My hope here is to help narrow the discussion along lines of probability as narrowed by an experienced perspective
As a seasoned gay man of a certain age I'd like to examine some of the facts that have been unearthed and to infer these facts' larger meaning from the perspective of a gay "insider". And I can tell you, from the amount of hand-wringing over the horror of leftie bloggers making a big deal over poor Jeff's former, and, overlapping career, that they are terrified that the extent of Bush's intimate Gay network will be exposed.
But the Gay network may also provide substantial clues as to the Dirty Tricks department of Team Bush. I think it likely there is huge overlap.
REPUBLICANS AND THEIR GAY UNDERWORLD
That many Gay Republicans should prefer the closety games of the 1950s over the open Gay culture that arose out of the post Stonewall era should come as no surprise. They are reactionaries after all. In fact, I know Gay men of a certain age and income who routinely excoriate "the fags" while nonetheless indulging appetites and behaviours that would leave Margaret Sperling's head spinning. But since the lights are out in their orgy rooms, good Republicans are happy to just overlook and pretend not to see. It is the public avowal of affection that makes them crazy over the gay marriage issue. To compare Gay marriage to a perversion, as right next to bestiality is on the face of it insane. Gay people seeking to have stable monogamous relationships accepted into their families and their communities are, in key respects, far more conservative and traditional than the many gays in the republican party who scuttle around in the shadows, procuring illicit sex and using sites like MilitaryEscortM4M.com.
I have been with my partner 25 years this summer and I personally am sick and tired of being told that my only option is to have a lavender marriage with an understanding lesbian or a loveless marriage with an unsuspecting woman while trolling public toilets and internet chat rooms on the side. You tell me which of these is the more honorable?
GANNON, GAY PROSTITUTION AND THE WHITE HOUSE
While it might seem thrilling to imagine that Gannon found a sponsor through his website the chances of that are actually next to nil. Far more likely is that he met his sponsor in a more refined setting. In New York there is a piano bar on the East Side that fancies itself a bit of a British gentlemen's club. The place is filled with older men of means and younger men on the make. Prostitution is never mentioned. For a young gay to quote an hourly rate would be a fatal error. In this refined atmosphere we're not talking about by the hour rent-boys but long-term investments: what I've always called mortgage boys.
The young men on the make are not teenagers. They are reasonably well educated and well groomed; in their late 20s, 30s, even 40s and are all hoping to find an older gentlemen who might "mentor" them.
The reason why $$$ is never discussed is because the true value of the John's fantasy is that this isn't just tawdry or naughty but that there is some sort of relationship developing. Somewhere along the line there'll be college "fees", medical bills, a car, a cruise, a fortnight in Aspen or the Hamptons. Or, of course, a job. You get the picture.
Anyway, if this was the ruse under which Gannon scored his Sugar Daddy, the Daddy may never have known about the websites and the hooking. Gannon might (as the phantasy required) have similarly fed him a long story. Didn't Gannon once say he had been living off "savings" - That sounds like a perfectly good way to disguise an illicit cash flow and may well have been the perfect line to feed his sugar daddy. It helped create the impression that Gannon really is one of the boys, one of the club. Well bred, wants to write, has savings or a trust fund. Sound political views. Bingo.
If Gannon really was working the circuit I'm sure he sought to hide his side-line in the Flesh trade and that, in that scenario, his "mentor" may not have known. My short hand reading says - possibly Eberle told Rove or McClellan that Gannon was cool and -wosh - he's in. Everyone knows that these types of events have a front stage and a backstage - we should see if a Jeff Gannon or a JD Gurket is signed in anywhere else in the White House or the Eisenhower Building (Isn't that what the Old Executive Offices are now called? I haven't been to DC in decades)
Once it all seems doable and Gannon seems to be fitting in, OR because the Press Room needs this added layer of subterfuge, Talon News is born.
BOB EBERLE, PAUL DICKERSON and GOPUSA
When NBC ran an item on Gannon the other evening they cut in a snip of stock footage of Bob Eberle talking about his political action group, GOPUSA. While I know that Bob Eberle is married (who isn't wink-wink) I couldn't help but hear my gaydar ring a bit when I saw him.
Interestingly it has since been reported that Texas Republicans are distancing themselves from Eberle with almost universal declarations that no one knew him. This, in itself, suggests they know something about the relationship between Eberle and Gannon and are running scared from it. (http://nashuaadvocate.blogspot.com/2005/02/texas-republican-party-denies-knowing.html)
There is a photo of born-again Bobby
on a recent GOPUSA posting - March 24, 2004 (http://www.gopusa.com/company/welcome_moa.shtml
Bob Eberle writes:
"Thanks also goes out to Paul Dickerson, Charlie Weldon, and Terri Hillhouse of the GOPUSA team for their valuable insights".
