Bill Rusher On Larry Craig

The late icon of the conservative movement wrote this on the occasion of the Minneapolis Airport restroom indiscretion:

No doubt about it, the inconsistency is toothsome. But does it really follow that Craig, and all the other supporters of family values (and there must be many) who share his weakness, or have some other weakness, are hypocrites? Isn't it possible that Craig truly regards the institution of marriage as valuable, even indispensable to society, and considers his own lapses into homosexual conduct as an unfortunate disorder – or even (if he is religious) as a sin?

These are difficult questions, and I respect the view of anyone who takes a different position. But I hesitate to condemn anyone who takes the position I have outlined above as a "hypocrite" unless he (or she) privately regards that position as false, while espousing it publicly.

There is merit to this opinion. And it is often more humane than the view that hypocrisy can always be gleaned with certainty from the outside – and thereby publicly punished or shamed. But that another key figure in the conservative movement – one thinks of Marvin Liebman, Roy Cohn, and Whittaker Chambers – might know this from the inside out, as it were, remains interesting. Interesting because there are so few gay arch-conservatives willing to make this case from outside the closet.

Why, one wonders? And does that tell us anything about the coherence of the position? Or rather, how many out gay conservatives oppose the right to marry?