Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nastiness in the Illinois Senate Race

Here's an excerpt from an interesting story from the Chicago Tribune.  The front runner cited is Representative Mark Kirk (left).

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Top Illinois Republicans condemned a perennial candidate's decision Monday to air a political ad questioning the sexual orientation of the party's front-runner in the US Senate race.

The Republican Party said it would no longer consider Andy Martin (right) a legitimate candidate.

"His statements today are consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party," said party chairman Pat Brady.

Fellow Senate candidate Patrick Hughes said the radio ad has no place in the campaign. Dan Proft, a GOP candidate for governor, called it repugnant.

The article continues by noting that Kirk's campaign manager said that the ad "is degrading to the political process. The people of Illinois deserve better."

True enough.  But the Republican Party doesn't really make it clear what's degrading about it.  Being called gay?  Or using gay as an insult?  All too often these sorts of accusations -- if one can be "accused" of being gay -- are met with proclamations of disgust and vehement denials.  Another article in the Tribune notes Martin's history of bizarre attacks, including an accusation that George Bush was a cocaine addict.  But the unspoken message is that being gay is the same as having an addictive illness.  Or that being gay is "as bad" as falsely labeling someone as gay. Of course it isn't.  And it will be a good day when someone notes this when denying rumors and false statements.  It will be a better day when we don't have to note this, when calling some gay will be seen as ridiculous as calling someone Catholic or female or -- fill in the blank.

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