This, largely overlooked, diary from FOYA (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/18/224553/157) noted that while the last two names are formerly affiliated with GOPUSA) that Dickerson was a mystery and so a long list of URLS referring to Dickerson where cited. Some of them were interesting to me in ways that FOYA might not have gleaned.
The list shows that Dickerson was a Bush Ranger in 2004, raising over 200k for the re-election campaign. Two of them are largely gossip items placing Dickerson in the center of prominent Texas Republicans. One introduces Dickerson at a Houston fundraiser for Bush and notes how he brought a "client" with him - I quote:
(Sorry, I don't know how to box it so I'll set it off another way)
Paul Dickerson is an example. Only 33, Dickerson is a Houston lawyer and he is not well known. But he is highly valuable to the Bush campaign, one of 187 "Rangers" who have each raised at least $200,000. He is one of many fresh faces behind Mr. Bush's financial operation, which has minted scores of new fund-raisers and molded them into the most effective money machine in presidential campaign history.
At Bush's fund-raising visit to Houston on March 10, for example, Dickerson, brought Michael Ames, an investment banker he hopes to entice to do business with his law firm.
"I ask clients to come along, instead of bringing some sweet young thing," he said. "As a young associate, I want to make a partner." Ames, who gushed about the high-powered event at the Hilton Americas, said he wanted to work with Dickerson, who clearly scored points at the reception.
Dickerson told reporters that he can enhance his career by mixing colleagues and would-be clients with his campaign connections, even though he insisted, "that wasn't my motivation getting started." Ironically, Dickerson said he has yet to offer up his own money to the campaign, but his willingness to put in hundreds of hours and thousands of phone calls transformed him over the last year into a six-figure fund-raiser, one of the most valuable commodities in politics.
There's a lot of interest in that seemingly innocuous bit of filler. The "only" 33 Dickerson is clearly unmarried as the only option to bringing a "client" he cites is "bringing some sweet young thing" (he doesn't say "my wife", does he?)
In fact, the whole thing sounds like a boilerplate closet-case cover and I suspect the reorter was tipping her hand by telling us that his "client", Michael Ames "gushed" - a long time euphemism for an effeminate man. (Her use of the word "entice" to describe Dickerson's ambitions towards Ames is also telling) (Actually these four paragraphs are telling in a lot of ways - but not for today)
AND WAIT - when we look at another one of the links so thoughtfully dug out by FOYA we find this - another social column - this time in the Houston Chronicle -
covering a huge White House Party for about 700 Texas loyalists. Here we find Dickerson (of the old Bush family linked law office of Haynes and Boone) partnered, again, with another man, one Rex Lamb. A quick google search shows us that Rex is president of the Houston Young Republicans. While it may only be a coincidence that their names are fused together, I suspect that Dickerson's companion would have been mentioned - had he had one other than Mr Lamb, and that the same would apply for Rex Lamb. In short, columns of this type are usually very keen to get the pairings right and to not give offense by naming only one half of a couple. On top of that, the etiquette of naming gay couples is usually discret enough so that it could be read as just happenstance. It could, of course, just be happenstance but the very ambiguity of it is telling.
So, what can we infer from this? Let's add one other factoid about Dickerson touched on in the item quoted above - He's a new face, someone who, like Bob Eberle himself appears to have played a much lower key role in the party prior to 2000.
My inference? Well, I think we've touched on a Hot Potato issue, that, in fact, Gannon's indiscretion is running the risk of exposing the entire Velvet Mafia of Texas that rallied behind Bush's election strategy. As a "new" member of the Bush team wouldn't it be logical to think that he'd been brought on board by campaign manager, Ken Mehlman?
So, in essence, far from having knowingly sponsored a rent boy, I think they've all been taken for a loop - winking eyes through short-hand conversations and just assumed that Gannon's bona fides were in order. As of today, the whole chain of command is terrified that this thing might spin out of their control
GOPUSA AS ROVIAN FRONT GROUP
What is interesting in tracing the origins of GOPUSA is that Bobby Eberle appears to equivocate about when his organization actually began. Although he most often cites 9-11 as a key to the inspiration to go big time, other reports suggest that GOPUSA was, in fact, founded, in Texas, in 1999. The lead here suggests a strong possibility that Rove needed a "front" group to act as a propaganda arm of the campaign and that the far better connected (though even more dubious financially) Bruce Eberle agreed to help create GOPUSA for his (brother? Cousin? Nephew? - has anyone solved this yet?) Bobby to oversee, or front for.
