Lindsey Graham, Caitlyn Jenner, and the tyranny of opinions
Any comment on the pop culture scene?
Last week, the internet broke down and polished off an entire bottle of wine after former sports star and sex symbol Bruce Jenner graced the cover of Vanity Fair dressed in the trappings of his new identity—Caitlyn.
65 year-old Jenner came out last week as “Caitlyn,” confirming longstanding rumors teased at by Kris Jenner and others in the Hollywood realm that Bruce’s true identity wasn’t necessarily as masculine as he had portrayed himself since his rise to sports fame in the ’70s.
As “he” flipped to “she,” political pundits on both sides of the aisle took to the airwaves to give their opinion on sexual identity, traditional vs. evolving gender roles, and how issues involving transgender people relate to the battle of ideologies currently raging over the legalization of same sex marriage.
During an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, presidential candidate and US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) surprised everyone by taking a stand on the issue of Jenner’s admittedly Republican political leanings.
By “took a stand,” I mean he welcomed her into the party. Hat tip to the New York Post:
“If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be safe, and have a prosperous economy, vote for me. I’m into addition. I haven’t walked in her shoes; I don’t have all the answers to the mysteries of life. I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through. I hope he—I hope she—has found peace. I’m a pro-life, traditional marriage kind of guy, but I’m running to be President of the United States. If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a Republican, she is welcome in my party.”
Watch, via MSNBC:
Is Caitlyn Jenner welcome in Lindsey Graham’s Republican party? You bet. Does Lindsey Graham have clue one about what Caitlyn Jenner was and is thinking? No way. Does that mean he’s going to toss up a talking point about traditional gender roles? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I surprised myself when my first reaction to this wasn’t to immediately write this off as a pander to the growing number of Republicans who are more inclined to accept (or at least tolerate) an albeit shocking (and maybe confusing) gender-bender. I think Graham is sincere, and I think that because he went on to say that he is pro-life, and pro-traditional marriage. He didn’t fumble the ball like Huckabee and Santorum did, and he didn’t call for Jenner’s rejection, like Limbaugh did. Instead, he dropped the toxic T-bomb (“T” for “Traditional”) as the only caveat to his general belief that if a transgender woman wants to be a Republican, then she’s more than welcome to be a Republican.
Of course, the pundits at MSNBC were quick to relate how shocked they were about Graham’s seeming acceptance of Jenner in all her politically controversial glory—but they did it in the context of look how different he is from his hateful party counterparts!
This is where we have to be careful. Whether you agree with Graham or not on this, it’s important to recognize that he at least gave an answer to a question without sounding like a buffoon. However, he also opened a door; this issue isn’t going to go away, and conservative candidates should expect to be hit with a big, fat comparison stick the next time issues of gender and sexuality hit the news.
Hopefully, they’ll be prepared—I’m not sure I’m ready for another gaffe-riddled cycle perpetuated by a group of candidates who would rather backpedal and obfuscate than simply answer a question.
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“…he didn’t call for Jenner’s rejection, like Limbaugh did.”
THEN you link to Kathleen Parker…!!!
I’m getting to the point where I’m just not going to read your crap, Amy.
But, but, but… she’s a conservative! She said so!
I wonder if darling Lindsey is going to make Caitlyn, I mean Bruce, one of his “rotating” First Ladies should he win?
I don’t know why nobody has commented on the fact that, not only did Bruce Jenner, according to his claim, change himself from a man into a woman, but he also reduced his age by more than 25 years, as you can tell from the picture.
All of those comments were over at Reddit, where the techies speculated about photoshop and filters. I would’t be surprised if an IV were involved (does nice things to color and plump the skin)
I welcome everyone to the party, but it doesn’t change my opinions or my values. And I’m not going to play some stupid game by calling a man “she,” either.
Several psychiatrists have already in the last few weeks been bold enough to say publicly that “transgender” is a mental disorder, not a gender or a lifestyle choice, one pointing out that people suffering from this delusion who have the surgery have a suicide rate 20 times the already-elevated rate of those who don’t.
