Aaron Schock had a no-good, terrible, very bad week last week. Of course, for Schock, any week where he is in the news is generally unwelcome because it raises all those pesky questions about, well, you know.
The whole week was a reminder why it would be great if Schock came out (assuming he’s gay, and you can calculate the odds of that assumption). The week was also a reminder of why it would be awful if Schock actually came out. Here are ten reasons why we would love to see Schock came out — and why we would hate it if he did.
In favor of Schock coming out:
His Downton Abbey-inspired office. OK, it may be a bit over the top, but by Congressional standards it’s pretty fabulous. Plus, we could use someone who was willing to bring Downton Abbey into current political discourse.
Quoting Taylor Swift as a media response. Of all the possible ripostes to come up with when his office became newsworthy, Schock went for the gayest one possible: quoting Taylor Swift. Imagine the explanations a theortetically out Schock could use as he cycles through boyfriends. He might as well just hire Taylor as his new press secretary.
The Instagram account. Yes, the one with Schock surfing, weight lifting doing the ALS ice bucket challenge, and performing a combat swimming exercise with West Point cadets. Schock shut it down after the outing controversy a year ago (when he was following Tom Daley, or at least his account was), but it is back with a shirtless vengeance. It’s a little like Grindr, with training wheels. There’s also a photo of Schock with Apple CEO Tim Cook, who could provide a few tips about coming out.
His personal photographer. How’s this for fantasy fulfillment: hiring your own photographer — a former wedding photographer, at that — to follow you around and snap you being wonderful. Jonathon (yes, Jonathon) Link now gets paid to follow Schock around and take pictures of the Congressman walking hand-in-hand with himself down the political aisle.
An out gay Republican. Schock is considered one of the bright lights in the dim universe of the GOP. Having him come out would be an important step forward for the party, which really needs to get used to LGBT issues for its own sake and everyone else’s. The last out gay Republican in Congress was Jim Kolbe, who left office eight years ago. It’s about time there would be another.
On the other hand:
He hires racist jerks. Schock’s aide Benjamin Cole panicked when a Washington Post reporter snapped shots of the office. That put Cole in the spotlight, which was a bad career move. It turns out Cole liked to post racist comments on Facebook, suggesting that African-Americans in his neighborhood had escaped from the National Zoo. Cole was also featured in a film about the efforts of Southern Baptists to convert Jews, telling the camera that homosexuality is “an abomination.” Except when it’s signing your paycheck, which it won’t be any longer, now that Cole has resigned.
Not exactly Mr. Ethics. Schock has a slew of ethical problems on his hands now. One is whether he inappropriately got his office designed for free. Another involves the sale of his home to a donor at a huge profit. Then there’s his tendency to charter private planes at taxpayer expense. Remember Mark Foley? The Florida Republican had to leave Congress after his history of hitting on male pages came to light. Schock’s scandal may not be sexual, but do we really want to claim someone with a touch of sleaze about him?
The Chevy Tahoe. If you’re going to spend $74,000 on a car, would you spend it on a Chevy Tahoe? Schock did. No disrespect to the hard workers at GM, but it’s not exactly an A-gay vehicle.
The Instagram account. It’s not just shirtless pics. It’s also photos of Schock with George W. Bush (“a great man”) and Donald Trump. If you’re known by the company you keep, Schock can keep to himself.
An out gay Republican. Schock could move the GOP forward on LGBT issues. He could also provide the party much needed cover for antigay stands. He has a perfect voting record on gay issues in Congress — perfectly antigay, that is. It may be expecting too much for Schock to start standing up for his people after so many years of making sure they were kept in their place.
Photo credit: Aaron Schock’s Instagram account