The Sanctity of Marriage; The Legend of Courser and Gamrat

By now the public knows what everyone in Lansing already knew…and knew for many months: Republican/Tea Party State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat were having a very thinly veiled affair. Other Reps knew it, lobbyists knew it, Gamrat’s husband knew it, the hotel where they met frequently knew it, the Lansing police knew it, GOP leadership knew it (and helped it along by allowing them to share an office)…everyone knew it.

As the details continue to titillate the public, and Courser’s lame, offensive, and illegal attempt to cover up the affair (that everyone already knew about) becomes public knowledge, we will, as usual, focus on the wrong things. There are lessons here, and plenty of them.

For a while we will get to read all the seedy transcripts of Courser’s attempt to throw us off his trail by creating a fake email accusing himself of having a homosexual affair that was consummated in the parking lot of a Lansing night club. In the twisted mind of Courser, if people thought he was giving/receiving blowjobs to/from another man, they would not believe he was sleeping with his colleague.

Deflecting the story in this way tells us a lot about the character of this man. His long record of quoting the Bible and condemning homosexuality and marriage equality was a dark enough mark on his quality as a human being. But to then use a fictitious gay affair to cover up his breach of the sanctity of his “real” marriage, is reminiscent of Charles Manson’s attempt to avoid arrest by scrawling Black Power slogans on the walls of his victims’ houses in their own blood. Courser and Manson assumed that people were so bigoted against gays and blacks respectively, that there’s no way we would tie the real perpetrators to their crime. (Affairs are punished by death just like gay sex, right bible thumpers?)

In the aftermath of the public revelation of the Courser/Gamrat affair and cover-up, the reactions of people on both the left and the right have been especially entertaining. Desperate liberals in Lansing, who have seen their chance to govern gerrymandered away for the foreseeable future, have long had to suffer under the political tyranny of the Tea Party. Courser and Gamrat were so offensively Tea Party, that even GOP speaker Kevin Cotter (himself shockingly inept as a leader) was at odds with the darling couple.

But outing the adulterous sinners was a bit difficult. Efforts to FOIA police records of an incident in which Gamrat’s husband tried to confront the couple at their love nest in the Radisson proved fruitless. Democrats could gain little political capital from making the affair public. It had to come from the inside. And when Gamrat and Courser so angered their own staff, it didn’t take long for someone to squeal.

So Democrats over the last 24 hours have been having a ball spreading the details of the affair and the buffoonery surrounding the cover up. Lots of laughing; lots of schadenfreude.

Republicans, while probably secretly taking shots of the good stuff from the secret drawer in their desks, had to fear the consequences of the scandal. On Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc., Republicans publicly told the biggest lie about their personal feelings since South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford took off to Argentina with his stripper friend. “What’s the big deal? Why do we care who sleeps with who?
(Democrats would have used “whom” here, but you get the point.)

Of course Republicans care who sleeps with whom! They just spent millions of our tax dollars fighting marriage equality here in Michigan alone. They bought ads with solemn church music playing in the background warning of the world’s end should one man’s penis end up where they didn’t think it belonged. No buts about it, the GOP cares very much who sleeps with whom. By gosh, the entire institution of marriage is in danger! (Done laughing at the hypocrisy yet? I could go on for a few more paragraphs if you’d like.)

So lesson number 1: Republicans are shameful hypocrites when they talk about marriage, gay rights, and adultery. Lesson number 2: It’s going to happen again.

Let’s face it, the affairs, the elicit sex, and the frat parties have long been a part of Michigan politics. That’s not what I’m talking out. What’s going to happen again is the inept and outrageous attempt to cover things up that will fail miserably. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, George HW Bush were very good at covering up their affairs and illegal activity. Clinton blew it…wait, let me rephrase that…Clinton’s arrogance, much like Gary Hart’s, led to the exposure of his affairs.

The current mob of Tea Party Reps in Lansing have all the arrogance of a Bill Clinton, but only about 1/10th of his intelligence and political skill. (Keep in mind questions about Clinton’s fidelity were swirling for 20 years before they finally became officially public.) Arrogance and stupidity is a really dangerous combination for anyone who wants us to live by one set of rules while they live by their own. If you’re going to be a quality hypocrite, you really need to be good at covering things up. Courser and Gamrat have the hypocrisy down pat, but their ineptness at keeping it under covers…er under wraps is legendary. In less than seven months their little world of Bible-thumping, hate-mongering attempts at further ruining our state came crashing down around them.

A quick look at the legislative roster, especially in northern Michigan, indicates we will likely soon see another scandal become public. When undereducated, not very clever, religious zealots are put in office, we’re all in for some real fun at their expense. The question remains: Are we ever going to wise up enough to elect people who can really lead (or at least be a little better at their hypocrisy)? Our first test will come if Gamrat and Courser leave office either voluntarily or by forced removal. The people of Plainwell and Lapeer will have a chance to show us they learned their lesson. The rest of us will get our chance soon enough.

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