Current Affairs

Report: Santorum's Communications Director is "Openly Gay"

RtPageOneQ is reporting that Robert Traynham, communications director for U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, has told them he is "an out gay man who completely supports the Senator."

From PageOneQ:

"When asked how a gay man could speak for one of the nation's most notorious homophobes, Traynham, left, protested that has 'been with the Senator for eight years.' Traynham went on to say 'Senator Santorum is a man of principle, he is a man who sticks up for what he believes in, I strongly do support Senator Santorum.'"

Santorum equated homosexuality with bestiality in an April 2003 interview: "Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be."

Santorum has been a strong supporter of the Federal Marriage Amendment and believes that gays and lesbians should not be able to express physical love towards one another: "I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts."

In the past week, Santorum has come under fire for his comments regarding the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church, suggesting that Boston's "basic liberal attitude" fostered an environment where these kinds of abuses could occur.

Yet, if PageOneQ's allegations are true, we have a gay man supporting Senator Santorum at the highest levels. And we wonder why achieving equality is so difficult!

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  1. He obviously cherishes his job, and has decided to wait until it is over before speaking his mind. This is not really admirable.

    Posted by: farmboyz | Jul 14, 2005 8:42:14 PM

  2. Mike Rogers is suuuuuch a great reporter. Not that I dispute the story (I mean, gays in Santorum's office is no big secret), but nowhere does he actually quote Rob as saying he is openly gay. Sloppy, shoddy, moronic.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 14, 2005 8:53:52 PM

  3. Matt, I don't understand. Mike's story clearly says that Traynham, on the phone call, "said he is an out gay man." What the hell difference does it make that he doesn't quote him directly? What if Rogers asked him if he was openly gay, and he said "Yes"? That not good enough for you? You need a transcript? Very strange journalistic standard you're applying there. One might even say, "sloppy, shoddy, and moronic." But I wouldn't say that.

    Posted by: Glenn | Jul 14, 2005 9:21:02 PM

  4. are we debating about whether this guy is gay or whether he has at one point ever said that he was gay? just because someone says they are gay doesn't mean that they are - the content of a quote isn't necessarily true.

    also, anyone who speaks to a reporter and says, 'i am gay' is already openly gay and does not need to say 'i am openly gay' - its obvious.

    Posted by: aj | Jul 14, 2005 9:39:12 PM

  5. You are a moron, Matt. Wake up and smell the sickening hypocracy and anti-gay vitriol that this administration is cooking up every day. Why don't you read the following item about the jackass who killed his three-year-old because he was afraid the child was gay...? It's all because of the awful climate created by Bush, Santorum and the rest of this hateful Republican regime.

    Posted by: Ray | Jul 14, 2005 9:48:15 PM

  6. Ray: True morons don't know how to spell "hypocrisy." So to quote Tuh-RAY-zuh Heinz-Kerry, "Shove it."

    Glenn: My point is that a credible reporter (I used to be one, and graduated at the top of my class from one of the top J schools in the country) would not leave out an exact quote that should form the entire crux of the story.

    Even if it is just Rob saying "yes" to the question posed, then put it in quotation marks. But he did not do that. It is doubly troubling that Mike would have to paraphrase when he claims to have a tape. The actual direct quotes are FAR less sensational than the headline/paraphrasing implies, which from a pure media critic's point of view completely blunts the impact of the story.

    If you read the story, it is not about someone on Santorum's staff admitting to being gay; it is a Santorum staffer defending his boss's words. You can get that in any newspaper anywhere.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 14, 2005 10:11:38 PM

  7. But Matt, why are you arguing details? Aren't you disturbed by the content? at. all? Seems like a typical Republican response: When actual disturbing content arrives, attack the messenger and start new 'talking points'.

    Let's talk instead about the real issue: Why are gay men (like yourself and other Log Cabin types) so willing to throw themselves and their own kind under the bus? That is the topic at hand. Not what this man's exact quote was.

    How are we ever going to survive this political climate when so many of us don't seem to think voting for /working for / defending a hate machine or playing right into Conservative hands by portraying progressive focus as "shreiking harpies" (one of your favorite tactics) is any sort of problem?

    Don't you realize you are voting for and supporting your own demise?

    Posted by: NathanielR | Jul 15, 2005 7:51:05 AM

  8. Er... I meant progessive "folks" -that sentence didn't come out right ;)

    Posted by: Nathaniel R | Jul 15, 2005 7:52:32 AM

  9. Nathaniel, are you in the voting booth with me? Do you know how I vote, where my money goes, what causes I support or oppose?

    Did you follow my link above to see what I already said about Santorum and his staff days ago?

    Look, I admit that I have a bug up my ass about Mike Rogers. I think he's reckless and sleazy. I don't oppose outing 100 percent, but I think it should be reserved for really easy cases like Ed Schrock or Mayor West out in Spokane. That's my opinion, and I understand completely why others might disagree.

    Then again, I personally know a lot of the people Mike has targeted, which doubtlessly color my views -- and I know of many others that he won't target, because he is, in my opinion, a partisan hack. His tactics would be much easier to understand if they were rational or consistent.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 15, 2005 10:06:59 AM

  10. I'm confused. Was this post meant to be about Mike Rogers' bad reporting or about an out gay-man who supports an anti-gay senator?

