You know .... it's not that I disagree with the viewpoint on any of the things contained herein. Really, I don't. I'm still very very liberal! And I do, in fact, think this is one of the more impressively venal administrations in recent history, which is really saying quite something.
But I look at that scale of Bush acts evaluated from "evil" to "very, very, very, very evil", and all I can think of is Simon and ManServant Hecubus from "The Kids in the Hall".
Good evening and welcome to the pit of penultimate darkness. Apparently, someone's opened a pit slightly darker than this one. I'm, of course, MC Simon Milligan master of funk and evil. Today, we will look at the evil you kids can have on a rainy day. Did you know you could summon up the powers of darkness in the comfort of your own home? It's true! All you need is common household baking soda, white vinegar and goat's blood. You might want to get your mom to help with the slaughter of the goat.
And then I bounce from that to things like this:
AIDS Panel Choice Wrote of a 'Gay Plague' (Washington Post, January 22, 2003): The Bush administration has chosen Jerry Thacker, a Pennsylvania marketing consultant who has characterized AIDS as the "gay plague," to serve on the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS. [...] In his speeches and writings on his Web site and elsewhere, Thacker has described homosexuality as a "deathstyle" rather than a lifestyle and asserted that "Christ can rescue the homosexual." After word of his selection spread among gays in recent days, some material disappeared from the Web site. Earlier versions located by The Washington Post that referred to the "gay plague," for instance, were changed as of yesterday to "plague."
And suddenly, "evil" seems an entirely appropriate word to describe this administration.
Thanks to Google, we can actually see the original text of Mr Thacker's web site. As the Post notes, the text no longer appears on his current site at http://www.scepter.org/founder.asp (Cut and paste if you like; I have absolutely no intention of appearing in the referrer stats of that site.) Apparently, Scepter promotes abstinence, and that's why, I would assume, that Mr Thacker is on the new board.
Administration health officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed Thacker's appointment. They said he was part of a diverse group that includes a member of the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian advocacy group; an AIDS adviser to the World Bank; and a state public health officer. [...] Thacker's beliefs on homosexuality are known as "reparative therapy," a philosophy that considers homosexuality aberrant behavior that can be modified through religious faith. Professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association say that approach has no medical or scientific basis.
Reparative therapy. Right. Yes. Quite.
... Well, the commission itself is certainly a mixed bag. While I should imagine they would all be mostly civil, Mr Thacker is certainly going to have a difficult time making his views heard, given a committee with that makeup. Surely the administration could have fulfilled its quota of pandering to the bigots ... er, pardon me. Surely the administration could have appealed to its arch-conservative base by putting either Thacker or someone else in a position where they're more likely to have influence. (Although, that said, perhaps this is a masterpiece of politicking. After all, given the makeup of that committee, Thacker really isn't likely to have much influence. I dare say most of the people on the committee will cordially detest and despise his views. Maybe it really is the place of least damage, for all that it looks like an extraordinarily hostile move. Maybe....)
There are six other new appointments to PACHA [the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS] which are proving less controversial. Including Dan Seed, an HIV-positive gay man, who is executive director of an HIV support group in Dallas which provides services to black gay men.
A black, gay man on a commission with a heterosexual Bob Jones University graduate who believes in abstinence AND reparative therapy. Along with the head of the largest gay political organization in the country.
Well, those meetings ought to be interesting. In your traditional Chinese curse sense of "interesting".
UPDATE, 1:15pm: As noted by Mike in the comments, Thacker plans to withdraw his name from consideration today.
My, that was fast.
The part I find fascinating is the comment by Ari Fleischer:
On Thursday, however, Thacker was sending a letter signaling that he would not accept the appointment, administration officials said. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, while neither confirming nor denying the withdrawal, issued a stern rebuke of Thacker's statements. "The views that he holds are far, far removed from what the president believes," Fleischer said. "The president has a total opposite view. ... The president's view is that people with AIDS need to be treated with care, compassion."
Surely the White House is not expecting us to believe that they didn't know about his beliefs? Surely they expected his position to draw fire. So what, one wonders, were they expecting to accomplish with his nomination?Posted by iain at January 23, 2003 12:14 AM
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030123/ap_on_he_me/bush_aids_2 (via andrewsullivan.com)Posted by Mike at January 23, 2003 01:09 PM
I've worked in large government bureaucracies and I think you'd be surprised how little the top people now about the majority of the things that go on. If you think anybody in the White House was vetting the 35 members of a do-nothing advisory group (one of a hundred the White House has)then you are kidding yourself. This is not The West Wing. So former 25 year old campaign worker at HHS probably thought it was smart to have a Christian Conservative on the panel to "sure up the base", but like most 25 year olds he out thought himself and will probably be fired. Good. But don't think the White House was thinking at all about this little group, especially given the other more important matters it is dealing with.Posted by Politica Obscura at January 24, 2003 07:52 PM