A Double-Standard?

A note from my colleague David Almasi:

Like the liberals who are trying to derail the Bush presidency over the 16 words about Iraq and uranium in his State of the Union address, liberals earlier this year tried to end the career of Senator Rick Santorum for this statement: “If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.” Former congressional Majority Leader Dick Armey is still followed by the 1995 slip of the lip when he referred to gay congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) as “Barney Fag” (a co-worker at the time told me that she heard about it when NPR broke from regular programming to cover it as if a war had started). When conservatives say something offensive — or are perceived to have done so (in the case of Santorum) — out come the knives.

Considering this hypersensitivity to anything considered anti-gay, why has there not been an outcry over Congressman Fortney “Pete” Stark? On July 18, according to the Washington Times, he called his colleague Scott McInnis (R-CO) a “fruitcake,” and threatened a fight. If it had been the other way around, and McInnis uttered the anti-gay slur, you can imagine it would have been the top of the news for days.

Stark is no stranger to the art of low blows. Consider these few (of many) examples:

* In March of 2002, he inferred on the House floor that the Republican Party operated like Hitler’s National Socialist Party.

* He refused to join a House resolution marking former President Ronald Reagan’s 90th birthday.

* In 2001, he referred to President George W. Bush as the “anti-Christ.” When speaking about Medicare reform and prescription drug benefits, he complained during a hearing that “I don’t think the President had to pay a penny when he went to [Alcoholics Anonymous], and my impression is that it’s still free.”

* In another hearing, on welfare reform, he alleged that the children of House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (R-OK), a black man, “were all born out of wedlock.”

* Criticizing the 1991 Gulf War, he blamed the conflict on his “Jewish colleagues” — especially “Field Marshall” Stephen Solarz (D-NY).

Is there a double standard here? Not to be politically incorrect myself, but: Is the Pope Catholic?

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