Doyle Webb’s Hot Lesbian Action

Doyle Webb
Doyle Webb

Now, let me be the last person in Arkansas to weigh in on this…..

Doyle Webb, the chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, was busted for going around complaining about Rep. Kathy Webb (no relation), a Democratic member of the Arkansas House of Representatives who is openly gay. In speaking to GOP groups around the state, D. Webb warned Republicans to be vigilant, because if the gay Rep. Webb were to ascend to a committee chairmanship, she might start to messing with state policy and turn everyone gay. Or something like that.

Since this came out (“came out”! Get it? Huh? Who’s with me?!) on the Arkansas Times blog last week, Webb has been raked over the coals (for example, here’s an editorial from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and a fiery column from John Brummett, both published today).

So we’ve already had the ritual pronunciations of outrage, to which I will not add, because what’s the point? Let’s look at it in the crassest, most cynical terms of political utility: Does this kind of rhetoric even work?

That is to say, Webb’s deployment of this formula before GOP audiences is clearly intended to have a political effect—presumably, to inspire the party faithful to take action or to recruit more voters to the Republican side.

But the thing is, it isn’t having that effect.

Now, I’m one of those horrendous libertarian-leaners who really could not care less about your beloved moral issues, social conservatives, so I don’t get too fired up by all the gay marriage stuff and such. There are plenty of people like me who call themselves Republicans. Clearly, Webb wasn’t speaking to us, and this rhetorical act was not intended for people like me.

The thing is, I doubt that the language is even useful in reaching the people it’s ostensibly intended to reach. And while Arkansas voters have shown themselves to be unenthusiastic about “the gay agenda,” such as it is, based upon the 2004 gay marriage amendment vote and the 2008 vote on Act 1, it’s worth noting that those votes do not appear to have translated to any groundswell of support for Republicans in the state. So what political benefit can there be in continuing to beat that drum?

Moreover, it’s not as if the state’s Democrats are out there proudly pushing their support for gay marriage or anything, so it’s not even particularly useful as a point of partisan differentiation. Furthermore, Webb’s never really been known as a social conservative flame-thrower, has he? So add to the mix the fact that this probably isn’t even an authentic position for him, and what you have on your hands is just a rhetorical mess.

Jason Tolbert at the The Tolbert Report offers up a qualified defense of Webb today, and argues that Webb’s gaffe shouldn’t be compared to that of GOP Sen. Kim Hendren, who took it on the chin last week after it was reported (by Tolbert) that Hendren had referred to New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer as “that Jew.” I agree. The two gaffes don’t compare, because Webb’s is actually much worse—because in addition to completely overshadowing whatever message he was trying to communicate, it turns out to have been completely rhetorically ineffectual and politically useless. And it wasn’t just a clumsy misstep, but a consciously deployed argument.

The point being, if it had been rhetorically effective of politically useful, that would at least be SOMETHING. As it is, it’s nothing. Less than nothing.

Doesn’t it kind of seem that, if you’ve been harping on something for some time in a political context, and it’s not actually delivering you any electoral results, maybe, just maybe, you might try something new?

Hey, Tea Party Guys, you all seem to know how to at least turn out a few thousand people for a demonstration about fiscal responsibility and government accountability, of all things—you got anything?

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13 thoughts on “Doyle Webb’s Hot Lesbian Action

  • May 19, 2009 at 9:44 pm
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    This post is why I read this blog. Well said.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 11:19 pm
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    This old man I used to know who was a full of old country logic once gave the advice, “Boy even a bitch dog got better sense than to f#@k in the ass.” (Sorry to those offended.)

    That was the thinking of the era in which he was raised, whether the folks in the Heights like it or not. It is logic that Ned Beatty could agree with. It is a logic that some still believe. It isn’t politically correct. If the old man were alive today, he could get sued for such remarks. At least he would have been tagged a bigot.

    The term bigot gets thrown around a lot. Usually it is a term thrown at conservatives to make them look racist, sexist, homophobic whatever. But a bigot actually is a person who is intolerant or takes offense over opinions that differ than theirs. In reality, there seem to be more bigots on the left than on the right.

    I think there is no bigger bigot than that wretched Perez Hilton who asked Miss Cali-forn-ee-ah her opinion and when she disagreed with him, he shit a golden egg. He asked the question without really wanting to know the answer. He wanted to hear his own opinion. He wanted affirmation, not discussion.

