Latest GOP smear: “Richard Clarke is GAY!”

[For an explanation of the strikethroughs, see my follow-up post.]

From Wonkette, via Kevin Drum via Mark Kleiman. (You should see all three posts to get the whole picture.):

We have it on semi-reliable authority that the Bush administration’s next attempt to discount Richard Clarke’s credibility will consist of alleging that he’s a big gay. We have a little trouble figuring out how being gay makes you unable to assess threats to a country’s national security — after all, we trust them to tell us what to wear. Still, it is a great strategy.

That is, as long as you don’t believe there any other homosexuals on the Bush national security team.

The new smear effort apparently emerged after CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said on the news that unnamed officials are alluding to “weird aspects” of Clarke’s private life. Kevin Drum, usually more reserved and proper, responds: “What a disgusting gang of thugs and cretins. Hell, I hope they do go public with this, just to show the country their true colors.”

Kleiman also bristles, and says the White House now has three options:

1. Say that they approve of the attack, and that Clarke’s sexual orientation is a legitimate reason to doubt his veracity or his acuity.

2. Say that they don’t think that the attack is really relevant, but that any tactic is legitimate if it weakens a critic of the President.

3. Claim that Wolf Blitzer was making it up, and explain why he would.

4. Denounce the attack in strong terms.

Ï can’t really see a fifth option. This is truly the case where silence gives consent. Anyone who has been attacking Clarke personally has been, in effect, playing on the White House team, and has an ethical obligaton to call the foul.

And since the argument of the Clarke-bashers has been that inconsistencies in his statements mean that anything he says stands discredited, I’d like to hear them explain why this sort of tactic from the White House (on top of the massive internal inconsistencies in the White House anti-Clarke spin) shouldn’t lead us to ignore anything Condi Rice or Dick Cheney says from now on.

This is an administration that will live in infamy. Nothing surprises me now. Shocks, yes. Surprises, no.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 7 Comments

Here’s a fifth option — ignore an unsourced rumor based upon “semi-reliable authority” regarding alleged Republican future intentions that no one has offered a single fact to support.

No one has alleged Clarke is gay. No one has claimed that if Clarke is gay, it is relevant. No politician in their right mind — and being from the PR field I don’t have to tell you this — would allow himself to be dragged into publicly denying an unsourced, unsupported allegation of alleged future intentions.

March 31, 2004 @ 7:40 pm | Comment

Agree. Even the Drudge-Kerry-Intern link wasn’t this tenuous.

March 31, 2004 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

You may be right, but I found it an eerie coincidence that Wonkette wrote the next smear tactic would be to brand Clarke as gay, and then Blitzer makes his reference on TV to how unnamed officials have told him about “weird aspects of Clarke’s private life.” Kleiman and Drum are two of the bloggers I most respect and I find they are usually on-target. But I do see whwere you’re coming from, and I’ll concede to you, in a separate post, if nothing more comes of it.

March 31, 2004 @ 8:56 pm | Comment

Hmm calling someone gay is a smear in and of itself, but that is not going to be particularly effective. One should try and link his gayness with some form of immoral act, perhaps by claiming that there was pornography on his work computer, and that it is being examined for ‘questionable content’ (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, you know how it is with gays and kids).

April 1, 2004 @ 4:04 am | Comment

Ironically, a quick Google indicates that any explicit outing of Richard Clarke (if in fact he really is gay) is being done by Drum and Wonkette; and now this site. Has some Administration official outed Clarke and I missed it? (Saying something is “wierd” in Clarke’s personal life does not qualify to my way of thinking. The guy have said that may have had some other wierdness in mind; and maybe there *is* some other wierdness to Clarke.

April 2, 2004 @ 7:50 am | Comment

Gay ? Ptah ! They can find better than that :

http://www.e-thepeople.org/article/30487/view (Maybe this is the other weirdness Mark is talking about :) )

April 2, 2004 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

I didn’t mean to suggest there is anything wierd about Clark. For all I know he is Ward Cleaver’s ‘good’ twin. And if he’s gay, that’s fine with me. My points are (1) no one from the Administration has said Clarke is gay and (2) even to vague term “weird” came from Blitzer, not the Administration and (3) if Clarke is being outed, it is being done by folks like Drum and Wonkette, not the Administration. Maybe there is some basis for pinning this accusation on the Bushies: if so, I will be as disgusted as Drum is — otherwise, this little meme is unfair to the Administration, and invades Clarke’s privacy in the very way Drum claims to find repugnant.

April 2, 2004 @ 10:42 pm | Comment

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