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    Posted by Sean at 00:50, October 8th, 2006

    Prime Minister Abe is headed to China and Korea for state visits:

    Just before taking off, Prime Minister Abe spoke to the press corps at Haneda Airport about the issue of Japan’s acknowledgement of its history, stating emphatically, “We will act based on humble reflection on the past. I would like to make that the basis of my discussions [with the PRC and ROK] and look toward the future.” On the Yasukuni Shrine issue, he stated, “I want to explain that most successive Prime Ministers paid their respects to those who died for their country and that we have made our pilgrimages in a spirit of seeking peace.”

    Well, since that’s the way the issue’s been “explained” to the rest of East Asia for years now, I’m not sure what’s supposed to make it more persuasive this time–especially since it’s now going to be coming a from a known nationalist and apologist for Japan’s wartime conduct.

    Of course, in that vein, Abe is already maneuvering himself into a public position of greater neutrality:

    Abe was asked by Naoto Kan of opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) his views on a statement issued by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on Aug. 15, 1995, marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, in which the government expressed remorse for its military actions during the conflict.

    “I have no plans of creating a new statement that would rewrite what the 1995 statement said,” Abe said. “That statement was approved by the then Cabinet so it still lives on with my Cabinet.” Abe also said that he, as prime minister, and the Cabinet had inherited a 1993 statement issued by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the “comfort women” issue.

    Not all his equivocations are politically advantageous:

    In a typical Diet exchange Wednesday, Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Tadayoshi Ichida asked Abe about his thoughts on the view of history portrayed at Yasukuni Shrine. “Are you of the opinion that World War II was a war of justice seeking liberation of Asia, as has been argued by Yasukuni Shrine?” Ichida asked.

    Abe responded, “While I do not know if Yasukuni Shrine holds to the position that you have just stated, politicians should be humble when talking about the pros and cons of specific views of history.”

    A stunned JCP leader Kazuo Shii said Abe’s understanding of history issues was even more unfathomable than the views expressed by his predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi.

    “(Abe) did not even say that the stance of his government was different from that of Yasukuni,” Shii noted.

    Of course, Abe doesn’t have to worry much about making the Japan Communist Party happy; it’s the PRC that’s going to be difficult to mollify. Not that (back to the Nikkei piece) Japan is the only neighbor it’s irritated with:

    In connection with the DPRK’s declaration that it will conduct nuclear experiments, [Abe] indicated that he “want[s] to speak frankly with the Chinese and Korean leaders about the situation. We have to send a message that if North Korea does not stop its nuclear experiments it will be isolated from the international community.”

    The Abe cabinet has its work cut out for it on military matters. As predicted, it’s looking into thinking about Article 9 and how Japan needs to adapt to new realities, including the possibility of collective liberation self-defense missions:

    The government’s interpretation is that Japan has the right of collective self-defense, but cannot exercise it.

    Shiozaki’s remark indicated that the government intends to change the conventional interpretation of the right, though it will limit the number of cases in which the right of collective self-defense could be applied.

    Shiozaki said: “The security situation in the world is changing, and Japan is urged to make efforts to make the Japan-U.S. alliance work properly. The prime minister’s policy on the right of collective self-defense is to again discuss whether the conventional interpretation of the right by the Cabinet Legislation Bureau is appropriate in all cases.

    New Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the Liberal Democratic Party, has agreed to studies concerning the right of collective self-defense, but has strongly opposed changing the interpretation to allow the government to exercise the collective self-defense right.

    What’s mildly alarming about this article is that it mentions interpretation rather than amendment of the constitution. I certainly hope that’s not the direction the Abe government plans to pursue. (It wasn’t before he was elected.) Interpreting the constitution to mean whatever the current government wants it to mean strikes me as an unwise precedent. I’d much rather see a straightforward amendment.


    Posted by Sean at 00:53, October 6th, 2006

    Japan has its own brewing debate over organ transplantation and how donors and recipients are permitted to find each other. The irritant was this story, which broke a week ago:

    Police are seeking to establish a criminal case against an organ donor believed to have collaborated in an illegal kidney transplant for cash.

    The 59-year-old female donor posed as a concerned relative of the recipient, Suzuo Yamashita, 59, a fisheries company executive who underwent the transplant at Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital in September 2005, police said.

    A third person in the case, Tomoko Matsushita, Yamashita’s 59-year-old common-law wife, is believed to have acted as a mediator in the illegal transplant.