    He and others like him want a hegemony of thought. Despite all their talk of inclusion and acceptance, theirs is really a monochromatic world that has no room for ideas that differ from their own. The are no different than the church during the dark ages, they control thought. They demand that the sun revolves around a flat earth. They set the social norms that the rest of us follow or risk dire consequences. Gramsci would be proud of the inroads the left has made, not just in shaping the norms, but enforcing them.

    No, I do not think being gay is a choice. If someone were to ask me what I thought about gay marriage, I’d tell them that I don’t think the government has any role in marriage gay or straight. The government is only involved in marriage because they want taxes. Government shouldn’t be involved in marriage. Churches should determine whom they would or wouldn’t give the sacrament to just as they determine whom they will give other sacraments to.

    Small mindedness knows no party identity nor does it dwell on only one end of the political spectrum. Would it be wrong to vote against Obama for the sole reason of his race? How about the opposite? How about Kathy Webb? Is it okay if someone votes for her only because she is a Lesbian? How about voting against her because of the same?

    If it is legitimate to vote for someone for a reason, it is legitimate to vote against someone for that same reason. Just because someone deemed it politically incorrect doesn’t affect the legitimacy of the action. Man’s labels have no bearing on logic.

    Logic damns everyone that would vote for such simplistic reasons. Voting for or against one person because of one trait is nonsensical. You should vote for the entirety of the person, not just one thing. That is what the debate should be and the debate should be targeted at bigots of all stripe on both sides of the isle; those both for and against Sapphos.

    But honestly, I don’t think anyone that is being intellectually honest thinks that Max Brantley voted for Obama because he was black anymore than Doyle Webb was telling people to vote against Kathy Webb because she is a Lesbian. The President’s life experience shaped his world view. As did Kathy Webb’s. That life experience included their heritage and sexual orientation respectively. When those aspects of their life are celebrated or promoted, they are as legitimate to target as anything else because they are explaining that their experience is what shapes what they will do in office. Obama knows you see a black man when he stands before you, but he doesn’t want you to vote for him simply because of that. He does want you to know that because of his experience (which includes being black), he brings certain agendas into the office he holds.

    No, don’t damn them because of who they are but damn them for their dangerous ideas. Damn them because they believe their background gives them license for skullduggery. There is the heart of the debate and there it should be focused, and yes, in that instance, it is all legitimate fodder.

    Unfortunately, we rarely get to the debate’s heart but instead stop and flounder on the superficial because that is the only thing we have patience for.

    Reply
  • May 20, 2009 at 6:09 am
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    Rex,
    I suppose I could change the tagline at the top of the page, under the blog title, to “Floundering on the Superficial.” That just about captures it, anyway.
    D.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 8:27 am
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    No, no. Hot Lesbian Action is a way better title and sure to get a lot more clicks. Of course, it does distrub me that people may get a jolly over Doyle Webb.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 8:49 am
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    “The Arkansas Project: Hot Lesbian Action.” Yes, I like the sound of that.

    OK, you caught me. I was just trying to type “Hot Lesbian Action” multiple times on the page to see what kind of neat contextual ads Google AdSense might come up with over there in the sidebar. So far all I’m getting is an insurance ad, which suggests that lesbians are far less interesting than the movies have led me to believe.
    D.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 9:40 am
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    There is no way that boy Rex lives over on Fourche River. Too many big words, too eloquently written, makes too much sense, has a point to what he is saying, presents his point, fails to resort to (almost) resort to cursing, presents a story we can all understand, if not relate to…that my friends, doesn’t come from the Fourche River environs I know and love.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 9:45 am
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    My contextual ads include a Gay Republican dating service and Gay Vacations. But that may be because I just visited the “Honcho” website and followed up with National Review Online.
    And D., it has been my experience that anything in the movies is overly glorified. I remember how disappointed I was after I shot my first person. There was no dramatic music, they did not fly dramatically backward.
    No, they just slumped forward, began to cry and died with little fanfair. Damn you for your lies Stallone. Damn you.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 9:49 am
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    Thanks Cameron. Too assuage your concerns about my origins, I’ll use more country-isms. I ain’t crappin’ ya’ negative.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 8:05 pm
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    As possibly the only person here that knows Kathy Webb (not particularly well but I’ve shook her hand and eaten a meal with her) I’ve got to say that Kathy to my knowledge has never made her personal sexual orientation an issue. While she has defended gay rights she has never done so because it was self serving. She defends gay rights because that is what she believes to be right.

    There is something malicious in declaring something right or wrong based on whether people say it is bigoted or not, but to suggest that intolerance and hate are just part of variety of ideas and beliefs that make up a plural society is the worst kind of intellectual fraud.

