Friday, October 24, 2008

Mark Foley, Mark Buse and the Politics of Truth-Telling

James Kirchick, an assistant editor at The New Republic, recently wrote a commentary piece on, taking on activists and journalists who exposed the truth about Congressman Mark Foley. He also criticized me for my piece about Mark Buse, John McCain's chief of staff (and a registered lobbyist), who is gay.

Kirchick, whom I interviewed on the show (video clips below), is following in the footsteps of Andrew Sullivan in many ways, rising up through The New Republic at a young age as an openly gay writer, sometimes attempting to make a name for himself by taking on the imagined bogeymen (and women) he calls "the intellectual Torquemadas of the gay left." It's an easy way to get some attention, and Sullivan proved that early on -- even though Sullivan, on his blog these days, is pretty much in alignment with the gay liberal-activist perspective. (Yes, even including on the issue of "outing" -- for which he vilified me and others years ago -- though he would be loathe to admit it.)

Kirchick is smart, engaging and has done some good work, and I hope he doesn't take that enticing and easy route, one that I think is perhaps encouraged at places like The New Republic: vilifying gay activists and the "gay left" as a way to bring attention to himself. But only time will tell.

I invited Kirchick on the show last week to talk about his Advocate piece and his beliefs about Mark Foley, Mark Buse, John McCain, journalism and gay activism. We had a good, spirited discussion. Two clips from that interview are below.