What's with Florida Republicans anyway?
by bowiegeek, Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 02:07:38 PM EDT
State representative Bob Allen of Florida (R - Merrit Island) was arrested yesterday by an undercover officer for soliciting oral sex in a public restroom at a Brevard County park. There are conflicting reports about how it went down, but investigators claim that they were initially tipped off by his suspicious behavior: repeatedly entering and exiting the restroom. What's been especially, and comically, unclear until now is whether Bob Allen offered to pay the officer $20 in order to perform said act, or whether he offered to perform the act for $20.
Police revealed new details about Allen's arrest on Thursday. His arrest affidavit says Allen followed the male undercover officer into the men's restroom and then, after talking to him from over the stall door, Allen stepped into the officers stall with him and stood against the door.
According to the report, Allen asked the officer, "This is kind of a public place isn't it?" The officer replied, "Do you have somewhere else we can go?" Allen then responded, "How about across the bridge? It's quiet over there."
The conversation continued and, police said, Allen told the officer he wanted the undercover officer to ride with him to the wildlife refuge and Allen would give him the $20 and perform the sexual act on the officer there.
The money was never exchanged because, as soon as they left the bathroom, the lawmaker was arrested.
Ironically, Bob Allen sponsored a failed Florida bill that would dramatically expand what constitutes a felony lewd public sex act to include images and video of voluntary exposure online. Also, Bob Allen is the chair of John McCain's presidential campaign in Florida which may be especially disconcerting for McCain since he has recently blamed his campaign woes on the "gay sweaters" he was forced to wear by his staff. (Personally, I thought they were a nice touch.)
All of this brings back the question of gay Republican lawmakers: what the hell do they think they're doing? For all their honest beliefs about the economy and of national defense and taxes (which know no sexual orientation) they are still affiliated with a party that largely thinks they are misguided at best and at worst degenerates to their core.
I've privately been against attempts by gay activists to shatter these seeming Benedict Arnold careers by intentionally "outing" them 1) because I think it's still a personal issue, and 2) because I've been optimistic that perhaps if a gay person could prove him or herself in the GOP, the party as a whole might reconsider its marginalizing view. But these men recently, Allen and Foley, have just gone to show America wrongly that gay Republicans truly are immoral and helping to reinforce the right-wing view that ceding any moral high ground to the gay community is tantamount to sin. What's likely the case is that these men, sharing similar policy ideals with the Republican party, become so isolated and desperate by the image they must manufacture for themselves that eventually crack and act out causing harm to everyone. What can't be stopped is the existence of gay Republicans. What can't be stopped is an interest in public service among gay Republicans. But can the Republican party change in a way that would minimize these disasters by not promulgating the notion that own morality? They'd be doing themselves a favor. But it's sadly a chicken and egg problem. You can't stop having desperately lonely closeted gay Republicans without a willingness in the party to relax their view of people's personal lives, and you can't have a relaxed view of people's personal lives among Republicans if you have desperately lonely Republican gay legislators who then act out in pathetically destructive ways.
Is it possible to have a gay conservative who isn't a sellout? Is this maybe just some odd Floridian coincidence?