However one feels about Democratic New Jersey Senate candidate Cory Booker -- and believe me, he has critics as well as fans -- it cannot be denied that the charismatic mayor of Newark is an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality.
In fact, Booker is so committed to LGBT rights that, as he told the Washington Post earlier this week, he doesn't mind speculation and rumors about his sexual orientation:
"'Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven't signed up for that yet?' he says. 'And people who think I'm gay, some part of me thinks it's wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I'm gay, and I say, 'So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I'm straight.'"
It took less than a day for Steve Lonegan (Facebook, Twitter), Booker's anti-gay Republican opponent, to seize on the mayor's words and launch a vicious homophobic attack.
Right Wing Watch reports that Steve Malzberg, a radio personality with the conservative media outlet Newsmax, asked Lonegan yesterday what he thought of Booker's comments. The Republican responded that he thought Booker was "weird" and then clumsily attempted to attack his opponent's manhood:
"It's kinda weird -- as a guy, I personally like being a guy... I don't know if you saw the stories last year, they've been out quite a bit, about how he likes to go out at three-o'clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure...
"Maybe that helps him get the gay vote, by acting ambiguous... although I don't like going out in the middle of the night -- or any time of the day -- for a manicure and pedicure. It was described as his 'peculiar fetish,' is how it was described. I have a more peculiar fetish: I like a good scotch and a cigar. That's my fetish. But we'll just compare the two."
Mr. Lonegan: shame on you for wallowing in the gutter of homophobia. Someone as obviously insecure in his own manhood as you are has absolutely no business attacking anyone else on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Your despicable, hateful smears aren't just twenty-plus years out of date, they're also the hallmark of a desperate, flailing candidate who knows he can't win on the issues and is headed for a bruising defeat in October. But look on the bright side: after you've lost the election, you'll have plenty of free time to enjoy all those good cigars.