Is this Bob Ney's desperation play?

As a corruption investigation closes in on the Ohio Republican, his camp seems to play the gay card.

Tim Grieve
May 26, 2006 6:04PM (UTC)

How do you run for reelection when a federal corruption probe appears to be closing down hard on you? If you're Ohio Rep. Bob Ney, it seems that you play the gay card.

Buckeye State Blog broke the story, and Think Progress picks it up this morning: Somebody in Ney's camp is apparently sending around an e-mail message and running a robo-call informing Ohioans that Ney's Democratic challenger was interviewed recently by an Air America host who happens to be gay.


The e-mail message says that Democrat Zack Space gave "a lengthy radio interview on the liberal Air America network with one of the country's leading gay rights advocates, Rachel Maddow." Maddow, the e-mail says, "lives in New York City with her 'partner,' and said at one point during her interview with Space that "she uses a different name when dressed 'in drag.'"

Why does any of this matter? It's a sign, the e-mail says, of Space's "ultra-liberal colors." We'd suggest that it's a sign of something else: desperation. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports today, two more of Ney's aides have just received subpoenas related to the Jack Abramoff bribery probe, and one of them -- Paul Vinovich -- will apparently take the Fifth rather than testify. In a post on her Air America blog, Maddow is asking all the right questions: "Does going on Air America Radio, or being interviewed by a gay person, make a candidate unfit for office? More than, I dunno, having your chief of staff plead guilty to bribing you?"

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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