    Yamashita and Matsushita were arrested Sunday on suspicion of paying money for the donor’s kidney. Matsushita is also suspected of brokering the transaction.

    Unsurprisingly, that case appears to be part of a pattern:

    A number of cases have been discovered in which patients in need of kidney transplants have falsified their relationship with donors to meet the ethical guidelines of the Japan Society for Transplantation, which approves organ transplants between patients and their relatives.

    As the case followed on the heels of another in which a patient married a donor to meet the society’s guidelines for transplant, a number of hospitals have set stricter regulations than those of the society to prevent similar incidents.

    One of the Nikkei‘s editorials this morning blames hospitals for not running thorough enough checks:

    The hospital and doctors have explained that, once they learned that the sale of an organ [was being conducted], they did not perform the surgery. But doubts remain whether they really had no sense whatever that money was changing hands. Doctors state that their hospital has performed 82 transplants of kidneys from live donors–and this was the single case in which the sale of an organ was involved? Because this case came about through slipshod verification of the donor’s identity, it will be necessary to investigate whether the sale of organs took place in other cases.

    Organ transplantation is, fundamentally, performed with organs from cadavers; live donorship is considered a last resort. This is because extracting an organ from a healthy person is invasive and therefore not considered optimal. However, in cases of liver or kidney transplants, transplant surgeons rely mostly on live donors. This is because even since the Organ Transplantation Law, which went into effect in 1997, permitted the use of organs from brain-dead donors, there has been a chronic shortage of donated organs. It is clear that this new emphasis on live donorship has been an invitation to the sale of organs.

    Well, if you think the brokering of organs isn’t happening in Japan, you’re probably in need of a brain transplant from a live donor. Back-room dealing is the rule here in plenty of sectors, but health care, with its weird bottlenecks and thickets of rules, is practically begging for it. The Japanese system is great at maintaining a high average life expectancy; but individual experiences with major problems are notoriously uneven, and plain white envelopes full of money are frequently used to smooth the way by those who can afford it. (They often go to the doctors themselves.)

    Note, too, that any organs donated by live friends are considered suspect and must be approved by a board; it’s not just strangers, but any non-relatives, who should raise the legal alarm. Virginia Postrel has been blogging about the ethics of selling organs for a few months, since she donated a kidney to psychiatrist and journalist Sally Satel. Her latest post on the subject mentions that hospitals in the States are now being less skittish about donors and recipients who hook up on the Internet; but IIRC, an organ donation from a compatible friend has never been a real problem in most cases.

    DPRK flirts with UNSC finger-wagging, capitalism

    Posted by Sean at 00:53, October 5th, 2006

    Japan and the US are presenting a united front in threatening economic sanctions if the DPRK resumes nuclear development:

    Deputy Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Shotaro Taniuchi, now visiting the United States, met with Undersecretary (for Political Affairs) of State Burns at the State Department on 4 October. The two agreed on an approach, in the case of stepped-up nuclear experiments by North Korea, that would involve responding with a proposal for the adoption of restraints through the United Nations Security Council based on Article 7 of the United Nations charter.

    What they appear to be seeking is not full-on sanctions (as 制裁 is normally used to mean) but a warning–the usual approach of shoring up the North’s ego by making it feel important enough to alarm the great powers in the hopes that it will be mollified into backing off.

    BTW, the Asahi English site had this very interesting report about a tentative joint manufacturing project between the DPRK and ROK:

    But one recent incident suggests that the fledgling capitalist project may have much more far-reaching repercussions for the totalitarian society than either side envisions.

    It started when one of the South Korean firms that runs a factory at Kaesong asked its North Korean employees to work weekends. The workers’ leader expressed his opposition, arguing that the employees needed weekends to rest.

    But then the employees themselves spoke up and demanded to work weekends.

    “Who on Earth will enable us to make money to live?” said one. “We want to work more.”

    Their leader continued to be reluctant to get the go-ahead from Pyongyang. But the workers wouldn’t give up. If their leaders would not speak on their behalf, they would get permission from the government themselves.

    The flare-up speaks volumes about the poverty in which North Koreans live. But it also shows the powerful lure of capitalism in a country whose ruling Workers’ Party declares itself committed to fighting it tooth and nail.

    Kaesong may be funneling money straight to the North Korean government, but there are hints that North Koreans will not want to relinquish what little capitalism they have been given now that they have been given a taste of purchasing power.

