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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bay Windows on the Romney-Camenker Catfight


Mitt Romney-Brian Camenker smackdown!

Christian Broadcasting Network political reporter Adrian Brody recently wrote that he’s “never seen anything like” the catfight between Mitt Romney and Brian Camenker. “My email box is scorching hot from the rhetoric flying from both sides,” wrote Brody in a Jan. 12 post to his blog.
Camenker, who doesn’t believe Romney did all that he could have to prevent lesbian and gay couples from marrying (perhaps he was hoping for a George Wallace-like stand on the steps of Boston City Hall?), has been distributing a detailed 28-page dossier on Romney’s record that purports to show how easy Romney was on the gays during his time in office. Until last week, the biggest bite Camenker had received from the press was a piece in The New Republic by Ryan Lizza, who noted that Camenker’s screed “has been moving through Christian-right circles like a copy of Playboy at a 1950s summer camp.”

Lizza’s piece was cleverly titled “Urine Trouble” — unfortunately, the title is tied to Lizza’s having unquestioningly accepted many of Camenker’s claims: “He (Camenker) notes that Romney’s Department of Education distributed a publication, The Little Black Book: Queer in the 21st Century, that includes the following practical information: ‘There is little risk of STD infection and no risk of HIV infection from playing with pee.’” Of course, the book was never distributed by anyone, much less the state Department of Education. It was mistakenly made available at a gay youth conference by someone working for Fenway Community Health. But why quibble?

Last week, Camenker's opus hit the big time. The Associated Press wrote about it (though much more critically than Lizza did) and within hours of hitting the wires, it was everywhere. Team Romney immediately posted a press release to its website taking apart much of Camenker’s claims. And for good measure, it managed to casually mention that Camenker is Jewish, as the Phoenix's political reporter David S. Bernstein noted on his blog. This week, the right-wing Americans For Truth demanded an apology from Romney for his smear of Camenker. AFT President Peter LaBarbera (who, for work purposes, occasionally dresses in full leather regalia and attends gay S/M events on which he then reports for whichever right-wing anti-gay organization he is currently affiliated with), says Camenker is an "American hero in the fight against the radical homosexual agenda."

We'd never get original commentary like this in Lavender.