Perhaps nothing delights progressives quite like having a conservative Republican proven to be a fraud on "values" issues. It's particularly delightful when a conservative is outed in the deep-red South.
Two such outings have happened in recent days, and I'm so broken up about it that I can't wipe the smile off my face.
First, we have an Alabama Republican who apparently spends considerable time seeking companionship on a Web site called Adult FriendFinder. Then, we have an anti-gay pastor in Louisiana being arrested for masturbating at a park near New Orleans. Yee haw!
Tom Whatley, a state senator from Auburn, Alabama, reportedly has been a busy boy on the racy Adult FriendFinder site, which has the theme "Real People, Real Sex." How did this come to light? The Opelika-Auburn News explains:
Some top state political figures have received packets in recent weeks purporting to show that freshman state Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, was active on the racy Internet site Adult FriendFinder early this year, according to interviews with several people in and out of the Legislature.
Top Republicans defended Whatley and characterized the materials as a personal attack against the new senator, who ousted longtime Democratic state Sen. Ted Little for the District 27 seat in the Republican tidal wave that swept the Alabama Statehouse in November.
Whatley, who is not married, issued a short statement: “I do not comment on anonymous attacks of a personal nature.”
Should we cut Whatley some slack because: (a) He is single; (b) He apparently was seeking to "befriend" women, unlike Republicans from the Larry Craig toe-tapping wing of the party? Nah. It's too much fun to pile on when the opportunity arises. After all, it looks like Whatley was begging to step in doo-doo:
The packets contain an anonymous cover letter, photographs and copies of e-mail exchanges from the Adult FriendFinder website allegedly between Whatley and an unnamed woman. Some of the photographs show male nudity, but no face is shown.
Adult FriendFinder bills itself as the world’s largest swinger site.
Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, said, “It sounds strikingly familiar to that congressman in New York.”
Sanford was speaking of former U.S. Rep. Christopher Lee, a Republican who resigned early last month after it was learned he e-mailed a shirtless photo of himself to a woman in response to her ad on Craigslist.
A prominent Alabama Democrat seems to be having fun with the story:
Jim Spearman, former executive director of the state Democratic Party, said the party office received a fax and an anonymous phone call in late January about the alleged Internet activity.
“I’ve known Tom for years,” Spearman said. “I know what an opportunist he is. Looks like he set himself up for something he didn’t plan on.”
Spearman, who stepped down as executive director in early February, said that while there is nothing illegal implied by the alleged conversations or pictures, they could be embarrassing for a senator who ran as a conservative touting family values.
“There is nothing illegal about it,” Spearman said. “It might be immoral.”
|Grant Storms and Lafreniere Park|
The Louisiana case involves the Rev. Grant Storms, who is known for his bullhorn protests at the Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter. Storms apparently prefers to have his "decadence" at public parks, where children tend to be present:
Storms, 53, of 2304 Green Acres Road in Metairie, was taken into custody at Lafreniere Park after two women reported seeing him masturbating in the driver's seat of his van, which was parked near the carousel and playground, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office report said.
The first woman told deputies she was taking her children to the playground and parked next to the van at about noon. As she was walking around her own vehicle, she noticed the van windows were down and the occupant was "looking at the playground area that contained children playing, with his zipper down...," the report said. The woman noted that he was masturbating and quickly ushered her children out of her car.
She told a second woman, who walked to the van and also spotted the man masturbating, the report said. The second witness told deputies that the driver saw her and tried to conceal the zipper area of his pants with his hand.
The two women flagged down a park employee who notified the Sheriff's Office. The employee detained the man, later identified as Storms, until deputies arrived.
Conservatives always have a ready excuse when they get caught with their pants down--or unzipped, as the case might be:
Storms told deputies he was having lunch at the park when he decided to urinate using a bottle instead of the restroom, the report said.
Probably didn't want to use the restroom because there might be perverts in there.
Who is this paragon of virtue?
A self-styled "Christian patriot," Storms led a small West Bank congregation called The Reformer Church and for 10 years hosted "The Reformer Radio Show" on WSHO. Storms has railed against the Roman Catholic church, calling it "satanic" and "demonic."
He is especially known for arming followers with bullhorns, Bibles and picket signs to protest Southern Decadence, the three-day gay festival held in the French Quarter during Labor Day weekend. Storms grabbed national attention in 2003 with his failed attempts to shut down what Southern Decadence organizer Chuck Robinson called a peaceful festival that celebrates gay and alternative lifestyles.
Are New Orleans gays saddened by Storms' recent travails? Not exactly:
"He's done everything through the years to disturb that and try to make it into something nasty that it's not," Robinson said. "If the Rev. Storms is caught doing that in our city, it is ludicrous and heinous that he would have the nerve to complain about any kind of sexuality."