At first, it was a political goldmine: Mark Foley sexually harassing young men, serving as pages.
Then it got pretty strange: John McCain's campaign chairman claiming his offer of a blow job to a male cop was self-defense. After that, it just got funny: Larry Craig, in the crapper, hitting on yet another male cop. You know the rest.
It's an incredibly sad state of affairs, no pun intended.
I mean, the fact that this helps Democrats is a nice silver-lining, but I'm a human first, a member of my family second, a citizen of the world third, a citizen of the United States fourth...and being a Democrat is down the list. (Actually, these days I'd put NOT being a Republican higher up on the list than being a Democrat.)
And speaking as a human, these gay Republican sex scandals are tragedies.
It's true that they are self-inflicted tragedies, tragedies for which we bear no responsibility whatsoever, but they are tragedies nonetheless.
When David Vitter screws prostitutes left and right for years on end, nobody really cares.
That's as it should be. Sure, David Vitter is a noxious scumbag, a hypocritical sack of fecal matter, but who am I to judge him. Hell, I wasn't going to vote for him anyway.
When Bill Clinton fooled around with an intern in the Oval Office, most decent Americans didn't care either. Sure, many people said they were offended, and no doubt a lot of them were. But get real -- everybody knew that Clinton liked women when we elected him in 1992. So what? Fact is, I'm jealous.
Ironically, the only people that got really outraged about Clinton's ability to get laid were the David Vitters (he who had to pay) and Larry Craigs (he who had to hide) of the world. So a pox on them. They are the scum of the earth.
I have a theory, call it amateur psychology. The theory is that part of the reason that Larry Craig decided to return to the Senate was because it will enable him to at least fantasize about having clandestine gay sex. For this man's entire life, his gay sex life was in the closet. He must have learned to enjoy it that way. To suddenly be able to be openly bisexual or homosexual might seem like liberation to someone who hasn't spent their entire life in the closet, but to him, having learned to enjoy male sexual company in the closet, he might not know how to enjoy homosexual sex outside the closet.
Cynical Republicans like Larry Craig are probably beyond rescue, and certainly don't deserve our sympathy.
But for every Larry Craig out there, there's a young man, politically conservative, likely to be a Republican but gay, or bisexual. He hasn't yet been trained to operate in the closet. He hasn't yet been trained to hate himself.
But people like Larry Craig and Bob Allen and Mark Foley are teaching these young men just that: stay in the closet, hate yourself. That's what makes these men so evil, so vile, so repugnant.
Unfortunately, I fear, most straight Republicans hate these men not because they are hypocrites, but because they are gay, and because they think the public hates gays, making these men political liabilities.
And the media, by focusing on the horse-race political implications of each sex scandal, reinforce that same message, seeming to say that Americans hate the gay lifestyle, that it disgusts them.
The reality, however, is that most Americans don't hate gays. This is especially true among young Americans.
But yet the media, aided and abetted by cynical and evil Republican politicians, reinforce the meme, ensuring that yet another generation of young Republican men will face the same crisis -- unless someone shows some leadership, and breaks the cycle.
I'm outraged by the hypocritical stand Republicans -- are taking towards David Vitter and Larry Craig.
It's not that I think David Vitter should be condemned.
I think the Republicans should stop beating up Larry Craig. So should the media. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad Craig was outed. It's an important part of breaking the cycle. But the cycle won't be broken until the Republican Party finally accepts and forgives an outed member of its party.
Until that happens, we're going to be faced with scandal after scandal, and that will help the Democratic Party, and I don't feel an ounce of guilt about that.
Let's face it: the reason why we, as Democrats and progressives, reap political benefits from the gay Republican tragedy has nothing to do with our own actions.
We're not out there stirring up anti-gay rhetoric. We don't hate gays.
They think the scandal is that Larry Craig is gay, or bisexual, or whatever he is.
The scandal is that they hate gays. The scandal is that not just that they think being gay is an option, but that they think it is a repugnant option. The scandal is that they pretend that homosexuals don't exist, when clearly they do.
The scandal is that their position on gays is nearly the same as the president of Iran's.
Americans wouldn't be interested in the Larry Craig scandal if it weren't for the fact that Republicans hated Larry Craig.
Republicans think the proper response is to excommunicate Larry Craig, but that is just a band-aid and proves how backwards they are. The only acceptable solution is for them to embrace Larry Craig, apologize to all GLBT Americans, and to the rest of the country who knows and loves family members and friends who are GLBT.
Republicans are doing this entire thing to themselves.
And they just don't get it.
The clear and obvious and simple but profound lesson from all their gay sex scandals is this: all around the world, in every family, religion, race, and political party, no matter what James Dobson or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say, there are gay and lesbian people.
There's nothing anybody can do to stop it. Gay people are everywhere, and that's just not going to change. It's a fact of life.
For the past year, this fact has stared the Republican Party in its eye. But their reaction has been stupid, awful, and self-damaging: they condemn Larry Craig, Bob Allen, and others, instead of opening their arms to them. They redouble their efforts to ban gay marriage or domestic partnership instead of embracing reality.
Someday, it will change. It has to.
For now, however, the Republican Party is killing itself from within. They are a self-hating breed. Obviously, they're not all homosexual. But by hating homosexuals they hate themselves.
It's very sad. I hope they learn. We'll find other issues to clobber them on. After all, there is so much that they are wrong about.
But it would at least be nice to know that they aren't forcing the gay members of their party into the closet.
It's a question of basic humanity, and it's time they grow up. It's time they join the rest of America.