The bizarre persecution of a 21-year-old gay college student by state attorney Andrew Shirvell prompted Shirvell's boss, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, to issue this statement: "Mr. Shirvell's personal opinions are his and his alone and do not reflect the views --- of the Michigan Department of Attorney General. But his immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear."
Fair enough. Still, I can't help but wonder: Shouldn't Cox be a bit more alarmed that one of his staff demonstrates "immaturity" and "lack of judgment" -- whether within the office or without? Especially during an election year? If I were in Cox's shoes, instead of making a canned statement about the reflective "views" of his department, I'd be plenty eager to distance myself personally from Shirvell's unhinged behavior.
I don't particularly care whether or not Shirvell gets fired. He'll go on being a wild-eyed Bucky Beaver homophobe in either case, and will likely continue to stir up trouble and contention against us hated, Satanic, radical militant homosexuals. Surely he has a bright future in the lucrative anti-gay industry -- job offers from right-wing pressure groups must be pouring in as we speak.
But the question on everybody's minds is: How in the world has Shirvell managed to stay on in the Attorney General's Office these many months, when any rational A.G. would have dumped him like a hot potato the moment he started blogging about Nazi homosexual secret-society orgies?
Turns out Cox has been courting the Tea Party this election year. His campaign website even has a special page devoted to Cox's teabagging activities in Troy and Battle Creek, accessible directly as its own sublink from the site's listing in a Google Search results page.
Since Cox, like most Republicans this year, are terrified of the Tea Party fringe, he must be thinking very hard about the best way to handle the situation.
You see, even though the Tea Party may be nothing more than a good, old-fashioned Jeffersonian anti-federalist movement, it is an undeniable political reality that a good many of its members are no more sympathetic toward the LGBT community than they are toward Muslims or Mexicans. They regard the gay-equality movement as anti-American somehow, since it conflicts with their idea of the state's (and the individual's) God-given right to discriminate against any group it damn well chooses, and like all the country's ills, it's probably another one of Speaker Pelosi's plots.
So, yes, Cox is in a pickle -- quite a pickle, indeed.
Gambling on the chance that the TP might win big this November, Cox's best bet would be to keep his wacky staffer on, at least until after the election.
Still, there's always the strong possibility that the electorate, in its moderate wisdom, will find the shrill and frightening TPers unelectable. In that case, it will have been expedient to distance himself from Shirvell.
What to do, what to do? It is a puzzlement.
Poor Cox. I don't envy him.