April 24, 2022

No, this won't hurt Madison Cawthorn.

Photographs obtained by POLITICO appear to show Madison Cawthorn, the embattled Republican congressman from North Carolina who recently accused his GOP colleagues of inviting him to orgies, wearing lingerie in what appears to be a party setting.

Cawthorn's response:

Cawthorn links to a post at a site called Cruise Critic that explains:

What Royal Caribbean event has you sharing your underwear, putting lipstick on strangers and screaming at the top of your lungs? It's the Quest game show, the adults-only scavenger hunt that ranks as a cruise can't-miss....

Here's how it worked: The cruise director would instruct a member or members of the team to bring him a certain requested item. The first team to arrive with the requested item gets the most points, the second gets the second-highest and the third … well, you get it. After the top three teams, all other teams that arrive with the item receive one point each. It started off innocently enough, with requests for items like "a tie" or "a sock with a hole in it" (yes, every sock has at least ONE hole in it). But it quickly got a little more bawdy: a man wearing lipstick or someone with their pants on backward. By the end, it was barely controlled chaos, with one male member of our group wearing a bra and poorly applied makeup declaring his name was Savannah Sunshine.

So this leads to drag, but the kind of drag practiced by people who assume that everyone knows they're unimpeachably straight and not into any of that gay stuff whatsoever.

Yup. See, e.g., Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump in this video from 2000:

I've witnessed this kind of thing firsthand. At my high school every year, there was an assembly in honor of the football team -- attendance mandator.y It ended with several players onstage dressed in drag. The message was that these kids were the embodiment of masculinity, so it was funny, get it? Not even remotely gay or transsexual or connected to transvestism!

What we know about Cawthorn's sexuality is that he's been accused of being a heterosexual predator:

Four women told BuzzFeed News that Cawthorn ... was aggressive, misogynistic, or predatory toward them. Their allegations include calling them derogatory names in public in front of their peers, including calling one woman “slutty,” asking them inappropriate questions about their sex lives, grabbing their thighs, forcing them to sit in his lap, and kissing and touching them without their consent. One of these women now works as an intern for another Republican member of Congress and passes Cawthorn in the corridors of the Capitol. According to more than a dozen people — including three women who had firsthand experience and seven people who heard about these incidents from them at the time — Cawthorn often used his car as a way to entrap and harass his women classmates, taking them on what he could call “fun drives" off campus. Two said he would drive recklessly and ask them about their virginity and sexual experiences while they were locked in the moving vehicle.

“I realized he was taking me out to the middle of nowhere, Virginia,” said Caitlin Coulter, a former classmate who went for a drive with him during her senior year. “We were on these small, like, one- [or] two-lane back roads, and I just felt so uncomfortable and nervous and not even something I think at the time I could put a finger on, but just, like, danger warning.”

I assume that's the real Cawthorn. Those allegations should have ended his career, but this is the GOP is the 2020s, so the had no effect whatsoever. Maybe the drag pictures will hurt him, but I don't see it. Giuliani lost the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, but that was undoubtedly because he was pro-choice and pro-gun control; he remained a presence on the right long after that clip emerged. I assume Cawthorn isn't going anywhere either.

He accuses "the left" of leaking the photos, but I think Tom Hilton is right:

I credit Kevin McCarthy with this leak.

*****

UPDATE:

Here's an NPR story on womanless weddings if you want to read more.

Published with permission of No More Mister Nice Blog.

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