What's the G. O. C.? It's my new name for the G. O. P. Perhaps my younger readers don't know that the latter, a traditional nickname for the Republicans, stands for Grand Old Party. My new acronym stands for Gnarly Old Closet from which another homo-fighting-God-fearing-right-winger is being forcibly ejected.
This one is not just some random pastor or just one Congressman out of hundreds.
Ted Haggard was president of the 30 million member National Association of Evangelicals, and a confidant of President Bush.
He has resigned in the wake of accusations from a former male prostitute that Haggard was a customer of his for three years. The former "escort" also played voicemail tapes of someone trying to get him to set up drug buys, and the voice sounded very much like Haggard's. As well, the accuser says he knew Haggard only by the name "Art." Haggard's middle name is Arthur.
Today, Haggard admitted buying methamphetamine from a male prostitute, who he said he was referred to for a massage. He claims he never used the meth and never had sex with the prostitute. Ah yes, bringing out the ol' Clinton I never inhaled defense. I've decided to believe the accuser, who says Haggard did inhale the drugs and something else, if you catch my meaning.
Salon's Lauren Sandler writes:
"Ted Haggard may not just be the most important evangelical you've never heard of, but the most important evangelical, period.
"Rick Warren may be the bestselling evangelical scribe since the Bible's original autographs. His 'Purpose-Driven Life' has sold more copies than any other nonfiction book in history, that is, if you don’t consider the Bible nonfiction. But he’s hardly got the ear of the president, with whom he doesn't always see eye to eye (or tooth for tooth).
"And even James Dobson, long heralded as the most influential evangelical in the world, lacks the pull with the evangelical movement he once did. Dobson never takes off his suit jacket, even at his desk, while Haggard can't stand the feel of anything but denim against his skin. Dobson has been seen by many evangelicals as stepping too far into the 'corrupt' dark side of Washington since he launched his PAC, while Haggard manages his influence carefully without the tarnish of politics ever marring his flawless gleam. It's Haggard who is the bionic hero of the young cadets and airmen he ministers to in his own megachurch, just down the road from Dobson's Focus on the Family. In Colorado Springs -- known alternately as the Vatican and the Washington of the evangelical world -- it is Haggard who is king, the crony and the conscience of his youthful parishioners as well as his president.
"Which is why it matters so that Haggard seems to have fallen. The Mark Foley scandal inspired plenty of people to question their devotion to the Republican Party. But Foley is a politician; most evangelicals would already suspect him of thinly cloaking his identity in a three-piece, pinstriped superego. Haggard, on the other hand, has always represented the real deal. He's the one John Wayne would have tapped for his posse. He's the one who represents most how deeply political this evangelical population can be, while always disdaining the notion of politics, always cleaving toward the ranch rather than the Hill.
"If that makes it sound like Haggard and Bush are peas in a pod, well, they are. Haggard participates -- or at least he did -- in weekly White House conference calls, and he and the president like to joke that the only thing they disagree on is what truck to drive.
"Haggard has been preaching against homosexuality with his typical charismatic fire-and-brimstone fervor ever since he founded New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Probably even before then. And if he's right that there is a special place in hell for gay fornicators and drug abusers -- not to mention for liars and charlatans -- I guess he knows where he's headed."
Bring out the chute and down he goes...hopefully taking some Republican candidates along for the ride. I almost feel bad for the true believers who line up behind scumbags like Haggard...almost, but not quite. Sadly, they're being "left behind." Sphere: Related Content