Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

July 24, 2005

John Roberts and the “Politics of Personal Destruction”

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:00 am

Does anyone remember how Clinton’s supporters called for an end to the “Politics of Personal Destruction” in connection with the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal? Or how Kerry’s supports used the same phrase to accuse Bush during the 2004 campaign?

Well let’s see what some Democrats think is perfectly legitimate discourse, now that Bush has nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

First, the liberal blog Daily Kos accused Judge Roberts’ son of being gay:

Did You Catch His Wife

When Roberts thanked his family, he mentioned his son, Jack…Roberts’ wife’s face fell. It was like a poker tell. I think we should research Jack.

He’s probably gay

Of course, this is how ridiculous rumors get started, but extreme conservatives seem to have a lot of homosexual children…

It took nearly a full day before someone on that blog noticed that:

Say What?

Dude….the kid is FOUR YEARS OLD.

Well hey, don’t liberals believe that people are born gay or straight? If so, then why can’t a four-year-old be gay? (I mean, if you accept the usual liberal assumptions).

Of course, it couldn’t end there. Now, several commentators including Ann Althouse, Wonkette,
Reasoned Audacity
are saying that a New York Times article seems calculated to imply that Judge Roberts himself is gay. As Ann Althouse put it:

I do think the NYT piece was subtly constructed to plant this idea. Just look at the series of photographs they chose: young John in plaid pants, young John with his boys’ school pals, young John in a wrestling suit with his fellow wrestlers, John with footballers, and — the final pic — John smiling in an all-male wedding photograph. The article also says Roberts married his wife when both were in their forties and that that their children were adopted.

Now you would think that this is really weird, because the oh-so-tolerant liberals are always claiming there’s nothing wrong with being gay and the conservatives (like Judge Roberts?) are the ones who were intolerant. But of course it’s not that simple. Turns out it’s OK only when liberals are gay. Conservatives who are gay should be publicly humiliated for it.

Even more revealing, there is an extensive argument in the Ann Althouse’s comments as to whether it is ethical to “be gay” but choose live a straight live, marry a person of the opposite sex, raise children, and so on. I thought liberals were supposed to be “pro-choice.” Some things, you can’t believe even if you see them… .

And, of course, the Los Angeles Times is attacking Judge Roberts’ wife. No partriarchal, chauvanistic, don’t-attack-the-ladies chivalry there at the Times. After all, there’s a scandal! The scandal is … (drumroll please) …

Wife of Nominee Holds Strong Antiabortion Views
By Richard A. Serrano, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — While Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.’s views on abortion triggered intense debate on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, there is no mistaking where his wife stands: Jane Sullivan Roberts, a lawyer, is [Gasp!] ardently against abortion.

A Roman Catholic [Oh, the horror!] like her husband [more horror!], Jane Roberts has been deeply involved [deeply!] in the antiabortion [crime syndicate!] movement. She provides her name [gasp!], money [gasp!] and professional advice [gasp!] to a small Washington organization — Feminists for Life of America — that offers counseling and educational programs [gasp!]. The group has filed legal briefs [indecent!] before the high court challenging the constitutionality of abortion [, truth, justice, freedom, and the the abolotion of slavery and child sacrifice -- wait, scratch that last one].

Gosh, I think we need a special prosecutor for this one!

(Hat tip for the first link I saw on this: Clayton Cramer.)

5 Responses to “John Roberts and the “Politics of Personal Destruction””

  1. ollie Says:

    Oh come on. Yeah, sometimes people on the left slip into poor taste. Remember Rush Limbaugh’s remark about “you know that the White House has a cat (socks) and now they have a dog and flashed up a photo of 13 year old Chelsea?

    As far as double standards, here is why: the right wing doesn’t hesitate to use gay rights as a wedge issue to win elections. Were the right wing to fully embrase gay rights, then there would be no more issue made of it. But, it seems to us that the right wingers are a “do as we say, not as we do” type of group. (perhaps unfair, but hey, it is much easier to see faults in others than it is to see your own) :)

  2. ollie Says:

    Of course, I meant “embrace”. When it comes to spelling, I have something in common with
    Senator Quayle. :)

  3. marc Says:

    Of course this came from claytoncramer.com. The man is obsessed with his opposition to homosexuality and to anyone who takes the subject lightly.

    The main error here is a failure on the part of both you and Mr. Cramer to have a sense of humor, which is typical of staunch conservatives — they’ve never laughed at a joke that wasn’t actually a partisan insult. Those blogging posts were more or less tongue-in-cheek, quite obviously so, and I would suggest a strong dose of “lighten up” to the both of you.

    The other, more noteworthy error, is the inflated sense of importance attributed to the blogsphere, demonstrated here. Suddenly, one guy’s blog becomes a representative for “liberals” everywhere. And let’s not stop at the blogger, himself — now, buttinsky comments & responses from those bloggers’ peanut galleries are now apparently considered to be Official Liberal Press Releases, too. So for that, another “lighten up!”

    (By the way, the irony of *this* comment is not lost on me. :) )

    More seriously, your note about “choice” and the morality of a gay man living the straight life — how can you weigh in on this issue, when you use “be gay” in scare quotes — thus implying that you do not accept the notion that someone “is” gay, to begin with?

    That aside, it’s NOT moral for such an individual — that is, someone who pretty much knows that he IS gay, however much he may not like it — to marry (a heterosexual partner) and raise children. Why? Because the odds are very strongly in favor of that person, one day, changing his mind and losing his resolve to continue in a life that does come naturally to him. And the emotional harm caused to his wife and children when that separation or divorce happens is not an acceptible risk. Neither is the risk of physical harm when he gets unsafe “action” on the sly and then infects his wife with HIV, as has been known to occur. Frequently.

    It’s no one’s prerogative to make those risk choices for someone else — an unknowing wife, or a yet-unborn child.

    You seem eager to risk women’s and children’s health and well-being just to prove a point — that homosexuality is a choice. And why is homosexuality so horrible? Oh, right — it’s a threat to families.


  4. notyou Says:

    God, people argue for the sake of arguing. The Roberts kid looked to be somewhat hyper but but the then most little boys that age aren’t impressed or happy to be at stodgy adult functions for hours. It just so happened that at THIS particular occasion Mom could not snag his little butt and yank him into line without someone opposed to her husband making a colossal galactic deal out of it and somehow smear the judge with it.

    As for Conservatives being homophobic, well I sure hope GWB is not b/c it looks to me like Rove, McClellan, Mehlman and others ain’t exactly Mr. Macho.

  5. Different River Says:

    Politics, Prejudice, and Hypocrisy
    I really have to resume blogging, since I have so many posts backed-up in my brain, but it’s hard to get back in the groove. I’m going to start by addressing some comments in the previous post, John Roberts and the “Politics of Personal Destructio…

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