Is the confusion because GOPUSA was actually created before Bob Eberle had anything much to do with it? That he, too, had been brought on board?
That GOPUSA and TALON news were not just some simple little advocacy group seems highlighted by their role in the South Dakota campaign, of which we already know quite a lot and has been well-documented by SusanG and others.
In summary for today, my hypothesis is that under the able scrutiny of Karl Rove, members of Texas's closety gay underground were brought in to similarly create a dirty tricks arm of the campaign. Most members of GOPUSA probably had no know idea that any of this was happening. That was desirable. The secret leveraged world of gays and espionage neatly overlap. Indeed, gays and networks of gays have long been a staple in the clandestine world for those very reasons.
While it is possible that Gannon's cover may have been deeper, that, indeed, the whole MilitaryStudM4M.com was itself a black op entrapment scam should not be discounted, I think it unlikely that they would have allowed Gannon to cross over. On the contrary, I suspect that they are all flabberghasted and blaming Bobby for having ever brought Gannon in on the scheme.
My estimation is that a network of Texas Gays have been instrumental in Bush's rise to power and that a few of them just got very sloppy in a way that risks outing all of them. That's the reason why there's been this whole attempt to frame the issue as being about Gannon's personal life - they know perfectly well it's their OWN personal lives that that they're trying to protect.
Again, it's NOT GANNON'S PERSONAL LIFE - IT"S THEIR OWN.
Blackmail is a subtle art and is often used by those nearest to us. I'm not talking about "emotional" blackmail in the pop psychology sense but something more nuanced. In a secretive culture, like the gay underworld - that I wish could finally disappear altogether - blackmail isn't as crass as open exhortion, the threats are often unspoken. In fact, pressure can be applied in even apparently friendly ways as lovers, ex-lovers, or friends yield simply to accommodate and protect everyone.
Three days ago I spoke with a contemporary of mine, who'd been a regular at CBGB's and places like the 9th Circle who had become a staunch Republican. Although he lives in DC we met in one of the old 70s landmarks we'd each known 30 years ago as he was visiting New York for a few days. (He was keen to tell me about the Constitution Ball he attended this year.) When I asked him just what all this was about, all these secret gays - the whole pack of them - he gave me one of those looks that says "Girl, this says it all" and said, in a whispered tone, "Karl Rove."
He refused to elaborate. As he was off-the-record I'll keep his name off the main dairy for the moment until I speak with him again. I don't think he's near as well connected as he'd like to be but I take it - on face value - as a fair estimate of the gossip current in DC `s gay watering holes.
Given the astonishing number of alleged CLOSETED gays in key White House/RNC positions and in their MEDIA outlets it really baffles me how they get away with the amount of malicious and damaging gay baiting they do.
On a closing note, I think that until we find where the money for all these shenanigans came from (and GANNON/TALON seems the first to possibly derive from laundered money or slush funds. - (IMPORTANT POINT!!!) The others -Williams, Gallagher et alia - were all receiving merely misappropriated funds! LOL
My suggestion, if we're looking for slush funds, is go for the off shore ENRON accounts? Get every lunch receipt, every bus ticket, every memo available to the public domain. I'm sure you'll find BILLIONS of dollars were being siphoned off into secret slush fund accounts that are occasionally kicking back into TEAM BUSH operations. This could well be one of them.
A good job would be to see what links any of these B-list characters from Texas have with Enron and might have been privy, even signatories, to those mysterious off shore accounts - Bob Eberle, Paul Dickerson, Ken Mehlman, Dan Gurlie, Jay Banning, Scott McClellan, Karl Rove, Rick Perry, George W Bush.....it might just lead somewhere.
REMEMBER In all likelihood the first few times Gannon was in the Press Room (which does have a separate entrance, doesn't it?) he was already in the White House. Has anyone the know-how to access sign-in sheets at the Building's various entrances?
I hope I haven't gone on too long. I just felt that the amount of speculation about the gay side of the story was going too far from what the reality might truly be. I merely wished to lend my own perspective on the speculation and attempt to focus it all in a more forensic manner.
I think the issues are important. The gay angle is but one of several that need to be unearthed.
Believe me, at some point there will be considerable overlap and, possibly, immolation.
Thanks for taking the time to read my contribution and a quick thanks to Susan G and the other many excellent researchers here at Kos. I hope my two cents adds something to the discussion.