    When liberals or progressives or jerks say some thing is offensive they are saying that such a remark carries a consequence. Whether that consequence is lower political support, massive boycotts or the barista spitting in your coffee, the political correctness police are just reminding you of the fine.

    But when government rules that certain groups or classes are precluded from doing something that everyone else can this becomes the vilest form of double standard. People should be free. Free to live, love, and decide without government intrusion or interference.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 9:59 pm
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    Sure Thomas, based upon your world view and definition it makes sense. But who makes you or anyone else the arbiter of these comments equaling hate? One man’s hate is another man’s belief. Ideas, words, have consequence, no doubt. But in a society where increasingly A does not equal A, there are those that are saying that religious belief is hate. Mind you, this isn’t religious belief that is declaring war upon anyone…this is not Jihad. This is simply people exercising their right to vote. It isn’t Fred Phelps even.

    Kathy Webb doesn’t have to make an issue out of being a Lesbian. I never said she ran as a gay candidate. But she has a history of taking strong stances on GLBT issues. Good for her! I’m glad she has that freedom. Those stances are clearly influenced by who she is; a Lesbian. The democratic process requires that we examine the person because of the ideas they will present. People hated George W. Bush because who he was; a cowboy, a simple guy who saw the world in black and white. People love Obama for who he is, his background, the obstacles he overcame. You can’t separate all of that. When you enter the fray, you expose yourself to questions about all aspects of your life. You submit yourself to it. It is dangerous when we start saying certain topics are hands off because we have deemed them politically incorrect. Where does that slippery slope end?

    Now, I don’t know what Doyle Webb said, but based on the reports put forth by the most critical of sources, Brantley and Brummett, he stated the facts, an openly homosexual female that disagrees with the adoption act is going to be given a leadership position in the legislature. How many Democrats said that Huckabee shouldn’t have been Governor because he was a preacher? I know, you don’t choose to be gay. But no right under the Constitution is greater than another. If it is fair game to question Huckabee’s Constitutionally protected religious beliefs and suggest they are disqualifying, then it is true for the protected sexual rights of Kathy Webb. If Doyle Webb is a bigot for his comments, then Max Brantley is a bigot for calling Huckabee Rev. Guv. Then legions of liberals are bigots because they declared a preacher disqualified to hold office.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the track Doyle Webb was taking was the best. I don’t think it is the most productive. But if his words encouraged hate toward the GLBT community, if they are going to encourage hate crimes, then all the comments about Huckabee are going to cause someone to shoot up a church. That is the simple logic of the argument and it is horribly flawed.

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  • May 21, 2009 at 1:00 am
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    Say it, Bro. Rex. Too bad more won’t read and consider your post….

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  • May 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm
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    Okay lets take this apart bit by bit.
    1. “Kathy Webb doesn’t have to make an issue out of being a Lesbian.”
    She hasn’t. So far I have seen a total of zero comments from Kathy Webb or anyone claiming to represent her about this matter. The only people making her sexuality an issue are Republicans.
    2. “a society where increasingly A does not equal A.”
    “Everything that exists has a specific nature, and possesses characteristics that are a part of what it is. A is A.” That is the Law of Identity, Read your Parmenides the Eleatic or even Ayn Rand.
    3. “How many Democrats said that Huckabee shouldn’t have been Governor because he was a preacher?”
    I don’t know, 6? 7?
    4. “But she has a history of taking strong stances on GLBT issues. Good for her! I’m glad she has that freedom. Those stances are clearly influenced by who she is; a Lesbian.”
    I believe that Rep. K. Webb’s stances are determined by the will and opinions of her constituents and not by any personal agenda.
    She came out (no jokes please) in favor of those positions because (I would guess) that was the will of her constituents.

    And what happened to the importance of understanding and embracing those that disagree with us? Suddenly because Rep. Webb disagrees with 1 or 2 policies of the State government she can’t hold a leadership position? This is the problem with the whole Republican viewpoint for me, they tend as a part to form and ideology based on one principle, freedom of choice, and then totally abandon that principle when it becomes politically inconvenient.

    She disagrees with current law. Should that preclude her from advancement? If you believe that Kathy should be prevented from leading the budget committee because of her dissent on LGBT issues then I would leave you with this quote.

    “He and others like him want a hegemony of thought. Despite all their talk of inclusion and acceptance, theirs is really a monochromatic world that has no room for ideas that differ from their own. The[y] are no different than the church during the dark ages, they control thought. They demand that the sun revolves around a flat earth.”

    Reply
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