Not all Republicans make good pets.


A guy once told me a story about a kitten he gave to his sister to help her get over a nasty break-up with her boyfriend. The girl was devastated by her beau’s departure and big brother was determined to get her out of the funk.

So he goes to this sketchy animal shelter and picks out an adorable, but half-dead kitten (my friend was on the cheap side). After a few days of warm milk and TLC, the little kitty regained its health and was presented to the grieving sister.

Soon, sister and kitten became inseparable companions and the boyfriend was forgotten. A success story that should be profiled in some cat lover magazine, were it not for what developed over time. You see, the kitty was not a cat in the Garfield sense. It was an ocelot. And it grew into a fifteen-pound leaping, clawing menace.

Once the “cat” had taken over home and property, its tyrannical rule drove away the sister’s friends. Even the brother who’d given her the creature was terrified to approach. The sister ended up isolated, but would not part with the creature that delivered her from despair…

That ocelot reminds me of the situation the Republicans find themselves in with the Christian Right. The evangelical crowd pretty much voted as one in the last two presidential elections and gave us George W. Bush. In return, the GOP fed them red meat–a big commotion over gay marriage, anti-abortion justices and lots and lots of rhetoric about God.

But the problem with domesticating zealots and ocelots is that they have scary-bad impulses. And they tend to act on them.

We are witnessing one of the Christian Right’s worst impulses play out as the House Republican Caucus agonizes over the Foley page scandal. Not satisfied with a mere condemnation of Foley’s vile behavior, Tony Perkins and his Family Research Council are using it as an excuse to spread bigotry and intolerance.

The delusional Perkins is convinced that gay people are predisposed to predation and he’s launching a witch hunt that may end up burning the GOP at the stake–losing their congressional majorities will just be the appetizer.

In an article entitled, “Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for Foley Scandal,” Perkins argues that the real issue is “the link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse.” In other words, the Republicans placed children at risk because they had a homosexual in their midst.

Perkins and I suspect most of his followers believe that gays are unfit for any position of authority because you never know when one is going to pounce. Everyone, even the brain-dead GOP leadership knew that was their position. But rather than try and temper and enlighten their fundamentalist allies, the duplicitous Republicans practically encouraged their prejudice, even as they harbored closeted homosexuals in their own ranks.

It now seems all but certain that in the coming weeks either outraged gay activists, dirt-digging right wingers, or Democratic partisans will out these Republicans. There are already lists floating around, their existence has been reported by David Corn, CBS and others.

How will Perkins react when he’s handed evidence that there are more gay Republicans in positions of prominence? Perhaps a powerful committee chairman, chiefs of staff, directors of communication. Will Perkins, et al have a change of heart, or will they demand they be fired en masse?

This has the potential of forcing each and every member of the GOP Caucus to take a stand either in favor of gay rights or paranoiac discrimination. They won’t be able to keep a foot in each camp by posturing behind a constitutional amendment that has virtually no chance of passage. For the GOP, it’s like choosing whether to explode or implode.

My friend’s sister befriended a crazed ocelot; the GOP did much the same by adopting the religious right. Neither one had any luck housebreaking their pet, and both are condemned to live with them.

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