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What Propagannon is really about – and the gay angle that cannot remain untouchable

You must go read this DKos diary – Gay facts and fantasies in Propagannon research, by padraig pearse. It’s a really long entry, and it’s worth the click to read all the responses to it.

Basically, the author — “a seasoned gay man of a certain age” — brings it all home about Propagannon and the gay angle. AmericaBlog has touched on it in its reporting on Gannon, but most pointedly in the rise of Ken Mehlman in the GOP. Mike Rogers of BlogActive has been blowing open hypocritical GOP closet doors for some time now.

What padrai pearse does in this essay is break it down to its most basic core — we can follow the money trail of GOPUSA and Bob Eberle, but what this all may come down to for the Right is the fear of exposing its Republican Gay Underworld. It’s a shadowy world of self-hating and horny homos, a gay cabal psychologically in the 1950s closet, where being gay is dirty, nasty, utterly enticing — and blackmailable. [It’s also relevant that these tapes of Bush pre-Presidency have surfaced now — it clearly shows the schism between the reality of the acceptance of gays. Maintaining and obtaining power is dependent on remaining in the shadows.

These folks hate gays that are out and proud because, in the end, they hate themselves and will do anything to protect their public closet. We’re talking about the public political closet here — the one these homos have to stay in to mollify the GOP’s bound-at-the-hip relationship to the evangelical Right. Most of these folks are out to the politicos they work with and sleep with — they just don’t want the fundie audience to know. That “base” has been carefully cultivated and molded by the Rove Machine and without them, the GOP now cannot win an election.

And it’s important to note that this is not just about the Repugs, it’s any politician, or DC news media figure that’s worried about being forced out of the closet by this sleazy Gannon affair. They are going to circle the wagons and try to shut this investigation down. This would explain why, someone like Repug (but popular in the GOP and conservative-voting) Dave Dreier, could be outed, yet mainstream media silence was deafening. The fall of Ed Schrock occurred because he must have been considered small potatoes and expendable. It didn’t help that his over-the-top closet (cruising for men on a phone dating line, complete with recordings) and spotless Christian Coalition homophobic voting record could sink just about any GOP politician.

Here’s a tease of this must-read diary, emphasis in it is mine:

As a seasoned gay man of a certain age I’d like to examine some of the facts that have been unearthed and to infer these facts’ larger meaning from the perspective of a gay “insider”. And I can tell you, from the amount of hand-wringing over the horror of leftie bloggers making a big deal over poor Jeff’s former, and, overlapping career, that they are terrified that the extent of Bush’s intimate Gay network will be exposed.

Given their monstruous treatment of our nation’s Gays, they deserve it. Having ridden to electoral victory by unleashing the worst homophobic bigotry we’ve seen in decades, it is fit and just that this maelstrom of hate turns against them. (I’m sure they know the Bible quote?: “He who sows the wind, reaps the whirlwind”?. In an earthier version I’ve heard the same principal expressed as “He who stirs the shit, gets to eat it”

But the Gay network may also provide substantial clues as to the Dirty Tricks department of Team Bush. I think it likely there is huge overlap.


That many Gay Republicans should prefer the closety games of the 1950s over the open Gay culture that arose out of the post Stonewall era should come as no surprise. They are reactionaries after all. In fact, I know Gay men of a certain age and income who routinely excoriate “the fags” while nonetheless indulging appetites and behaviours that would leave Margaret Spelling’s head spinning. But since the lights are out in their orgy rooms, good Republicans are happy to just overlook and pretend not to see. It is the public avowal of affection that makes them crazy over the gay marriage issue. To compare Gay marriage to a perversion, as right next to bestiality is on the face of it insane. Gay people seeking to have stable monogamous relationships accepted into their families and their communities are, in key respects, far more conservative and traditional than the many gays in the republican party who scuttle around in the shadows, procuring illicit sex and using sites like

I have been with my partner 25 years this summer and I personally am sick and tired of being told that my only option is to have a lavender marriage with an understanding lesbian or a loveless marriage with an unsuspecting woman while trolling public toilets and internet chat rooms on the side. You tell me which of these is the more honorable?


While it might seem thrilling to imagine that Gannon found a sponsor through his website the chances of that are actually next to nil. Far more likely is that he met his sponsor in a more refined setting. In New York there is a piano bar on the East Side that fancies itself a bit of a British gentlemen’s club. The place is filled with older men of means and younger men on the make. Prostitution is never mentioned. For a young gay to quote an hourly rate would be a fatal error. In this refined atmosphere we’re not talking about by the hour rent-boys but long-term investments: what I’ve always called mortgage boys.

The young men on the make are not teenagers. They are reasonably well educated and well groomed; in their late 20s, 30s, even 40s and are all hoping to find an older gentlemen who might “mentor” them.

The reason why $$$ is never discussed is because the true value of the John’s fantasy is that this isn’t just tawdry or naughty but that there is some sort of relationship developing. Somewhere along the line there’ll be college “fees”, medical bills, a car, a cruise, a fortnight in Aspen or the Hamptons. Or, of course, a job. You get the picture.

Anyway, if this was the ruse under which Gannon scored his Sugar Daddy, the Daddy may never have known about the websites and the hooking. Gannon might (as the phantasy required) have similarly fed him a long story. Didn’t Gannon once say he had been living off “savings” – That sounds like a perfectly good way to disguise an illicit cash flow and may well have been the perfect line to feed his sugar daddy. It helped create the impression that Gannon really is one of the boys, one of the club. Well bred, wants to write, has savings or a trust fund. Sound political views. Bingo.

If Gannon really was working the circuit I’m sure he sought to hide his side-line in the Flesh trade and that, in that scenario, his “mentor” may not have known. My short hand reading says – possibly
Eberle told Rove or McClellan that Gannon was cool and -wosh – he’s in
. Everyone knows that these types of events have a front stage and a backstage – we should see if a Jeff Gannon or a JD Gurket is signed in anywhere else in the White House or the Eisenhower Building (Isn’t that what the Old Executive Offices are now called? I haven’t been to DC in decades)

Once it all seems doable and Gannon seems to be fitting in, OR because the Press Room needs this added layer of subterfuge, Talon News is born.


Blackmail is a subtle art and is often used by those nearest to us. I’m not talking about “emotional” blackmail in the pop psychology sense but something more nuanced. In a secretive culture, like the gay underworld – that I wish could finally disappear altogether – blackmail isn’t as crass as open exhortion, the threats are often unspoken. In fact, pressure can be applied in even apparently friendly ways as lovers, ex-lovers, or friends yield simply to accommodate and protect everyone.

Three days ago I spoke with a contemporary of mine, who’d been a regular at CBGB’s and places like the 9th Circle who had become a staunch Republican. Although he lives in DC we met in one of the old 70s landmarks we’d each known 30 years ago as he was visiting New York for a few days. (He was keen to tell me about the Constitution Ball he attended this year.) When I asked him just what all this was about, all these secret gays – the whole pack of them – he gave me one of those looks that says “Girl, this says it all” and said, in a whispered tone, “Karl Rove.”

He refused to elaborate. As he was off-the-record I’ll keep his name off the main dairy for the moment until I speak with him again. I don’t think he’s near as well connected as he’d like to be but I take it – on face value – as a fair estimate of the gossip current in DC’s gay watering holes.

Given the astonishing number of alleged CLOSETED gays in key White House/RNC positions and in their MEDIA outlets it really baffles me how they get away with the amount of malicious and damaging gay baiting they do.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding