Pastor Ted Should Have Hired Jeff Gannon

Pastor Ted Haggard, the President of the National Association of Evangelicals and head of the 14,000-member "New Life" mega-church in Colorado Springs, who Harper's reported George W. Bush calls every Monday morning to discuss policy, has admitted to scoring crystal meth and getting a "massage" from a male prostitute. Pastor Ted's Bible-thumping homophobic harangues against gay marriage so outraged his secret paramour-for-hire, Michael Jones, a Denver-based gay prostitute, that he chose to pass up blackmailing the Reverend in favor of "outing" him. This latest twist in the torrent of Republican sex scandals comes at the worst possible time for the Grand Old Party. Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove have once again bet the farm on mobilizing their right-wing Christian base, and this time the "values voters" might stay home. About the Haggard scandal, Reverend Dobson of "Focus on the Family," said: "The situation has grave implications for the cause of Christ and we ask for the Lord's guidance and blessings in the days ahead."

Mr. Jones claims he had sex with Pastor Ted in a Denver hotel room every month for the past three years, and helped him buy methamphetamine to enhance the pleasure. A few months ago he happened to recognize Haggard when he appeared on television at his gym during his daily workout. When the famous minister hired Jones's monthly stud services he had used the fake name, "Art," and told Jones he was visiting from Kansas City. That day at the gym, Mr. Jones immediately recognized him: "When I saw him, I didn't say, 'Oh, that looks like Art," Jones recalled. "I said, 'Oh my God, that's Art." Mr. Jones should be commended for displaying great integrity, far more than the hyper-hypocrite preacher, for not trying to extort the multimillionaire Haggard for a small fortune in exchange for keeping his mouth shut.

Now watch the spectacle of right-wingers on the frontlines of the culture war, who constantly attack gays and lesbians and feminists and Liberals, offer up their teary-eyed compassion for their fallen ideological ally Haggard, just as they did for Rush Limbaugh's drug addiction and Mark Foley's "alcoholism." Soon, the right-wing echo chamber will be portraying the "outing" of Pastor Ted as a "Democrat plot" hatched from the office of Nancy Pelosi! The Republicans will say that Mr. Jones must have been a secret operative who entrapped the unwitting man of God. They'll argue that the Democrats timed Haggard's exposure to help them in the midterm elections just as Al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgents have stepped up their attacks to influence our elections.

Karl Rove is no doubt kicking himself for not turning on Pastor Ted to the stud services of Jeff Gannon for his secret gay trysts. Gannon's right-wing ideological purity is unquestioned, and he is the Republicans' first choice for a good male escort "top" to satiate their healthy appetites for rough, sweaty man-on-man sex. Gannon, who was welcomed at the White House throughout Bush's first term and even posed as a journalist in the press corps, would never "out" one of his fellow Republicans less than a week before a pivotal midterm election. Gannon is the kind of gay male escort Republicans love: he could be counted on to satisfy Pastor Ted's monthly needs, and then go out and remind good Christians to cast their votes against gay marriage.