“My truth is that I’m a gay American,” said James M. McGreevey as he announced his resignation yesterday as New Jersey’s Democratic governor. What a feat of rhetoric! McGreevey not only wrapped himself in the flag–the American flag–but in the banner of gay consciousness. I view McGreevey’s resignation as a milestone that shows how far we’ve come in our tolerance of homosexuality: Jim McGreevey gets to use his gayness as a cover for what looks like some serious malfeasance in his governance of the Garden State.

Just for starters, there’s the little matter of the married McGreevey’s appointing his adulterous lover, Golan Cipel, to that $110,000-a-year post as homeland security adviser. Homeland security? Doesn’t that have something to do with terrorism? And Cipel, as far as I can figure out, isn’t even a U.S. citizen but an Israeli. His qualifications for securing the homeland consisted of being a poet. In the heterosexual world, McGreevey’s action would be like Bill Clinton’s appointing Monica Lewinsky to the job that former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge now holds. Furthermore, Cipel is said to have threatened to file a sexual harassment suit against McGreevey that looked a lot like blackmail to me. As I recall, that’s what the ex-boyfriend of Rembert Weakland, the onetime Catholic bishop of Milwaukee, did when things went romantically south between them. Weakland promptly forked over some $450,000 on the hush-hush to the ex-lover out of the take from Milwaukee collection plates. Sexual harassment. The last refuge of spurned boyfriends and girlfriends in both homo- and heterosexual life.

Here’s how Fox News reports the incident:

“One source, a senior McGreevey political adviser, said Cipel threatened McGreevey several weeks ago that unless he was paid ‘millions of dollars,’ Cipel would file a lawsuit against the governor charging him with sexual harassment.

“Cipel could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. An FBI spokesman did not confirm reports that McGreevey’s office called the bureau on Thursday to complain about Cipel asking for money.”

Fox further reports:

“McGreevey also came under fire in 2002 for hiring a state police superintendent who had a criminal record. Last year, two former aides were targeted in a federal probe investigating whether they used their political ties to secure business for their billboard company.

“This year, a Democratic fund-raiser and former high school classmate of McGreevey’s was indicted and charged with trying to extort campaign donations from a farmer in exchange for help in selling his land.

“Last month, the governor’s commerce secretary quit amid reports he funneled money to businesses he owned with family members, and McGreevey’s top campaign donor was charged with conspiracy, obstructing a federal investigation and promoting prostitution.”

In other words, a major scandal completely unrelated to homosexuality may lie under the iceberg tip of McGreevey’s coming-out party. Again I say–the governor’s ability to pull off this distraction just shows how far we’ve come.

The Other Charlotte notes that McGreevey, who favors baggy suits and ties that dip way below the waistline, could use a visit from Queer Eye for the Queer Guy. This segues nicely with my high recommendation for this paen to the Queer Eye crew by the IWF’s own Cathy Seipp. I’m a major fan of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy myself, because I’ve noted that bachelor hetero men fall into one of two interior decorating categories: the monastically hyper-tidy (my husband before and after our marriage) and the Early Pigpen (just about everyone else male and unwed whom I know). These guys regularly complain about their desiccated love lives–and I wonder why. The Queer Eye team now has a book: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: the Fab 5’s Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better and Living Better. Cathy writes:

“Unlike the Queer Eye TV series, which takes on one slobby straight man at a time, the book is built around general tips (mostly, as in the show, quite useful) and advice on how to work with what you already have….But as with the show, the horrible specifics are what make the whole concept irresistible.

“‘There’s nothing wrong with having a beautiful painting of a dead pheasant,’ decorator Thom Filicia writes about a man fond of taxidermy married to a woman with daintier tastes, ‘but you don’t put it in the baby’s room.'”

Cathy also notes the reissue, after years out of print, of Elsie DeWolfe’s The House in Good Taste, first published in 1914. DeWolfe was, as Cathy writes, “decorating’s first grande dame and also, as it happens, its most famous lesbian.” DeWolfe pioneered a simple, uncluttered decorating style that vastly influenced the way we’ve furnished our homes ever since. My mother owned a copy of what must have been a later edition of DeWolfe’s book that included many black-and-white photographs, and as I leafed through the book during the 1960s, I used to marvel about how up-to-date her style and advice was. It’s still that, I’m sure.

As Cathy writes, the message of good interior decoratings is an essentially conservative message of taking care of what we have:

“‘First of all, clean the damn place up, which is pretty close to free,’ Filicia writes. Or, as DeWolfe put it: ‘It isn’t necessary to live among intolerable furnishings just because we cannot realize our castle.’ It’s an essentially conservative message of realism and responsibility: Just because something is difficult is no reason to argue that it’s impossible.”