    The US doesn’t like the joint venture, which it alleges (not implausibly) is providing money for the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program. It does seem to me, though, that the best chance of effecting change in the North Korean state is for enough of its citizens to see how much more prosperity even a modicum of economic liberalization can bring. Of course, it’s necessarily providing money for the current regime; but you have to start somewhere.

    I also liked this part:

    A unique “incentive system” has also sprung up in Kaesong. The Pyongyang administration forbids wage hikes, arguing that low pay is the complex’s competitive strength. So instead, employers use things like instant cup noodles, desserts, meat, fabric and small home appliances to keep their workers motivated.

    That’s unique? It sounds exactly like the methods American employers developed to get around high taxes by providing perquisites instead of pay. And in any case, isn’t the money for the cup noodles and appliances coming from somewhere–and being reflected in the selling prices of the goods?

    Long Way 2 Go

    Posted by Sean at 05:31, October 3rd, 2006

    Okay, I wasn’t going to write anything more about Mark Foley–trying to keep the herbed chicken and ratatouille baguette down, you know?–but Michelle Malkin has a post that’s full of links and has, I think, the best-pitched response I’ve seen so far to the whole thing:

    What I am hearing from some conservatives inclined to pooh-pooh Foley’s behavior and carry on about Barney Frank instead does not sit well with me. You can’t possibly read Foley’s communications with minors that have been disclosed so far–including his attempts to rendezvous with one–and dismiss them as merely “naughty e-mails.”

    At this point, I think the GOP is making a mistake banging the drum so hard over the apparent far left/MSM orchestration of the story. However long the other side sat on the e-mails and IMs, the fact is that Mark Foley–and Mark Foley alone–is responsible for giving his enemies something to spring upon his campaign in the first place.

    It’s interesting that so many of the same people who seem fond of referring to everyone under the age of thirty as “children” whose unworldliness must be preserved by any means necessary have taken, this weekend, to acting as if nothing short of “Lay me down and f**k me, stud!!!!” crossed the line into inappropriate sexual content. As Michael and one of the people Malkin cites say, whether Foley planned to close the deal isn’t the only, or even the primary, issue. Flirtation from a powerful adult mentor, with recommendations and network access to offer or withhold, is not in the same category as flirtation from one’s prom date.

    And yet…and yet…calling this “child abuse” (as Malkin approves of) unsettles me. This is not an apologia for Foley, mind you; assuming things are as they appear, he’s done nothing illegal, but he deserves a ruined reputation and an end to his political future. Yes, I know–I’m a childless gay guy who lives abroad and doesn’t know what it’s like for parents, et c. But it seems reasonable to expect people who are parents to know the difference between a Capitol Hill internship and church camp.

    They should also know the individual adolescents they’ve been rearing for a decade and a half. Washington is an exploitative place in many ways, including plenty that are non-sexual. A teenager who is still psychologically a child shouldn’t be permitted to spend a semester there away from parental supervision.

    Added on 4 October: So Foley’s team of handlers appears to be going for the Victimization Triple Crown–the Alkie Derby, Gayness, and the Molestation Stakes. It’s a shame to have to be so cynical, and it’s not the literal statements that make me suspicious. If it’s true that Foley was molested as a child, it must indeed have been traumatizing, and it’s certainly plausible that the pressures of his double life drove him to bona fide alcoholism. But the timing of these revelations (which Foley himself may have little to do with by this point) still smacks of responsibility-dodging, suggesting as they do that the man was simply overwhelmed by his inner demons. (And no, of course, I don’t consider homosexuality a proper source of torment in and of itself, but there are plenty in the viewing audience who do.)

    Added on 5 October: Thanks to Eric for the link and the (excessive) compliment. He has a lot of his own thoughts and more links to other people’s, as usual; his focus is on the thought-policing angle:

    Thus, the Foley scandal does what ordinary “outing” could not have possibly done. It emboldens those in the GOP for whom homo-loathing is a bread-and-butter issue, and if things go the way the activists want, maybe some of them will call for witch hunts. (According to the predictable meme of restoring morality or something.)

    That’ll teach the cowards in the closet who their friends are!

    Whenever two apparent adversaries agree with each other, it worries me. Right now, I see agreement along the following lines:

    RESOLVED: Gays do not belong in the Republican Party.

    But there’s still hope for these people who hate themselves. If they convert now, it’s not too late.

    Why, the libertarian apostates will welcome them with open arms! (Aren’t they forgetting that former leftists who become libertarians are already apostates?)

