So another Republican “family values” stalwart turns up gay as a goose. (h/t yuriwho at GOS)
My first reaction was that the seemingly endless GOP of sexual-bigotry-fail is becoming regular enough to resemble how I remember the what the DJ back home in the Bay Area said about the weather for six months at a time: “Coastal fog, extending inland night and morning, clearing by midday.”* And then the announcer would continue, “Oh, and you can tell its spring: Mr. and Mr. Joe and James Doe called in this A.M. to report the first sighting of a Republican politician up in the Castro in full seasonal plumage: chaps, suspenders and not much else.”
OK — I made that last part up, but you get the idea.
Which is to say that I’ve almost completely stopped paying attention to GOP “family values” guys’ same-sex stumbles. Mayor Greg Davis (R) of Southaven, Miss is certainly in a heap of trouble, all of it of his own making. The hypocrisy involved is nauseating, but surplus to requirements. The actual governance of those involved so often contains more than ample evidence of the gap between rhetoric and action that one’s outrage circuits should trip long before we get to the queston of where the parties of the second part place their genitals.
I can’t say I’m entirely immune to the joys of schadenfreude, though. When those most determined to crush the everyday happiness of others get caught, I do chortle a bit. It’s not kind, I know: all sorts of folks get hurt by the toxic collision of the closet and ambitions at odds with one’s self. But still, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t break out a malicious grin.
This latest case, though, reminds me why that’s such a treacherously easy response. There’s a reason I don’t care about politician’s sex lives. It lies hidden in plain sight in this fact in the report on Mayor Davis:
Greg Davis, the Republican mayor of Southaven, Miss., is embroiled in a spending scandal after state auditors requested receipts for $170,000 (U.S.) in improper charges he made to the city.
That’s the nub of the story. Mississippi state officials found that Davis stole a ton of money from a town of fewer than 50,000 people.
That his spending spree included “a $67 charge at a store called Priape, which bills itself as “Canada’s premiere gay lifestyle store and sex shop,” is hardly the point. Rather, it is that this politician used his power to rob the citizens he allegedly served. His friends and those from whom he derived power got to share in some fine meals. (Davis is reported to be a good tipper, which I suppose is a mark in his favor, even if it was OPM that fueled his generosity.) There was mention of pineapple mojitos — an aesthetic error I might forgive in a friend, but not here.
And, oh yeah, one register slip for some sex toy that set him (or rather Southaven) back about .04% of the total he misappropriated.
Politicians of all parties get caught up in this sort of thievery, of course; it’s only the gay/family values thing that is distinctively a trope for the modern GOP. But I’ll go all partisan and mean here and say that the belief that government exists not to govern, but to transfer wealth from public to private hands is clearly a GOP crusade these days.
So if simple corruption knows no party — and it doesn’t, I’ll say again — this case reminds me that the legal corruption of our politics these days does make that distinction. Democrats are hardly blameless — not when you look at the inadequacy of the assignment of risk and loss in the banking and housing crisis, for example. But their sins are venial to the mortal ones with which the Republican party seems bent on for just one example, raising middle class taxes to preserve the tax advantages of the rich.
So, yeah, I’m still grinning about the petard explosion that has lifted the miserable Mayor Davis off the deck. But it’s a distraction, and as such more useful to the GOP than to those fighting to reclaim even a sliver of public space from those who would rob my son of what his father enjoyed as if by right.
*I swear. I thought the scene in L.A. Story where the Steve Martin character pre-records the weather report was, in fact, industry practice in my part of the world. Boston, as they say, is different.
Image: John James Audubon, American Robin c. 1832.
When you lie about little things, it makes it easier to lie about big things. When it comes to ethics and corruption, where there is smoke, there is fire.
If the Dems ever get back in control and the Republicans revert to their rightful role as the minority party throttling progress one thing that would serve them greatly (and all of us by extension) would be an internal ethics committee. Plenty of people in Congress knew what the Keating 5 were up to, Rep Foley, Gingrich, Hastert and I’ll bet some had a good idea about Rep Wiener’s wiener problem.
There should be a team of senior party types who would approach them & say “straighten up or get outed”. If they don’t behave toss them to the wolves & let the public know you will not tolerate bad behavior. Do this for the basest of reasons, to protect the party. The fact that it would be good for government and the American people would just be a happy coincidence.
You DO realize what a shitstorm you are about to unleash with the phrase “gay as a goose”, don’t you?
Whats wrong with Gay Goose? My favorite vodka.
Geese are gay?
I have decided that for many Republications the idea of “family values” depends
Stealing public monies is only a sin if a black politician or other Democrat did otherwise distract them with something else they hope people pay more attention to.
Being gay is always a sin but they only feel bad for Republican/conservatives otherwise they are part of some vast homo agenda.
