The Gay Elephant in the Room

October 6, 2008

As we’ve noted before, the Corner has done an excellent job covering the story no one else dares to touch: Mexican culpability for our current economic troubles. Until now, however, they’d only hinted at the related, and perhaps even more important, questions we all have about this crisis: to what extent is gay sex to blame, and why hasn’t Mark Steyn weighed in on this? Well, better late than never:

Last week in this space, I made a jocular reference to a global economy ‘so vulnerable that only the stalwart action of Barney Frank stands between it and ten years of soup kitchens’. I tittered too soon. It turns out the entire planetary meltdown is due to Congressman Frank’s sex life: Unqualified home buyers were not the only ones who benefitted from Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s efforts to deregulate Fannie Mae throughout the 1990s. So did Frank’s partner, a Fannie Mae executive at the forefront of the agency’s push to relax lending restrictions… Moses worked at the government-sponsored enterprise from 1991 to 1998, while Frank was on the House Banking Committee, which had jurisdiction over Fannie… Frank met Moses in 1987, the same year he became the first openly gay member of Congress. ‘I am the only member of the congressional gay spouse caucus,’ Moses wrote in the Washington Post in 1991. ‘On Capitol Hill, Barney always introduces me as his lover.’ The two lived together in a Washington home until they broke up in 1998, a few months after Moses ended his seven-year tenure at Fannie Mae, where he was the assistant director of product initiatives. According to National Mortgage News, Moses ‘helped develop many of Fannie Mae’s affordable housing and home improvement lending programs.’ Critics say such programs led to the mortgage meltdown that prompted last month’s government takeover of Fannie Mae and its financial cousin, Freddie Mac. The giant firms are blamed for spreading bad mortgages throughout the private financial sector… Three years later, President Clinton’s Department of Housing and Urban Development tried to impose a new regulation on Fannie, but was thwarted by Frank. Clinton now blames such Democrats for planting the seeds of today’s economic crisis. Perhaps not the most felicitous way of putting it.

This charming piece of analysis was soon followed by this:

Re the post below on Congressman Frank and his Fannie male, a reader e-mails with a proposed Hollywood adaptation: Broke Bank Mountain.

On the other hand, apropos “gay mafias” in general:

In defense of the BBC (words I never thought I’d type), Doctor Who has been turned into a multi-million dollar cash cow for the government-run Corporation. If the US Government put gays like that in charge of Fannie and Freddie, we might not be in this pickle.

Now, it’s important not to let your – perfectly reasonable – impulse to hit Mark Steyn very hard with a blunt object blind you to the fact that, lurking under the ignorance and bigotry, there is a significant sotry here: Barney Frank was a prominent advocate for a completely unjustifiable (though widely held) position, and in addition to the financial incentives that led so many other lawmakers to champion this unworthy cause, he had a powerful and undeniable personal conflict of interest in the matter. So, shame on you, Barney Frank.

But none of that even begins to excuse Steyn. Pressed, I’m sure he would mount something like the following defense: “Even leaving aside the part about how my God hates people like Barney Frank, the guy was acting unethically. Blaming the crisis entirely on his behavior and blaming his behavior entirely on his desire to enagage in gay sex are both just harmless bits of hyperbole thrown in for comic effect. Lighten up.”

All of which would be a terrific defense of a jocular write-up of Frank’s guilt, but wouldn’t address what’s wrong with this particular jocular write-up. Here’s a fun exercise: read the excerpts above, and count the number of facts that aren’t at all relevant without the presupposition that homosexuality is evidence of corruption, then add that to the number of attempted jokes that couldn’t possibly amuse someone who didn’t think homosexuality was inherently worthy of derision. (I count at least six.) Diagnosis: jerk.

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