    Posted by: bmw | Jul 15, 2005 10:17:41 AM

  11. I think Mike makes a very good point - the story isn't that a Senator's staffer supports his boss - it's that an "openly gay" staffer supports an anti-gay boss - so having the guy's actual words strengthens that story. A re-hash of Santorum's bigoted statements isn't news - that Santorum has an openly gay staffer who agrees with him is. These guys are scarey - and powerful - what's the problem with asking a reporter to do a good, detailed job with actual quotes!?

    Posted by: bj | Jul 15, 2005 11:39:46 AM

  12. er, i meant MATT

    Posted by: bj | Jul 15, 2005 11:48:42 AM

  13. BJ, I don't know if people keep missing my point, or are just ignoring it, purposely or not:

    The story is about an "out gay man." Don't you actually have to SAY you are out to be "out"?

    There is not a single attributed quote or fact in the story backing up the assertion. It would be like writing a story saying "John Doe is a murderer." What is the basis for that? It should be a quote from John admitting he is a murderer, police being quoted saynig he is a murderer, or a conviction for murder, not just a reporter writing a paragraph asseting baldly that John is a murderer. It's called "sourcing."

    What is his basis for writing that??

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 15, 2005 2:33:52 PM

  14. I wonder if Robert's staying on because he hopes, over time, to change his bosses mind? He can't do that if we run him off.

    If Santorum stays, aren't we better off if he's working closely with a gay man?

    Posted by: Mitch | Jul 15, 2005 3:08:05 PM

  15. Mitch, there are those gay repubs that do seek to change the party from the inside (I know a few). And it may be a effective tactic to help some repub lawmakers see the light, but Santorum seems like such a lost cause, no?

    Ever read Dan Savage's column? He co-opted the word 'santorum' to refer to something else....

    Posted by: kelly | Jul 15, 2005 3:33:27 PM

  16. Hey Matt!
    Here's a tip. Go back to your own right-wing, reactionary, look-at-me-I'm-a-cool-gay-Republican blog and leave the rest of us alone here so that we can spend our time more productively than read your rants...

    Posted by: Joe | Jul 15, 2005 3:34:09 PM

  17. Ah, yes, so much for the free exchange of ideas on the Left. Joe: It's the Internet, idiot. If Andy doesn't want me here, he can block my comments. If you don't want to read them, you can skip over me.

    I get VERY tired of hearing liberals say how Bush or the Right is somehow chilling their right to free speech, then a yahoo like you gets on here and tries to squelch any dissent. Deal with it.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 15, 2005 3:42:28 PM

  18. ...I could have predicted that last exchange would eventually take place.

    Posted by: kelly | Jul 15, 2005 3:44:05 PM

  19. I apologize. I take back the word "idiot." I try very hard not to call people names on comment boards. But as you might understand, being to the right of most people on here (although to the left of most of the country), I face this kind of garbage a lot -- i.e., people who merely want to shut people up rather than refute or ignore them -- and it gets VERY old.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 15, 2005 3:59:10 PM

  20. Well, since no one asked, here's what Dan Savage came up with:

    san-TOR-um n. A frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex. See also: Sen. Rick Santorum (R - PA).

    Posted by: kelly | Jul 15, 2005 4:02:45 PM

  21. I think the word everyone is looking for here is: "collaborator n. One who cooperates with or willingly assists an enemy, especially an occupying force"

    Posted by: Ray Everett-Church | Jul 15, 2005 4:22:01 PM

  22. I'm curious Ray if you also think that the HRC were collaborators when they continued to support Clinton after he signed DADT and DOMA? Or were the gays who voted for Kerry collaborators after his two faced responses on gay rights and his opposition to gay marriage?

    It's all a matter of degrees isn't it and for some it's a lot more about liberal ideology and hatred than it is about rights.

    Kelly, I tend to agree with you. Santorum is a lost cause, but the fact remains, his mind is more likely to be changed by the presence of gays in his life than the absence of them.

    Posted by: Mitch | Jul 15, 2005 6:49:05 PM

  23. Mitch, as I pointed out over on Mike Rogers' blog, I have worked in Republican offices on Capitol Hill, and I can tell you for a fact that what you say is true: You are more likely to change minds, even if only by slight degrees, if you have gay staffers working in offices that aren't excessively pro-gay, than the alternative. I could even give you specific, firsthand examples of where policies changed for the better because of gay staff members in Republican offices, including staff members who were hounded out by Mike. (Although I hesitate to do that here.)

    Mike Rogers and his lot are driving those voices out of offices that desperately need them, and I truly wish that the gay community could understand this. While there is a perhaps a temporary satisfaction that some get with this kind of bloodlust, it is genuinely counterproductive in the longer term. I don't think this makes me an Uncle Tom or an apologist.

    That said, I agree that Santorum is probably too far around the bend to be helped!

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 15, 2005 7:14:42 PM

  24. What is the news here? Young Jews willing participated in the Nazi rallies in Nuremberg, too. Yes, this gay man is free to work against his own human rights, just as countless others have done, in the hope that his boss and other conservatives won't throw him "under the bus" too. I am sure he lunches with Mary Cheney.

    Posted by: Sporty Joe | Jul 15, 2005 7:27:46 PM

  25. I have no doubt that Mary's presence in her families life has influenced their position on gay marriage. Dick's against the FMA remember?

    Posted by: Mitch | Jul 15, 2005 10:22:19 PM

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