In all the post-election media flotsam clogging the airwaves, there's been a lot of discussion of Senator John Ashcroft, the candidate for Bush II's "Justice" department. It seems that there was some very bad planning going on for the Democrats, who have been surprised by the force with which Bush II has ascended the throne, bringing his good-ole-boy pals with him to run the country for him. Did no one see this coming? Did the Asses (pun intended) at the Democratic party have no plan for blocking the GOP's more outrageously biased candidates, should Bush win?
When the nominations came out, the left, gay rights organizers included, was scrambling to put a case together to knock holes in Ashcroft's "Gee whiz, I just wanna do mah job" facade. That he is just-this-side of Joerg Haider (but nearly so good looking) is undeniable for everyone who looks at his track record. Yet it was a surprise. Never mind the fact that anyone who can read a newspaper knows his track record as a backroom wheeler and dealer, casual bigot, and all-around meat puppet for the religious right, but I got all the information necessary about Ashcroft from a web browser and an hour of my time... Why did it take the Democrats, the entire party, several weeks to come up with some feeble arguments about his bias against, oh, some minorities they can't quite remember right now?
Not only that, but they've let the Republicans get away with asking the really tough questions, such as "As a senator, you were very dedicated to the war on drugs... As attorney general, would you continue that commitment to fight illegal drugs?," which is not only worded approximately the way most of us were writing in the third grade, but doesn't actually ask any question at all. Instead, while the Democrats have dragged their legions of asses into first gear, the questioner, Munsters Refugee Strom Thurmond, who is cheating death yet again this year, gets to cruise along in overdrive, leading the GOP in a masturbatory high-five session and slapping backs about the slam dunk they've made with a candidate who shouldn't have even been in the game.
It would take an act of Naivete something like which would appear in Haley Mills' most erotic dreams to believe that no one in the Democratic Party knew who Bush's candidates were going to be for his cabinet. Some serious offensive muckraking should have happened months ago to discourage the Grand Wizard of the government of that bastion of progressiveness and tolerance, Missouri, from pursuing the post. Democrats could have leaked that Ashcroft's nephew had his drug conviction in 1992 mysteriously downgraded from Federal offence carrying jail time to the oh-so-tough-on-drugs probation sentence. Or how he questioned Job applicants about their sexual orientation during interviews in the Mid 80's. Or how he tried to bar the appointment of James Hormel, an openly gay man, to the ambassadorship of Luxembourg, citing his reason, publicly and abundantly, as Hormel's sexual orientation, saying that the US shouldn't promote a "gay lifestyle" by putting him in office.
But that didn't happen. Because the Democratic Party, Bill "vote for me if you're gay" Clinton's party, didn't get its shit together, Senator John Ashcroft, good buddy of Trent Lott and Jerry Falwell, will be appointed as the Attorney General of the United States of America and take over duties such as, oh, appointing Supreme Court Judges. I guess that's just the way the cookie crumbles, huh? With Friends like Charles Schumer of New York getting off zingers like "I have serious misgivings about your nomination to be Attorney General," who needs enemies? Gee, Chas, you really gave him a piece of your mind there. "My Hero!" we're supposed to cry, limp wrists flying to our troubled brows as the Democrats stride in to look like they're saving us from the big bad Republicans, grin for the cameras, and beat it before anyone notices they're gone like the breeze to the safety of the clubhouse for G and T's. Forgive me if I don't applaud. If gay rights suffer in America in the next four years, it'll be nobody's fault but our own. We expect the Republicans to be evil; why didn't we prepare for it? Unfortunately, we expect the Democrats to give a damn. Won't make that mistake again.
Next Month: We move north to Canada, where Gay marriage has already happened...depending on who you ask.
Dr. Pepperspray will be writing similarly pithy and kvetchy columns on Gay Rights, Politics, and Culture over the coming months. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. And yes, that is irony.