistic.

Posted by: Attila Girl at September 23, 2004 10:53 PM

The key way to reduce illegal immigration is to drive up the cost of hiring illegally by fining employers. Less work for illegals translates into fewer coming and some of those who are here leaving. That's something that has been done and has worked in the past.

With fewer illegals the work would be done by legal immigrants, U.S. citizens (from other states if necessary), and automation.

Employers are able to choose between serf labor and automation; not having a pool of serfs would make them use automation. Such machines already exist or could be developed. It's not rocket science.

With fewer people coming over the borders, the job of the Border Patrol would be much easier, and detained aliens wouldn't be released due to lack of jail space as now happens.

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog at September 24, 2004 12:23 PM

There are so many jobs now being done by undocumented workers that cannot be automated, and in many cases the employers are simply middle-class people who need people to do gardening and housework, or work as nannies.

We also cannot automate cleaning motel rooms, or busboy work.

And the border is vast; I don't think our unsuccess in patrolling it has as much to do with the quantity of people coming over as with the sheer thousands of miles involved.

Posted by: Attila Girl at September 24, 2004 06:22 PM

I often wonder if the anti-immigrants are part of the prosperity world. I work in an office of 100 people. about half who earn between 80K and 150K annually. I bet each and every person in our office has some kind of positive contact with an illegal every week. A person who mows our lawn. serves our food, cleans our office, alters our clothes. I really don't understand why people hate them so much.

Posted by: irishlass at September 25, 2004 11:23 PM

Well, it's an interesting question. For one thing, I do believe genuine xenophobia exists. And I think a lot of people are made uncomfortable by even the smallest difference in cultures, and quickly turn to a "blame the immigrants" attitude.

i honestly think there is a segment of those who argue against "illegals" who dislike Latin Americans, and find it more acceptable to say they are against illegal immigration rather than they hate Mexicans.

But not so fast. There are plenty of people of conscience who are nervous about:

* their perception that our current non-system system is irresponsible in a post-9/11 world;

* their concern that blanket amnesties simply encourage a lot more illegal immigration;

* the fact that money from relatives working under the table here is Mexico's second largest revenue stream, behind only oil;

* the "fairness" issue, e.g., there are people waiting patiently in line to get into this country—how can we, in good conscience, let others jump the line ahead of them?

* the probability that some of these people are voting illegally;

* the possibility/certainty (depending upon whom you talk to) that the existence of this class of people in a sort of legal "limbo" create a drain on social services, especially healthcare providers.

Nonetheless, some people really come on strong on this issue, and there's very often something distasteful about it. There's often a tremendous temptation to ask the Two Big Questions:

1) what would you do if you lived in Mexico or El Salvador and were having trouble getting by, and

2) what is fundamentally wrong with a willing buyer of labor negotiating with a willing sellor? Why does the government need to interfere with this?

Posted by: Attila Girl at September 26, 2004 12:33 AM

I wanted to let you know that I just discovered this blog tonight and I think it's extremely well done.
I don't agree with all you have to say, but...
I'll still be sending some of my forum members over here to check you out.

Good work.

Posted by: Jimmy The Clam at September 27, 2004 12:24 AM

Well, thanks!

Posted by: Attila Girl at September 27, 2004 06:15 AM

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

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