Like A Pair Of Comfortable, Repressed, Gay Shoes

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Memo to GOP Scandalmongers: YOU'RE NOT EVEN TRYING.

Tom DeLay. Bill Frist. Duke Cunningham. Jack Abramoff. All Republicans, all mired in legal and ethical scandals, and all BORING AS HELL.

Money laundering? That's so 80's Colombian drug cartel cliche I'm surprised it doesn't come with a toy DeLorean. Not that I won't enjoy the conviction if-when it arrives, all shiny and sparkly with a red bow on top, but the actual process is dry and dull, and only DeLay's hysterics keep it even remotely interesting. A hundred and ninety thousand of that money went here, and then another hundred and ninety thousand of the other money went back there. For someone as deeply evil as Tom DeLay, that's banal.

Insider trading? Been there, seen that, got the commemorative tracking anklet. After Frist's magical remote video diagnosis demonstration, getting nabbed for base profiteering is like having your favorite TV show interrupted by an important public service announcement from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shady real-estate and boat deals? Getting warmer, but Cunningham lacks the national profile necessary to punch up his admittedly allegedly old-school shenanigans to the level of excitement I'm looking for in a scandal. Nice try, though.

Influence peddling and golf junkets? Fuck, John McCain got in trouble for that shit, and look where he is today! The bold MAVERICK, sticking his neck out to challenge the party orthodoxy on the controversial issue of torture. Inexplicably beloved by millions. Now, if that whole "paid two guys to whack an enemy" story ends up being true, then Abramoff's got something. But until then, not a one of these guys can hold a candle to the standard-bearer of scandal-baring, the one, the only, the mighty James West, mayor of Spokane, Washington.

And so I return to him, like a moth to a flame. New readers should use the search feature - it's a classic tale, and some quality columny, but the high concept Hollywood pitch goes thusly: Anti-gay GOP mayor is closeted, trolls Net for young hot manflesh, offers said manflesh internships with the city, is caught, blusters a lot.

And why do I return? Two reasons. First, his inevitable recall is progressing nicely, and I thought folks might want to know that. Oh, and also, he's gone to court to prevent the release to the public of the contents of his office computer's hard drive. OOPS.

Now, I understand the Internet's role in goofing off in the workplace. And I'm aware that the readership of this column, the entire webcomics industry, and the combined zombie/human population of Malton depend on it. But I've never understood goofing off at porn sites or hot chat rooms during office hours. No matter what your occupation, be it accountant or whore, work is the least sexy place on the planet, and should stay that way. I don't want to think about anybody's genitals while I'm earning my daily bread, and I'd prefer it if none of you were thinking about them either, thanks.

But James West apparently was. Because his DEFENSE for not having the contents of his work hard drive released to the public is that it would be "highly offensive to any reasonable person". In other words, gigabytes of dick pics. Some 1800 images, although given the state of technology reporting, I'd bet that most of them are bare-ass avatar icons from the gay chat site West was so fond of, all sitting in the IE cache.

It's sad, but funny, to watch West leaping from excuse to excuse where any sane politicion would have resigned and moved to Fire Island months ago. He's trying to raise $150,000 to fight the recall, on the grounds that, I kid you the fuck not, "everyone's entitled to privacy". Oh, and this bit, attacking the newspaper that revealed his fascinating intern hiring guidelines. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Are Steven Smith and the Spokesman-Review the ultimate authority in Spokane or is it the people? The choice is ours." - Such ignorance of the role of the Fourth Estate would normally be a cause for mockery. But these days, I can understand how someone might see the press actually providing information for the electorate to act on as a strange and mysterious new societal wrinkle.

It all adds up to the best scandal ever, and if these other poseurs hope to reach Jim West's level, they're going to have to bring their A game. I know they can do it. They just have to apply themselves.