Monday, November 06, 2006


I can't help but feel a tinge of guilt in limiting my Haggardgate thoughts to commenting on this. But as it's plausible that a few in the array of marriage initiatives appearing on state ballots tomorrow will succeed, some framing of the intellectual background is called for.

As if the elections were still weeks away, an ugly meme is readied - noting what a pity it would be if Haggard's sad duplicity would tarnish the reputation of authentically heterosexual homophobes and gay-baiters. The cynicism of this particular piece really is overwhelming. If a sane, secular conservative lacked a reason to dismiss the Republicans tomorrow, this ought to suffice.

The most obvious question begged by the piece - and I'm prepared to dismiss out of hand the several questions Klinghoffer himself asks "rhetorically" - is this: what would the author construe as success for his comrades in the culture war? By what metric does Klinghoffer decide that Haggard - the closeted, homosexual drug-user at the sword's point of the theocon movement - "ably fought against" the opponents of gay marriage bans and theocracy? What do the religious Right have to gain from not discrediting Haggard? This 'defense' of Haggard's gay-bashing credentials ranks right alongside George Bush's estimation of Donald Rumsfeld's "fantastic" job performance. If this is what the theocons are willing to settle for, I'm not sure that gays or secularists have much to fear. Next question: given Klinghoffer's befuddling assumption that law and government are naturally, traditionally fit to "endorse" one normative conception of marriage, is Klinghoffer really satisfied with the result of this endeavor? Is Klinghoffer actually persuaded that the average straight adult is growing more and more "in control of his sexual appetites" as the church-state courtship matures?

Since it is apparently National Borat Week, I couldn't make it through the piece without hearing Kazakhstan's #2 journalist's catchphrase: "Succeeeess!"