Friday, October 11

Disco Fever - Are Democrats now the ones who are gaybaiting? Mike Taylor, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Montana thinks so, and the NY Times found some Dems who agree. The uproar is over an attack ad, produced for incumbent Max Baucus by a Washington outfit and partly paid for by the national Democratic funds, that focuses on Taylor's earlier career as the shady owner of a chain of beauty schools. (The ad is not shown on the Baucus website.) The ad includes footage from "Beauty Corner," a weekly television show Taylor did for a Denver television station in the early 1980s. According to the Helena Independent Record, the ad showed a much slimmer Taylor, sporting a full beard, dressed in a tight-fitting three-piece suit with an open collared shirt that shows him wearing a number of gold chains. Taylor is shown rubbing lotion into another man’s face.

"It made me look gay," Taylor asserts. Howard Kurtz thinks it just made him look like John Travolta, circa 1979. (ToMAYto, toMAHto?) Dems say it was intended to depict Taylor's violations of Federal student loan rules, but the choice of disco background music and the sex of the customer depicted certainly suggest there were other messages also being sent. The Times cites polls that say Taylor's numbers, already far behind Baucus, plummeted after the ad was shown. In a surprise move, Taylor decided to withdraw from the race.

At Tim's invitation, I recently attended a gay fundraiser for Jean Carnahan held here in Dupont, so I've seen how the money machine works. (If only I could shake that John Kerry booster I met there who keeps thinking he can get $5k out of me.) Now Baucus actually gets decent ratings from HRC. Given the overkill, one wonders if it was wise for Democrats to irritate its good donors in the community with this kind of b.s.