    Such condescension is a bit hard to take.

    In my view, identity politics–especially the “self hatred” meme in conjunction with “outing”–makes non-conforming gay citizens afraid to voice what they think.

    That’s a first step towards not being allowed to think what they think.

    Well, I do think that it’s still people’s own responsibility if they don’t say what they think needs to be said. Still, it’s sad that you can so readily come off as a brave non-conformist for being openly gay and republican (or Republican, or conservative, or libertarian).


    Posted by Sean at 09:43, October 2nd, 2006

    Thanks to Michael for saying I’m a nice guy. I try to be–or at least, I try to put things in a way that suggests I won’t respond to opposition by jeering or throwing a fit.

    Speaking of how well things are put, Michael also links (approvingly, I assume) to this post by Andrew Sullivan about the Mark Foley flap. Maybe I’m being too picky, but I find his choice of words troubling:

    Equally, the news about Mark Foley has a kind of grim inevitability to it. I don’t know Foley, although, like any other gay man in D.C., I was told he was gay, closeted, afraid and therefore also screwed up. What the closet does to people – the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds – is brutal.

    What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility.

    That last clause is a little jarring for me, coming as it does at the tail end of an explanation of all the ways closeted gays end up as they do because they’re buffeted by circumstance. Talking about what “the closet” does in the active voice–as if it were some kind of independent baleful force–can be rhetorically effective, but the flip side is that it makes closeted gays sound helpless and passive.

    It’s still not clear what Foley’s situation is, but let’s assume he’s gay. Well, he was in his twenties in the ’70s, not the ’50s. Even considering all the ways coming out has become easier in the subsequent three decades, he had options. The only thing that makes his current pickle “inevitable” or a place he may have “never truly wanted to go” (exquisite euphemism, that) is that he kept making the same unwise choices. I’d bet that plenty of embezzlers could say honestly that they didn’t really want to steal from anyone. They just wanted a bunch of money they hadn’t earned and…well, you know.

    Abe buttonholed about Yasukuni Shrine in Diet

    Posted by Sean at 02:01, October 2nd, 2006

    Abe’s cabinet line-up was publicized on Tuesday. The Japan Times has an English list attached to its article on the announcement that unfortunately doesn’t contain the brief biographies from the print edition. Different commentators have different prognostications to offer, as always, but most agree that what will be most important to pay attention to is how the Abe government decides to prioritize and compromise. The cabinet members and advisors who are personal allies of his are almost uniformly hard-right in their public positions, but much of the rest of the LDP isn’t. Besides, some of Abe’s policy goals are, on their face, at odds with each other. (I’ll be interested to see how he manages to repair relations with China while also scotching its plans to become the preeminent regional economic and political power and increasing Japan’s military autonomy.)

    Speaking of which, Abe has not stated one way or another whether he plans to visit the Yasukuni Shrine as prime minister. He was, however, questioned about it this morning:

    The first questioner from the Democratic Party of Japan was party leader Yukio Hatoyama, who raised the point that the prime minister is coordinating visits to the PRC and ROK without having stated clearly whether he will make pilgrimages to the Yasukuni Shrine. Hatoyama criticized the prime minister: “This is going to turn into Jun’ichiro Koizumi, the Second Act–losing trust [from China and Korea] through evasive maneuvers.”

    Touching on the prime minister’s [previous] argument that “thinking that requires separating Class-A war criminals from others is off-target,” Hatoyama pressed him: “Just where does responsibility lie?”

    The second act part is originally 二の舞 (ni no mai: “second dance”), usually used when you fail in the same way as someone else by making the same dumb mistakes. Abe is, if anything, more combative about the Yasukuni issue than his predecessor was. Koizumi’s line was, to the extent that one could get meaning from it, that it was possible to pay respect to those who’d served Japan in good faith while leaving the malefactors to whatever reward/retribution had been served to them in the next life.

    Still standing

    Posted by Sean at 21:13, September 27th, 2006

    Shinzo Abe is now Prime Minister of Japan and has appointed his cabinet and blah-blah-blah…but more importantly, Kylie says she’s back on track after he breast cancer treatments (via the Flea (who heard from some other people):

    The 38-year-old singer–who was given the all-clear by doctors at the start of the year–was a surprise guest at the Red Square concert, where she introduced the Scissor Sisters. [Sorry I missed that!–SRK]

    She enthusiastically urged the crowd to cheer louder, and was even seen ‘spinning around’ as she danced along to the music in the wings.

