CNN Anchor Defends English Language

Brent Rinehart Defends Anti-Gay Comic

Brent Rinehart appeared on CNN’s American Morning todayto defend his anti-gay comic book.

In case you weren’t paying attention, the Oklahoma County Commissioner, who is running for reelection, published the 16-page book to highlight his commitment to destroying the queers. When asked whether it’s relevant to his election, Rinehart insists that it is, because we are in a cultural war. When asked whether he’s homophobic, Rinehart played (real) dumb: I’m not even sure as to what homophobic means. But let’s just keep in mind that we are in a cultural war, not just here in the state of Oklahoma but nationwide.” CNN journo John Roberts does not seem amused. You can tell when he does a little grammar check: “We should also point out that the word pedophile is spelled wrong in the two times that’s it’s used in this comic book.”

Check out the transcript, after the jump…

ROBERTS: Twenty-six minutes after the hour. Politics can be a dirty game, but some people think that one man has gone too far with a comic book. It depicts gay people in togas alongside Satan holding a “gay marriage now” sig.

Brent Rinehart, an Oklahoma county commissioner, is sending it out to registered Republicans in his district. And Brent Rinehart joins us now from Oklahoma City.

Commissioner Rinehart, critics say that this takes mudslinging to a brand new low. What do you say?

BRENT RINEHART (R), OKLAHOMA COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Well, one person’s mudslinging, I guess, is another man’s issues. Here in the state of Oklahoma, especially here in Oklahoma County, I believe that homosexual agenda is an issue in this campaign. I thought that the cartoon book was a novel approach to telling a story for the last three, 3 1/2 years.

Keep in mind that I am the incumbent Oklahoma County of District Two. It consists of 220,000 people over 200 square miles. It is quite a large area. And being the incumbent, the issues that are at hand are roads and bridges, more or less the homosexual agenda, the family values here in Oklahoma. And I thought that it was a very good campaign piece and it gets the message out to what’s important to the citizens of Oklahoma County.

ROBERTS: We should also point out that you’re in a pretty tough race. And let’s take a look at couple of panels here from this comic book. Critics say that some of the images in this comic book are blatantly homophobic.

In one panel, you’ve got Satan holding up a pitchfork, the balloon overseeing his head says, “If I can get the kids to believe homosexuality is normal.” And Angel on the other side of the panel says, hey, Satan, not with Brent around you won’t.”

In the next panel, there’s a lineup of caricatures of gay men, one of them wearing a toga. Some of the signs that they’re carrying say we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it, I want be a Boy Scout leader. The question is, Commissioner Rinehart, are you homophobic?

RINEHART: Well, I’m not even sure as to what homophobic means. But let’s just keep in mind that we are in a cultural war, not just here in the state of Oklahoma but nationwide. And I have seen pictures and I’ve seen viewings of gay pride parades around the nation here in the state of Oklahoma, and that’s the very same attire and the very same billboards that you see in these parades.

So the thing about it is, when you’re putting out a message and it lands on particular people’s feet and they don’t necessarily like the message, that doesn’t mean that the message isn’t true.

ROBERTS: Well, you see that we’re —

RINEHART: We are in a cultural war.

ROBERTS: Well, does that cultural war include gay bashing?

RINEHART: Well, I don’t know about gay bashing. The thing about it is you’re not putting it in the full context of the cartoon book. We have an attorney general here in the state of Oklahoma that has used his office for political means, filed campaign charges against me and it’s based on my opposition to the homosexual agenda.

Keep in mind if you go back several years, the attorney general, Mr. Drew Edmondson, sued the Boy Scouts of America because they would not allow homosexual Boy Scout leaders as leaders in their organization. So this goes back quite a number of years.

ROBERTS: In fact, let me just highlight in a little bit more detail your attack on Attorney General Drew Edmondson here as depicted in this comic book. You’ve got him holding a sign that says, “Gay rights now.” And you write in the balloon over a character here, “You remember that Drew Edmondson out Oklahoma on record to force the Boy Scouts to accept homosexuals as scout leaders, a pedifiles dream come true.” We should also point out that the word pedophile is spelled wrong in the two times that’s it’s used in this comic book.

He has said of this comic, “A drowning man tends to thrash about.” And the question is being raised, is this some desperate and weird attempt at payback against the attorney general because he has filed these charges against you for campaign irregularities for 2004?

BRENT RINEHART (R), OKLAHOMA COUNTY COMMISSIONER: OK. Again, it’s getting a message out. It’s telling a story of how I got to where I’m at the last 3 to 3 1/2 years. Now, no one has ever – now people can talk about the homosexual aspects of this in regards to how they’re depicted but no one has ever said anything about the truthfulness of my cartoon book. How it exposes Drew Edmondson for his true agenda, and how it exposes others here in county government for their true agenda. No one and you know, you can attack the spelling of pedophile.

I have to be honest with you, I don’t necessarily care if I misspelled it or not. But no one has really been able to attack the truthfulness of this cartoon book and what it depicts and what’s important to voters here in Oklahoma county is they get something in the mail that they know is the truth. There are so many people out there that are running for election that really just is just the same old rhetoric, day after day after day. And then they get into office and there’s actually nothing new.

People wonder why nothing ever changes when someone gets elected to the office. Well, when I got elected to the office, when I ran for county commissioner, my agenda was roads and bridges, limited government, less taxation and family values. And that’s the same platform that I use when I ran for city council. So it’s very important for the voters of Oklahoma county to understand that the platform that I ran on I’ve stuck to my guns and I’ve upset quite a number of good old boy politicians here in the state of Oklahoma but I’m not going to back down. I’m not going to slow down because the things that I stand for are the things that are important to the citizens, not only of Oklahoma county but the state as a whole.

ROBERTS: Well, Commissioner, you’re certainly causing quite a stir down there now with this latest piece of campaign literature. We thank you for being with us this morning. Brent Rinehart, Oklahoma County commissioner. Good` to see you this morning.