Cheating on your wife is ignored only for Republicans, otherwise they are the WORST sinner ever and people shouldn’t trust them to run the government (or whatever) if their wives can’t trust them to be faithful.
Someone, I can’t remember who, said that evangelicals (or in this case conservatives/Republican politicians) believe that Jesus died for our our sins and we are automatically forgiven which gives them permission to be little shits like many people are. Not doing the bad things (not that being gay is bad though it is to the religions/conservative) in the first place is completely beside the point and completely unnecessary.
I’m most amazed that you could get a pineapple mojito in Mississippi. Is our southerners learning?
/apologies to Oxford residents
The whole “family values” mythos is the distraction. For some reason, hanging a picture of Jesus in your window gives you license to loot the city treasury. People don’t ask questions. People don’t complain. After all, he shows up every Sunday in his best suit and shoes, so who would dare call the man a thief?
The joke in all this is that it seems like stepping around the social taboos of the Church would be a small price to pay for $170k tax payer hand-out. And yet, these people are so brazenly corrupt that they’ll blow their hard stolen money at public sex shops because they honestly don’t believe they’ll ever get caught.
Why don’t they believe they’ll ever get caught? Because they do the Good Christian dance and everyone believed it. I like to think that as faith-based politics erodes, politicians won’t be free to hide behind it and perform their shinanery. Maybe if we get rid of the sacred cows, we can get back to the business of running the state. :-p
Villago Delenda Est
In a way, this is similar to the Sanford case; the official malfeasance is trivial to the morons of the media, but the sex…be it gay or straight…is all they focus on.
Sanford’s TRUE crime was his dereliction of duty; it would have been there even if he was only hiking on the Appalachian Trail, not chasing Argentine tail. But the media only got interested in this when they found out about the tail.
Also, this post rocks. Awesome.
Well, I bet Xmas dinner is gonna be awkward at the Davis house. Good.
170 large buys an awful lot of dildoes…
Or so I’m told. Wouldn’t know personally, as I’ve never had that much money.
Butt plugs, poppers, and Elbow Grease?
One winter, there was a meteorologist convention in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the visiting weathermen from somewhere where the weather never changes was allowed to take the weather slot on the evening news broadcast. Snow was coming in. And snow in Cleveland is different on the west side than it is on the east side. Sometimes, there is a temperature difference, too, because of the lake effect. And the suburbs are frequently affected differently yet. This visiting weatherman was in heaven. He gave nothing but solid information for about 6 or 7 minutes and had a really good time. It was cute to watch.
@Keith G: And Molson Golden.
Tone in DC
The GOProud lodge must be getting ptretty full by now.
Anybody care to speculate what exactly a “very conservative, progressive individual” is beyond the obvious “progressive for me, conservative for thou” behavior, closely akin to the “all my sins are preforgiven but you are hellbound hellbound hellbound and Morally Unfit!” old-time religion.
In the south (CA) it was EarlyMorningFogAndLowCloudsClearingByMidAfternoonTemperaturesInTheHighSixtiesOrMidToLowSeventies.
Villago Delenda Est
Sounds like the weather report in Summer for Augusta, GA, but jack the temps up about 20-30 degrees, and oh by the way, it’s the oppressive humidity.
Yeah, this has been pretty hilarious to watch down here. I almost wish I could go back in time and vote for Davis — he couldn’t have voted any worse than Travis Childers, and it would be delicious to go into the 2012 election season in North Mississippi with a larcenous outed Republican running for reelection with (most likely) a Mormon plutocrat at the top of the ticket. Instead, we’re stuck with Alan Nunnelee who will probably run unopposed.
I’m just wondering why he ordered his toys from a store in my neck of the woods.
I mean, I could understand the selection in Miss. is a bit sparse, but Southaven is suburban Memphis, surely there would be a store in the downtown? Also, NOLA is south on I55.
Has he been doing this since back in the day when the US-Can exchange rate wasn’t near par, and he hasn’t changed stores? Did he think the receipt would be in French and no one would be able to read it if it was found?
He probably got it in Memphis. Southaven is just over the state line. Fifteen years ago it was a country town of about 1800, mostly black. Then Whitehaven – the south Memphis neighborhood where the whites originally fled in the 1950s and 60s – started getting a little too near (IYKWIMAITYD) and so Southaven became the next haven. It’s now the most Republican town in the most Republican county in Mississippi.
Please tell me this was a small town founded in the 1800s by John Whitehaven, not a suburb created by Klan Realty
I can only assume he was here for Pride, and found himself short of supplies.
(Nice nick, btw. Maybe I need to personalize mine)
“Gay as a goose”? Well, I can’t speak to the sexual preferences of certain waterfowl, so I go with “gay as pink shoes.”