    She said: “My energy’s coming back now. I am so revved up. I can’t wait to get back to my day job.”

    I know I’ve said this before, but how is it possible not to love Kylie? I will adore Madonna until the day I die, but you just know that if she’d gotten breast cancer, she’d have been all over the media by now talking about the battle to survive and attendant profound spiritual transformation–as if she’d been the first cancer patient in human history. (At least, she would if the way she handled first-time motherhood is anything to go by.)

    In any case, good for Kylie. Can’t wait for the album.

    This is not a coincidence

    Posted by Sean at 00:06, September 22nd, 2006

    James McGreevey isn’t the only controversial public figure offering “confessions” of dubitable religious sincerity this week.

    If you live in a major Asian city and have spent the last few days wondering where all the fags got to, I have your answer. It’s still warm enough to sit outside at night, so a few buddies and I were having a drink when one of us noticed all the men around speaking Chinese. Gucci trainees off the chain after a day of workshops? Traveling dance or drama company? Nope. “We’re here for Madonna!”

    Of course. You could see gaggles of them in Shibuya Wednesday and yesterday, too. And at the last show last night (a friend and I went).

    I wasn’t sure how I’d like the show, but I loved it to pieces. The political and religious [ahem] commentary was predictably witless…or I guess “directionless” is a better way to put it. The mirror-tiled crucifix from which she sang “Live to Tell” has become the most notorious part of the show, but it was way less thrilling than the big mirrorball that was lowered to the stage and opened like a flower from outer space to disgorge her and her dancers at the start of the show. And while it was clear that Madge was repeatedly addressing us as “motherf*@ers!” as a gesture of inclusiveness–we in the audience were part of her in-group of fearless, super-transgressive free spirits, you know?–the effect was lame compared with the pleasurably shocked sense she could produce so reliably twenty years ago.

    Madonna’s a better live singer than you’d expect. I know she has plenty of gizmos to help her with power and pitch; but there were enough blue notes and cracks to convince you that she was mostly going au naturel, and she projected lots of personality and charm. And there’s no faking that amount of energy. Toward the end, she was obviously kind of tired from having been flinging her limbs around for two hours, but it didn’t come off as the Tired of someone frantically pushing herself beyond the physical limitations of age. Though I think she’d look sexier if she settled into having just a little body fat, it’s hard to deny that her healthfulness obsession is paying dividends in the long term. (The party of hopped-up dykes in the row in front of us paid frequent and voluble notice.)

    And my two favorite songs from the latest album (“Jump” and “Forbidden Love”) were spectacular–high points even in a show full of crowd-pleasers. A good time all around.


    Posted by Sean at 22:47, September 20th, 2006

    Surprise! It’s Abe.

    I mean, the next president of the LDP and therefore Prime Minister of Japan will be Shinzo Abe. He got 66% of the vote. Of course, that’s internal. The public has been ambivalent, despite Abe’s Clinton-ish way of addressing himself to the average middle-class citizen and even as reports hammered away at the near-inevitability of an Abe win.

    It now remains to be seen how his “beautiful country” plan will take shape. He’s promised to deepen ties with the US while repairing relations with the PRC and the Koreas. Sounds good, but it’s hard to tell what concrete approach he plans to take. He’s been one of the highest-profile members of the Koizumi administration to make pilgrimages to the Yasukuni Shrine, which is hardly a way to endear oneself to the rest of East Asia. He’s also in favor of amending the constitution, and there’s little doubt he’s referring to Article 9 (which contains the non-aggression clause). How far does he want to go in restoring military capability to Japan? No one’s sure.

    Economically, the guy’s a wild card, too. Koizumi was an economic liberal from the get-go; he brought in Heizo Takenaka and, as much as possible, gave him carte blanche when it came to banking and finance reform. The bills for privatization of Japan Post ended up going through a predictable defanging process on the way to ratification, but Koizumi was willing to draw a line in the sand over them. Abe wants to control deflation, doesn’t think the Allied military tribunal that sentenced Japanese war criminals (yeah, I’m begging the question there…you know what I mean) was just, and doesn’t seem to want schoolchildren learning about comfort women during World War II.

