Cory Booker says he doesn't care if people think he's gay.

Cory Booker says he doesn’t care if people think he’s gay.

Speculation about Newark, New Jersey mayor and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker and the possibility he is gay isn’t new. But his Republican opponent in the Senate race, Steve Lonegan, seemed quite happy to add to the questions, including, of course, an assertion of his own non-gayness by saying, “As a guy, I personally like being a guy.”

Really? Steve Lonegan is really making the very old and odd argument that you have to be heterosexual in order to be a “guy”? Or in the more macho version, a “real man.”

At Buzzfeed, from Chris Geidner:

For those who have followed him, either on the campaign trail for U.S. Senate or on Twitter, Booker took a familiar route in a recent Washington Post interview, responding not with an answer about his sexual orientation but with an answer about people’s curiosity about it.

His comments were that he doesn’t care what people think.

“˜And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, “˜So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.”

At Bilerico, John Becker writes about Lonegan’s “anti-gay smear,” in GOP candidate’s comments about Booker.

However one feels about Democratic New Jersey Senate candidate Cory Booker … it cannot be denied that the charismatic mayor of Newark is an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality. …

Right Wing Watch reports that Steve Malzberg, a radio personality with the conservative media outlet Newsmax, asked Lonegan yesterday what he thought of Booker’s comments. The Republican responded that he thought Booker was “˜weird’ and then clumsily attempted to attack his opponent’s manhood:

“˜It’s kinda weird ““ as a guy, I personally like being a guy… I don’t know if you saw the stories last year, they’ve been out quite a bit, about how he likes to go out at three-o’clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure…

“˜Maybe that helps him get the gay vote, by acting ambiguous… although I don’t like going out in the middle of the night ““ or any time of the day ““ for a manicure and pedicure. It was described as his “˜peculiar fetish,’ is how it was described. I have a more peculiar fetish: I like a good scotch and a cigar. That’s my fetish. But we’ll just compare the two.’

Sometimes, as the old saying goes, a cigar is just a cigar. In this case, Lonegan’s comments about his cigar and scotch “fetish,” compared to the asserted manicure and pedicure “fetish” of Booker, makes me wonder a bit, not about Lonegan’s sexual orientation but about 1) his understanding of the meaning of “fetish” and more significantly, about 2) his understanding of the meaning of sexual orientation. It sounds as if it’s at least 20 years out of date, certainly by a popular culture perspective, but even by legitimate polling results.

Actually, it reminds me of Pat Robertson’s recent comments about gay men wearing rings to cut people and infect them with AIDS. Apparently Robertson had been told that by what he called “trained security officers.” In the 1980s.

Back to Geidner’s Buzzfeed story, where he provides some comments from Booker (via tweets) about Lonegan’s real-guys-have-cigar-and-scotch-festishes statements:

“˜It’s just disheartening to hear somebody in this day and age..implicate that gay men are not men.’ …

“˜That kind of callous bigoted disrespect to gays & lesbians shouldn’t be tolerated…he really misses the boat.’

I don’t want to hear what Lonegan thinks of lesbians, although based on the level of insight and respect shown regarding gay men, and the remark about cigars, I could probably make some good guesses.

(Cory Booker Capture Via Cory Booker)