Ben Domenech Didn’t Out Elena Kagan To Be Mean, Or Anything

Ben Domenech, the blogger and former Bush administration aide, seen here next to Stephen Colbert, got yelled at by the White House for outing Solicitor General (and possible Supreme Court nominee) Elena Kagan in a blog post. First CBS refused to take it down because it was in the opinion section, then Domenech clarified in his item item that Kagan wasn’t out (but was “closeted”), and eventually CBS pulled it offline entirely. Now Domenech would like to explain why he wrote Kagan is a dykeity dyke dyke.

At first glance, we assumed Domenech might’ve purposefully put the “Kagan Is Gay” storyline out there as an attack, because Domenech is a tool of the right-wing!, and because we all know being openly gay is a death sentence when the Senate is concerned. But that’s not so, he insists.

I erroneously believed that Ms. Kagan was openly gay not because of, as Stein describes it, a “whisper campaign” on the part of conservatives, but because it had been mentioned casually on multiple occasions by friends and colleagues — including students at Harvard, Hill staffers, and in the sphere of legal academia — who know Kagan personally. And as the reaction from Julian Sanchez and Matt Yglesias shows, I was not alone in that apparently inaccurate belief.

Look, it’s 2010 — no one should care if a nominee to any position is gay. The fact that conservative Senators John Cornyn and Jeff Sessions have recently expressed openness to confirming an openly gay nominee to the Court is a good thing. Senators should look at things that actually matter — evaluating a nominee’s decisions, approach to the law, their judgment and ability — to see whether there are actually good and relevant reasons to oppose the nomination. That’s all.

But even he knows standing out too much makes you, well, stand out:

But that’s about getting the job. As a political matter, there are ramifications for nominations to the Supreme Court, and the core elements of a nominee’s biography, like his or her family life, are inescapable when the nation focuses on such a high-profile life-tenured appointment. Making history is a noteworthy thing: many in the Latino community were pleased when Sonia Sotomayor (who I supported) was nominated, and many in the LGBT community would welcome the opportunity to confirm an openly gay justice. Glenn Greenwald and others agree with me on this point, and I can’t think why anyone would disagree.

That’s why I listed it as a positive: after so much frustration with the White House from the gay community on lack of action on other policy fronts, an openly gay nominee might serve to mend that strained relationship.

And he’s sorry.

As I told Howard Kurtz, and I say again here, I offer my sincere apologies to Ms. Kagan if she is offended at all by my repetition of a Harvard rumor in a speculative blog post. It still seems odd to me that the White House would single out this statement for attack, adamantly slamming closed a door that nobody was trying to open, as opposed to issuing a mild correction. As Yglesias notes, “I’d like to think we’re past the point where saying someone’s a lesbian counts as a dastardly ‘accusation,’” and it certainly was not intended as such.

But on the other hand, if I were Ms. Kagan, I’d feel pretty good about the fact that the White House specifically responded to this, and did so in such an aggressive and forceful manner — after all, it seems like quite a clue as to who the pick will be, doesn’t it?

Yes, yes it does.

(Above: Kagan and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor)

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  • EdWoody

    That was actually quite a nice response. Makes more sense than I’m used to from such people.

  • Dave

    From the WaPo article: A White House spokesman, Ben LaBolt, said he complained to CBS because the column “made false charges.”

    Forget Domenach. It’s more problematic that the Whitehouse is saying that referring to someone as a lesbian is a “false charge”, and acting like she’s been painted with a big scarlet “L”.

    I mean, Jesus Christ. One does not “charge” someone with a positive or neutral quality. You don’t “charge” someone with making great brownies, or being blonde.

  • Sam

    I’m rather have a straight Supreme Court justice than a closeted gay one. Closeted politicians have a tendency to vote against gay rights on every opportunity, just to prove they aren’t gay. Would a closeted judge act similarly? Obviously, politicians have to worry about re-election and Supreme Court justices don’t, but it does give me pause.

    I hope Elena Kagan is openly, proudly gay, and the White House is just being oversensitive and weird.

  • a

    sam. you are an idiot.

  • niles

    It seems like a pre-emptive attack to ward off any possible gay nominees to the SCOTUS. That being said, many gay commentators are just as guilty by prematurely outing folks for no reason other than some sort of bizarre self-directed homophobia or hatred.

  • jj smith

    Domenech’s a plagiarist.

    You can say a lot a bad things about queerty bloogers (they don’t know the basic rules if English grammar and syntax, they never proofread, their writing is atrocious on all levels, their attempts at humor always fall flat, they are a joke), but they are not plagiarists. Kudos.

  • jj smith

    All mistakes above are intentional and I am not a paid blooger (sic)!

  • reason

    This guy is playing politics, he got what he wanted when he published his blog which is to tell the masses that Kagen is gay. Now he is back tracking and apologizing like the Virgina governor, knowing darn well that he has sparked the process to incite the conservative base into action. You think the blogger actually thinks that dragging her out of the closet to the public is going to help her chances? He also acted at an opportune time, they have the president on record stating he is going to work for the appeal of DOMA, and with those other weak gay rights cases working there way thorough the court system the blogger just tried to stain Kagen dress making it a lot easier for the GOP to paint her as an activist judge who is going to have a biased opinion on upcoming court battles. This blogger has also gone out of his way in the past to grow the rift between the president and the gay community, throwing sugar coated phrases to the community (“Look, it’s 2010 — no one should care if a nominee to any position is gay”), well aware of an upcoming election how better to serve your party then suppress a democratic constituency and incite bigoted conservatives. Those are cute statements form Sessions and Cornyn the former whom smeared Sotomayor’s face up and down the capitol building disparaging her at every bump and the latter the Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial who is not only actively strategizing to take over the senate but to block every single thing that Obama does. Both of them voted no on Sotomayor, the blogger is just attempting to make it easier for the senators to convince their colleagues to vote no on the coming nomination.

  • jj smith

    @reason: Damn right. Queertard eds are either too stupid or too disingenuous to realize that .

  • Cam

    Whatever this guys motives…it really concerns me that the White house is calling it “False” that she is gay. She is.

    Additionally, it concerns me that she has gone from supporting a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, to now siding with the Justice Departmtne. It reminds me of when Senator Mikulski used to vote semi anti gay and pretend to be hot for men, finally a journalist shamed her in public asking how as a lesbian she could vote like this and threatened to keep outing her wherever she went, her voting pattern immidiately changed.

    I get what Sam is saying, sometimes a closeted person on the court, if they are closeted because they are ashamed can be dangerous.

    If Ginsberg and Sotomayer were both retiring, you would have women’s groups screaming that a woman needed to be appointed, if Sotomayer and Thomas were retiring you would have Latino and Black Groups saying that a minority justice should be appointed. I have a problem now when everybody is saying “Her sexuality shouldn’t matter!” Hey, if somebodys gener and race matter and should be used as a good thing to put them on the court, then I have no shame in saying, Hell yess sexuality matters and we need an open proud homosexual on the court.

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