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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Schock tactics spur gay Republican outrage

The president of the Log Cabin Republicans says we all have a civic duty to cover for gay conservatives who want to flourish in the hothouse of a party that despises their ilk, and to protect them from the consequences of making laws that hurt their own:

Here's an item from former wunderkind Congressman Aaron Schock's hometown paper:

While in office, Schock was given this crucial political advice:

Dude, stop acting so gay.

That sounds like something you’d hear in junior high, not the inner sanctums of Congress. But, according to court filings this week, Schock’s first chief of staff warned the congressman about doing “things that seemed ‘gay.’”

Now, the high-minded among us might say, “Why does it matter whether Schock is gay? Who cares?”

Schock, that’s who. At least, that’s what his court filings say. He was worried about being pegged as gay, so he was warned to stop acting “gay.”

Like I said, weird.

In the end, maybe none of this matters. But it does give a glimpse as to the utter strangeness of politics.

Schock’s sexuality has always been the subject of snort-and-giggle speculation on the fringe of Schock World. Now it’s dead-center bombast, at the core of his attorneys’ charges of prosecutorial malfeasance. Among other allegations, Schock’s lawyers say the government went on a gay-baiting witch hunt to try to make him look bad in front of a federal grand jury...

Were “gay” perceptions important? Yes, to Schock. He was miffed about speculation doubting that he was straight.

Federal agents questioned Steven Shearer, Schock’s first chief of staff. According to the filings, Shearer said, “Schock was upset with the blogs and media comments about his sexuality. Schock denied the allegations and resented the accusations.”

So, as a top aide, Shearer offered stern advice. According to the documents, “Shearer believes that Schock did things that seemed ‘gay.’ Shearer criticized Schock on behaving in a way that would make people question his sexuality. Shearer has no evidence of Schock being ‘gay.’”

The documents don’t say how Schock might’ve “seemed gay.” Downton Abbey decor? The teal belt? Shirtless poses? Ariana Grande post? Gym fanaticism? Maybe.

For all we know, maybe Shearer and other aides further admonished Schock to avoid watching “Ellen,” plucking his eyebrows or toting tiny dogs. After all, paparazzi are positively everywhere.

If that sounds stereotypical, that’s the point. Do any of these labels really matter? Apparently, yes, to Schock & Co. — not just back then but apparently now. Though Schock’s attorneys vilify prosecutors’ sexuality inquiries as “irrelevant” and “offensive,” they also seem to go to great length to stress Schock’s refutation of any hint of gayness.

The judge will decide whether Schock’s sexuality has any bearing on the criminal case. But apparently his sexuality had a big bearing on his political machinations.

Again, like I said, weird.

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