    Since it’s not clear what his prime policy directives are, it’s not clear what his deal-breakers are. He’s obviously pretty nationalist by personal conviction, but he lacks the long-standing network of powerful connections to make it likely that he’ll be able to push through controversial pet proposals. He doesn’t seem to have the force of personality to convince people to put aside their doubts, but he will need allies–the LDP is not in the most secure position itself. We should begin to see pretty rapidly what will be the driving force behind his policies when his beliefs hit reality. You can bet that the rest of East Asia, in addition to the Japanese public, will be watching.

    Reflection without introspection

    Posted by Sean at 21:53, September 18th, 2006

    Former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey’s memoir is excerpted in this week’s New York magazine.

    I was prepared to warm to the guy. However self-serving his initial reasons for coming out as he did may have been, McGreevey’s had nearly two years to do some hard thinking since then; and there’s nothing we Americans like more than a redemption story. Also, I’m not really worried about whether, in general, McGreevey will do good work for the causes that employ him from here on; it seems almost certain that he will.

    But a good portion of the gay press has been touting him as a potentially worthy and worthwhile public representative for our interests. My sense–and I’m just going by the New York excerpt here–is still that we can do better. This is how McGreevey describes the beginning of his affair with then-aide Golan Cipel (or alleged affair, since Cipel denies that anything beyond sexual harassment by McGreevey ever happened between them):

    It was wrong to do. I wasn’t an ordinary citizen anymore. There were state troopers parked outside. My wife was in the hospital. And he was my employee. But I took Golan by the hand and led him upstairs to my bed.

    My core group of supporters still felt [when the scandal was about to break because of Cipel’s threatened lawsuit] I should serve out my term, but not run for reelection. I wasn’t convinced that was penance enough for my transgressions. What I did was not just foolish, but unforgivable. Hiring a lover on state payroll, no matter the gender, was wrong. I needed to take my punishment—and to begin my healing out of the fishbowl of politics.

    Having sex with state troopers outside? Hot!

    Uh, I mean, the logic of that first paragraph eludes me. I can see the point about its being a betrayal of voters’ trust to court scandal just when you’ve ascended to the job they elected you to do. I’m not sure whether cheating on your unwitting wife is worse when she’s in the hospital, but her having just borne your child would certainly make it more difficult to leave you if she decided to do so. And no, one should not be propositioning employees, who may not feel in a position to refuse without repercussions.

    It remains difficult to shake the feeling that McGreevey sees his coming out as a way to spin potential political and legal lemons into lemonade–a convenient opportunity to start a less pained and stressed-out life but not a moral or ethical necessity. He has an interesting way of using the word integrated to refer to “not feeding different people different lies to get what you want from each of them,” but one is left wondering whether he thinks that approach is good and right or just eats up less space on his BlackBerry. And as for his “punishment,” well…the gay political machine may not get you into the White House, but it’s powerful enough in liberal circles in the Mid-Atlantic to be a good place for a soft landing from the governorship of New Jersey. Especially if the alternative is a costly sexual harassment suit.

    Homosexuality isn’t a club, and the guy is clearly as gay as the rest of us. We own him now. I’m just not sure why we’re exhorted to be proud of him.

    Added on 20 September: Joe has, if anything, more apserity to direct at McGreevey’s public grandstanding than I did. He begins by quoting an AP story:


    Once publicly opposed to gay marriage, former New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey now says he spoke out against the idea as a way to keep his homosexuality hidden.

    “I did not want to be identified as being gay, and it was the safe place to be,” McGreevey said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. “I wanted to embrace the antagonist. I wanted to be against it. That’s the absurdity.”

    No, the absurdity is the fame, fortune and acceptance he’s getting for his despicable, craven, cowardly and profoundly immoral behavior.

    I disagree with Joe that McGreevey is a good example of justifiable outing. There’s no evidence that he expected to use his power to circumvent the law against gay marriage he supported. The man went so far as to marry two women, after all.

    I do find the use of the word absurd very interesting, implying as it does that McGreevey’s conduct was irrational. Poor thing, he wasn’t quite thinking clearly, et c. (Chris at Gay Orbit seems as aghast as Joe, but he also implicitly labels McGreevey’s actions “crazy.”) In fact, opposing gay marriage was an eminently sensible, reasonable, even inevitable move for someone who’d made the conscious decision to place his highest priority on fulfilling his lust for political power. McGreevey himself acknowledges as much later in the article, saying, “I was proud to be against gay marriage because that’s where I thought a majority of New Jerseyans were. That’s successful politics.” One wonders whether this joker has any deep convictions at all.