I don’t have a problem with a gay mayor, or even a gay Republican, and I’m not crazy about outing someone just for the sake of outing; it makes it sound as if there’s something wrong with being gay. However, I am fully in favor of outing someone who has made money or made other people miserable by their hypocrisy of voting against LGBT issues or pronouncing them as evil while they have been patronizing glory holes, tea rooms, and rent boys. All bets are off.
Villago Delenda Est
The bigger problem is that he was using public funds for his private pleasures. It frankly does not matter if those pleasures were straight or gay, or, in fact, had nothing to do with sex at all.
@Canuckistani Tom: Seriously. Originally founded by a Colonel White but it, shall we say, grew into its name. Graceland is there.
@Mustang Bobby: I like David Ehrenstein’s “Gay as a Disney cow”.
@Joey Maloney: I just remind myself that Big Star was from Memphis and then shut everything else out.
There’s corruption (bribery & theft via political power) on the individual political level, and there’s the same on an institutional and class level.
Democrats may (not looking at any stats, just guessing) be as likely to advantage themselves as individual politicians via this sort of theft and favoring parties in contracts.
The Republican Party as an institution openly views the levers of power as a machine to be used to rob, and not just to personal benefit, but to (a) benefit their political power; (b) benefit the economic and social super-upper classes whom they are and with whom they identify; and (c) maybe more importantly, destroy the capacity of Democrats to do anything else with this wealth and power.
It’s different. I don’t say this out of pro-Democrat affiliation, but due to generations of history and even formal work by scholars on the patterns of class domination and the use of political power in this country, and in particular the last generation’s super-transformation of the Republican party.
I know, I know, it seems to so many people that only bloggers and fiction writers could possibly be capable of planning out political manipulation at higher levels than momentary individual greed, and that anything too systematic must therefore be conspiracy theory, but, really, it’s there, and the difference matters.
There is a certain kind of individual, by no means always gay, who gets off on the illicit nature of certain sexual activities. Thus, for example, the politician who opposes equal rights for gays, but gets caught soliciting sex in the men’s restroom. Of course he opposes equal rights for gays–that would spoil the fun!
Diaper Vitterman can attest to the fact that is you have sex outside of marriage, be contrite. LA overwhelmingly supported his reelection. Of course, he was not gay so there’s that.
The Republic of Stupidity
Oh, fark teh kindness at this point…
I point and howl like a laughing hyena…
It’s impossible to not recognize Audubon, btw…
While yer at it, if yer going to do some Americana, any chance you can find a reason to post some of K Bodmer’s Indian paintings from the 1830’s Missouri River Expedition w/ Prinz Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied? Or/and perhaps some Caitlin?
I’m so jaded by the repetitive nature of this story. I can’t get over the “very conservative, progressive individual” self-description. I guess that means only gay on road trips. The poor guy’s internal conflicts can’t get past one sentence.
Business on the top, party in the back. Conservative in Miss., progressive sex toy buying on the road. Interesting variation on the girlfriend in Canada meme.
I NEED AN ADULT!
Conventional wisdom has it that the two biggest cities in Mississippi are Memphis, TN and New Orleans, LA.
It’s a matter of relative deprivation. (Look it up if you think I’m calling Davis deprived.)
People who aspire to offices like mayor, state rep, etc. do so because of envy of others’ power and wealth. But when they get there, their frame of reference shifts, and then they “find out” that they’re small fry.
Mayor of Southaven? That’s nothing compared to U.S. Congressman. That’s why Davis put himself up against Childers: people like him want more and more power to compete with those they envy.
But that envy also makes them sullen and bratty: I came all this way, they think, and I’m not getting what I deserve for it. I’m not getting what that guy has.
So they rob from the taxpayer, from their company, whatever, to “make up” for what they’re sure they deserve but don’t have. They rush to exploit their power in whatever way they can, and as most psychologists would guess, sexual escapades are a big draw.
(Sociologists, I know, often don’t speak of ‘envy’ when talking about relative deprivation. However, I do, because I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with envy, per se, just with what criminals do about it.)
Are there actually any straight Republicans, or is the party just an elaborate ploy to provide cover for closeted gays?
I’ll add my voice to El Cid’s.
Power corrupts, and it will corrupt members of both parties. Put Democrats in control of Congress for a couple of decades, and you’ll get a Rostenkowski, who abuses the House’s franking privileges. Put Republicans in control for one session, and you get a money-shoveling apparatus guided by the likes of Abramowski, and eagerly manned by the whole caucus from the top down.
There’s a simple reason for the disparity. Democrats begin running for office believing government can do good things for the people at large, so they begin by trying to do good things for people. Republicans begin with the conviction that government can do the people no good, so from the get-go they figure they might as well use that power to do a little good for themselves. Their ideology guarantees they will take the oath of office already corruption-ready.