News came out this week that US Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) is retiring after being elected to his seat 16 times. His departure is a direct result of a new redistricting law in California that works to eliminate gerrymandering - the manipulation of geographic boundaries to create non-competitive races. In other words, now that districts are being drawn fairly, Dreier is out.
Well, not totally out. With a Congressional voting record as centrist as any GOPer can be, David Dreier also happens to be a closeted gay man. The sad part is that he could have had a very successful career without his anti-gay votes and shed of the closet he has wrapped himself in. And let's be real here, his colleagues knew he was gay as it's an open secret here in DC.
One of the saddest parts of David Dreier's existence is that as a representative of California's 26th Congressional, he represents a suburb of Los Angeles - a place that is a lot more open to LGBT people than most others on the planet.
Imagine if David Dreier had taken the same path as other GOP elected officials like Jim Kolbe and Paul Koering. By coming out in their respective legislatures it puts people on notice that LGBT people are present for discussions around everything from DOMA to ENDA, from the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Respect for all Marriages act.
Surely if Jim Kolbe could be reelected in a district that gave majorities to Bush and McCain, Dreier could have been reelected in his. Los Angeles is just a tad more gay friendly than Arizona.
Instead of leaving Congress in a cloak of shame, Dreier could have been a key player in the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He could have encouraged his colleagues to support equality and justice.
David Dreier will have a lucrative career post-Congress lobbyist (or as Gingrich says, a "historian") or he might try to join Tammy Baldwin as a US Senator. Of course if he runs and wins, he'll continue to contribute to the homophobia that has grown within his party, while Tammy will do the complete opposite: work to bring down discrimination in the Senate.
Here's a tribute song to David Dreier and his, um, "assistant."