In the wake of closeted Sen. Larry Craig’s self-outing in an airport men’s room this summer, word from Washington says more revelations are coming about the secret sexual identities of two leading GOP senators, while two allegedly gay Republican congressmen are making headlines and drawing unwelcome attention to themselves, the timing of which could not be worse.
The senators are Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, from Kentucky. More about them below but first let’s look at two allegedly closeted members of the House, representatives Patrick McHenry and David Drier, who have been in the news lately.
Rep. Patrick McHenry’s Connection to Gay Murderer Confirmed
Rep. McHenry was one of the chief spinmeisters sent out by the House GOP leadership to do damage control after the outing of Rep. Mark Foley last year. McHenry was an interesting choice to spin away the leadership’s culpability in enabling Foley’s misbehavior because, like Foley, there have been persistent rumors about McHenry’s sexuality in the capitol and in North Carolina for years.
The rumors came to a boil in May when one of McHenry’s aides — who also shared digs with him — Michael Aaron Lay, 26, was indicted for voter fraud in North Carolina:
The indictment charges that [Lay] illegally cast his ballot in two 2004 Congressional primary run-offs in which McHenry was a candidate. The charges indicate that Lay voted in a district where it was not legal for him to vote.
At the time Lay was listed as a resident in a home owned by 32-year-old McHenry but campaign records indicate Lay’s paychecks were sent to an address in Tennessee. McHenry won the primary by only 86 votes. According to Gaston County, North Carolina District Attorney Locke Bell, Lay was indicted on Monday, May 7 by a local grand jury.
Now McHenry has been connected to the triple murder-suicide in Orlando last month in which the closeted gay former executive director of the Georgia GOP, Ralph Gonzalez, and his straight roommate, David Abrami, were shot by Jason Robert Drake, a gay ex-Marine.
Originally portrayed as a lover’s quarrel among the three men, recently developed particulars of the case have revealed Drake’s entanglement with a murder related to gay prostitution services in the Washington, D.C., area. It has also come to light that Rep. McHenry was an associate of Gonzalez and Gonzalez’ killer:
When I spoke to McHenry’s office about this they at first insisted they never heard of Drake then, confronted with specifics, admitted they know him. They refused to put Congressman McHenry on the phone. There is every indication that McHenry may have been one of the Republican elected officials who was using the services of the gay prostitution agency connected to Drake.
The North Carolina Conservative has more:
Another, more sinister motive [for the triple suicide-murders] has been put forth by several sources, including CrimeBlog.us. Reporters there say that Drake was associated with the owner of a gay escort service in the Virginia Beach area. The owners of that escort service are facing charges that they murdered the owner of a rival company catering to the gay community…
Sources tell The North Carolina Conservative that Drake volunteered on several Republican campaigns in western North Carolina, and was an associate of Congressman Patrick McHenry. Gonzalez is also believed to have been associated with McHenry in the past. Since being elected, McHenry has attempted to insure that all elected officials in his district are his supporters and cronies. This has caused a very nasty political war of attrition in the 10th District. Sources say that Drake worked on these campaigns as a surrogate of McHenry.
Aside from the gay angle, the murders of Gonzalez and Abrami have been tied to a suspicious suicide through Gonzalez’ connection to allegedly corrupt Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Florida. Gonzalez also worked with Christian politico Ralph Reed and Sheri McInvale, an indicted state pol in Florida.
Rep. David Dreier Gets Comfy Addressing Colombian Congress
Rep. Dreier, a senior House Republican was outed in 2004, but the public didn’t seem to notice. If he wants to keep it that way, he should avoid making a spectacle of himself, as he did last week in front of the Colombian legislature:
A U.S. congressman said on Thursday he meant no offense when he hoisted himself onto the lectern of Colombia’s lower house to address his Andean colleagues, some of whom were offended or simply amused by the faux pas.
Colombian newspapers carried pictures of Rep. David Dreier, a California Republican, sitting on top of the wooden podium and talking with local legislators on Tuesday while on an official visit…
“I have the highest regard for the Congress of Colombia,” Dreier told reporters in Bogota. “I meant absolutely no offense … I simply wanted to demonstrate my warm feeling and affection.”
Dreier was outed by Doug Ireland, who writes the column Direland in the LA Weekly, who was motivated by Dreier’s perfect record of voting against gay civil rights:
The “outing” was a result of Dreier coming under increasing scrutiny from gay rights groups because of what they characterize as an anti-gay voting record in Congress, which includes support of the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as votes against gay adoption, and against inclusion of homosexuality as a protected status in hate crime and employment discrimination legislation.
When Tom DeLay was removed as House Majority Leader in 2005, Dreier was Speaker Dennis Hastert’s pick to replace DeLay on an interim basis, but other House leaders quashed the move because Dreier is gay. The fact that Dreier is apparently happy to stay in a party that penalizes him because of who he is speaks volumes.
South Carolina Republicans Would Be Unhappy to Learn that Sen. Lindsey Graham Is Gay
If it were to come out that McCain’s Mini-Me, Sen. Graham, is gay, his chances of being reelected in South Carolina next year would drop to zero:
Lindsey Graham (R-SC), an unmarried/never married 52 year old with a funny, forced way of walking, has been far more fastidious with his homosexuality [than former Rep. Mark Foley was]. Again, “everyone” knows– except the voters in conservative South Carolina. Not that it doesn’t come up from time to time; people talk. In fact, the head of the Democratic Party in South Carolina said something when the effeminate Lindsey decided to run for Thurmond’s senate seat. “He’s a little too light in the loafers” to succeed Strom Thurmond. Graham got into a really queenie tizzy fit and loudly threatened to sue– although he didn’t. (They never do.)
Other famous never-married GOP figures in their 50s include White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice.
Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Won’t Explain Why He was Expelled from the Army after 10 Days
Howie Klein reported last spring:
With Kentuckians growing more and more restless with their senator’s role in perpetuating the Bush Regime’s pointless “Stay The Course” agenda in Iraq, Mitch McConnell is facing a tough re-election battle next year. This has been exacerbated as it becomes more and more known that he has been a closeted gay man for decades while pushing an anti-gay agenda. He must be breathing a sign of relief today as the progressive group Americans United for Change has made its plans known that they will be tackling McConnell only on his role in advancing the Bush Regime’s war policies.
Klein told Counterpunch:
“Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s quick expulsion from the Army — for fondling a private’s privates — is finally being discussed in Kentucky.” He notes that McConnell, discharged after just 10 days in the Army in 1967, “has consistently prevented anyone from seeing his military discharge papers” but a Freedom of Information suit may bring them to light. (After the revelation of Craig’s arrest and confession, McConnell cosigned a statement with other top Republican legislators stating, “This is a serious matter” and indicating he is examining “other aspects of the case to determine if additional action is required.”)
As we noted last week, Republicans painted themselves into this gay corner when they formed their star-crossed coalition with Christian nationalists in 1979. It was never a good fit. Country club Republicans don’t generally care about discussing family values, and going to church is not the central focus of their lives — not hardly.
The GOP could find itself right back where it was after Watergate. Bush and his toadying to the Christian right have driven away the right-leaning independents. Without the support of the poor, dumbass so-called Christians, there aren’t enough country clubbers and anti-taxers out there to win a national election. Status quo circa 1977.
If the secret lives of any of these men are revealed as the election cycle ratchets up, the Christianists could well seek solace in a third party next year, leaving the GOP’s Washington elite literally without a base to stand on.