Because the D.C. area is flooded with interns working hard to make the world safe for democracy one fax at a time, I am devoting this diatribe to the topic of James Hormel.
Hormel was nominated months ago to serve as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. He was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 16-2.
But then a funny thing happened on the way to the Senate floor.
Election-year politics have led some Republican senators to try to outdo one another by proposing reasons Hormel would be a horrible choice to represent the United States in that bastion of European power and might: Luxembourg – population 400,000.
Hormel is a wealthy investor and philanthropist from San Francisco.
He is also gay.
Normally being gay and in politics would not be a big deal.
According to independent research and various studies, gays have been around for quite a while – working, paying taxes, serving in the military and even holding positions of power and influence.
But from what some senators have said, you would think gays were the worst threat to the free world since those pesky communists:
“You should still love [gays]. You should not try to mistreat them or treat them as outcasts. You should try to show them a way to deal with that problem, just like alcohol . or sex addiction . or kleptomaniacs,” Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said in a recent television interview.
Whether his enlightened view includes a hypothesis that the anti-Christ will be a gay, alcoholic kleptomaniac is unknown.
“(Homosexuality) is sickening,” the ever-lovable Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina told The Washington Post. He did not mention whether smoking had the same effect.
“It’s immoral behavior,” Senate Whip Don Nickles said in The Post. I could say something about him being the Senate whip, but I won’t.
With the November elections looming in the not-so-distant future, conservative members of Congress have determined it’s time to draw a line in the sand.
Forget about Social Security’s impending doom. Ignore the nightmares families go through when dealing with insurance companies and health maintenance organizations. Never mind what those foreign countries are doing with nuclear weapons. Don’t worry about kids going to school knowing how to re-load automatic weapons, but not how to spell.
The future of our civilization rests on keeping people like Hormel out of positions of international influence.
The folks who love to preach about big government infringing on the liberties of individuals are the same people who use big government when it suits their purposes. Hypocrisy is not something politicians understand. If they did, they would keep their mouths shut more often than not.
So, let this be a lesson to all you interns who have flocked to Washington in your best J.C. Penney power suits and power dresses and insist on standing in the middle of the Metro escalators: Learning how to pander to voters by talking out of both sides of the mouth is a talent found disproportionately in this city. The education you are getting will come in handy if and when you decide to launch your own political careers.
Just remember – when you want to score points with the constituents back home, find an easy scapegoat who has nothing to do with what average people care about and string him or her up as fast and as high as you can. This is the only way you will be able to keep the focus off you and put it on somebody else.
James Hormel is exhibit A.
If you forget this golden rule, you better find another non-paying office gimp job – you won’t last long in politics.
-The writer is associate editor of The GW Hatchet.