Sorry, you don’t get to choose your sex. DNA does not lie, and will never change. Want to cross dress and affect a female personality? I have no problem with that, it’s a free country and anyone who physically attacks you should be in jail. But don’t ask me to join in your self-delusions.
Shame on you. Why at least a third hand take on Limbaugh’s warning to Republicans that acceptance of Jenner could be this election cycles gotcha moment. Limbaugh has a free print archive of everything he says on his show, so why not link to that instead? I find it poor analysis on your part to link to the breathless mewling of the overly genteel Kathleen Parker, an analyst who has always reminded me of Saul Alinsky’s warnings about their being no room for vestal virgins in the political arena? Remember why she supported Obama? It made her feel less guilty about her parents having black servant while she was growing up.
Here’s a clue Amy. This is only going to be a gotcha moment to a very small percentage of low information voters who are into Kardashian Kulture. People have paid attention that Johns Hopkins, the pioneers in transgender surgery, have stopped performing the operations after their longitudinal studies showed that over a decade later most of the people who received these expensive, maiming operations were still very unhappy with their lives. Then there is the way that even many liberals suspect we are being played to get ratings for a reality TV show to air in the near future. I have tested this my making disparaging comments about Jenner while in the supermarket checkout lines in the People’s Republic of Asheville, North Carolina. That’s one of the most liberal cities in the nation. Most people think he is a freak, not a hero and no one has defended him.
OMG, I’m gonna hurt myself from laughing so hard. You said ‘breathless mewling’ and ‘Kathleen Parker’ in the same sentence.
Possibly the most understated description of the year. Mountain Girl, you need to have some mercy on us old guys.
I’m tired of these sexual weirdos being treated as national heroes. Can’t we push them back into the closet? Along with a bunch of reporters.
We’re gonna need a BIG closet.
Conservatives simply don’t care about Jenner. How de-jenner-ate he elects to be in his personal life…so long as it violates no law…is his call.
We are NOT the people who try to enforce a PC code on others, or seek to ruin people who disagree.
We can deplore the pathology that drives people to self-mutilation, their choices, etc., while still loving them and respecting their rights.
We’ve done the same with porn queens, gay people, etc.
The Collective just can’t mau-mau us into saying things are “normal” that are NOT normal.
That’s right. Principled tolerance, not selective exclusion. The pro-choice doctrine creates moral hazards everywhere it has been applied.
Nice wordplay, Rags.
I couldn’t agree more, Rags. I could give a rat’s butt about this–it’s his life and so long as he doesn’t force me to accept or condone it, live long and prosper!!!
Just google the suicide rates for people who transgender and you’ll see that it solves nothing, makes trannies happier for about ten minutes before the underlying psychiatric disorder – unaffected by body surgery – reemerges.
I’m sorry Mandy had a stroke and I hope she’s recovering, but for God’s sake, Legal Insurrection….
HIRE AN EDITOR
Bruce Jenner is seriously mentally ill. He needs professional help not national notoriety. He’s really pitiful.
And the people who encourage his sickness are no different than the cretins who yell ‘jump’ at the guy on the ledge.
Here is my answer: Moral relativism creates many Frankensteins. Some are athletes, more than some are pundits, many are U.S. Representatives and countless are tenured college profs who ransack truth and terrorize truth-seekers while stumbling around without a fully functioning brain.
Scott Walker gave the best answer. He said it’s Jenner’s personal decision and he’s not going to comment. Not only is that politically astute, but no candidate for president needs to be making comments on a matter so completely irrelevant to the national well-being.
The GOP needs all the support it can get. No amount of chemical/hormone treatment is going to change Jenner’s DNA. He’s still a man. It’s not news until he grows an ovary.
The real test for men who say they support this: will they give Jenner a kiss in public when they meet? Will they invite she/him home for a romantic dinner and whatever? That’s how one would react to a real woman they were interested in. If they hesitate, even for a microsecond, to do this then “he” is still a “he”.