Will MTV ‘Real World’ Star Turned Politician Compromise on Homosexuality?
WARNING: OFFENSIVE IMAGES AND DESCRIPTIONS
By Peter LaBarbera, www.rffv.net
Normally preparing to write a story about a congressional race — especially a Republican primary contest in northern Wisconsin — does not require watching a pro-homosexual “marriage” mockumentary featuring MTV “reality” stars, and created by the founder of “Gay Entertainment Television.”
Yet that is what I found myself doing for this story about the 7th Congressional primary race in Wisconsin between Republicans Sean Duffy and Dan Mielke. The two are vying to replace retiring Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill. Wisconsin’s primary is today, Sept. 14, 2010.
Mielke, an organic farmer, is making his second run at Congress after losing 61-39 to Obey in 2008. He has made an issue out of Duffy’s role in the 2003 film The Wedding Video, by homosexual artist Norman Korpi. Both Duffy (Real World: Boston) and Korpi were cast members of MTV’s Real World — a “reality” TV show in which young people chosen from across the country are thrown together to live as housemates with cameras running. Duffy’s wife Rachel (formerly Rachel Campos) was also a star on Real World: San Francisco, and is a friend of Korpi, who introduced her to her future husband. Sean and Rachel Duffy now have six kids.
Duffy not proud of “The Wedding Video”
The Wedding Party is vulgar, edgy and, like Real World, occasionally perverted in a way that might not shock most jaded 20-somethings but definitely would stun most 50-plus Republicans: the protagonist, played by Korpi, unknowingly “marries” a homosexual male porn star. In one scene a woman (another former Real World star) waves a rubbery, red “dildo” (fake penis; she discovered it in Korpi’s Beverly Hills home) in the air as she rides down Hollywood streets laughing in the back seat of a convertible. In another scene, Duffy can be seen in the audience applauding as Korpi’s and his porn-star lover’s “wedding” is blessed by a minister.
The Wedding Video, a “Fruit Films” production, is being distributed on DVD by TLA Video, which markets homosexual porn. Needless to say, although Duffy’s campaign website notes his appearance on MTV’s “iconic” program The Real World, there is no mention of Korpi’s edgy Wedding Video film nor Duffy’s role in it.
Another non-shocker is that the Wisconsin mainstream media in District 7 has not picked up on Mielke’s attempt to make The Wedding Video a major issue in the race. Across the country, secular media rarely treat social issues like homosexuality seriously and the bias is even more pronounced among political reporters — who tend to focus on the political “game” rather than examine the moral issues that energize grassroots social conservatives (and aggravate “moderate” Republicans).
Mielke has this and more to say about Duffy’s rowdy MTV past (emphasis Mielke’s):
“Mr. Duffy and I seem to have differences in what we see as right and wrong.
“I am concerned about the moral decay happening in our nation. Sean and his wife both stated recently that they have no regrets about their MTV Real World past. I find his lack of remorse regarding his time on this TV show. (The MTV Real World Series is known for its promotion of a lifestyle that goes directly against sound moral guidelines.) I believe that these types of shows have been responsible for a lot of the problems our young people are facing today. As young people these natural cravings and drives become a dangerous struggle. Premarital sex, sexual abuse, abortion, single mothers, & alcoholism, are what happens when we leave our carnal desires unchecked. When this happens all of society has to pay the price. I believe pornography, the wild party life, free open sex, the promotion of alternative lifestyles, should not be condoned or promoted….”
To the wider public and media, Mielke has struggled not just to get his message covered but also to gain recognition as an equal contender for the Republican congressional nomination against Duffy. Typical is this Rothenberg Political Report story on Duffy that treats the up-and-comer as the presumptive GOP nominee in District 7 and doesn’t even bother to mention Mielke as it speculates about Duffy’s general election race against a tough Democrat: “Sean Duffy, Welcome to Your New Real World.”
GOP establishment backs Duffy
Indeed, Duffy — a “professional lumberjack athlete” — clearly has the strong support of the Wisconsin and national GOP, although technically Republican leaders are supposed to be neutral in primary races. He has benefited from appearances with and endorsements by Wisconsin GOP superstars like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), while Mielke has toiled away without much coverage or high-level conservative support. (Mielke received the endorsement of the Wisconsin Constitution Party, which seeks to challenge the GOP from the right. Meanwhile, Duffy received backing from the influential Wassau Daily Herald and local Tea Party leaders.)
Perhaps as the more socially conservative and openly religious contender (bereft of nuances; see below), Mielke from the outset faced an uphill climb for party recognition, despite having run against Obey in 2008. But surely he never stood a chance of getting impartial treatment from Republican Party leaders anxious to field and groom a new generation of Republican candidates who appeal to younger voters. (The issue of establishment GOP bias in primary elections is a serious one worthy of a separate article; it has alienated many Republicans nationwide and even driven some from the Party.)
Homosexual “marriage” and modern nuances
Both Mielke and Duffy oppose homosexual “marriage,” but Mielke calls Duffy a hypocrite for acting — as a young professional — in a film that was designed (according to remarks by creator Korpi) to help straight viewers sympathize with homosexuals who wanted to marry but cannot. The Wedding Video was releaseed in 2003, a year after Duffy was appointed Assistant District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin.
For his part, Duffy and his campaign staff say Mielke is engaged in a “smear campaign” against him, drudging up old information. He boasts that like Mielke, he supported Wisconsin’s successful 2006 constitutional amendment to preserve marriage as between a man and a woman. (For that, Wisconsin “gay” activists branded Duffy a sellout.)
Here is Duffy’s campaign website position statement on marriage:
Pro-Traditional Marriage: I believe in the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. I voted for the 2006 Wisconsin amendment defining marriage between a man and woman and I do not favor any government-sanctioned union/arrangement that looks like traditional marriage. However, I am not opposed to people entering into contracts for the purposes of inheritance, medical decisions, etc. All Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, have a right to make legal contracts and arrangements with each other and deserve the respect and dignity afforded to all citizens.
Mielke has criticized Duffy for equivocating on “civil unions” (a legal and political precursor to homosexual “marriage), but the statement above clearly rules out state support for such unions. However, it also contains sypathetic caveats about homosexuality-based relationships that would not be found in the typical GOP candidate’s talking points — at least in the last decade or so when same-sex “marriage” became a dominant issue.
One wonders where Sean Duffy’s more nuanced approach on this moral issue will lead. Perhaps he and wife Rachel, both Catholics, are representative of a new generation that is ill at ease with old-fashioned, right-versus-wrong moral proscriptions against homosexuality — having been deeply influenced by personal friendships with homosexuals that engender pro-“gay” sympathy.
(On abortion, both Duffy and Mielke are avowedly pro-life, but Mielke faults Duffy for commenting during a media interview that abortion’s legality will be left up to the states — thus allowing states in a post-Roe world (or state courts) that uphold abortion “rights” to take away the unborn child’s right to live.)
Two faces of the Republican Party
To be sure, Duffy and Mielke, modern, young conservative and old-fashioned Christian moralist, are two faces of a Republican Party whose “big tent” sometimes seems to be on the verge of collapsing. Wrote a reporter for the Waussau Daily Herald in 2009:
It is hard to imagine two more different candidates than Sean Duffy and Dan Mielke. Duffy, the 37-year-old Ashland County district attorney, is disciplined and on-message, in interviews careful to stick to his talking points. A former cast member of MTV’s “The Real World: Boston,” he has matinee-idol looks and the sense of self-consciousness of a person accustomed to cameras. The former chairman of Wisconsin’s 7th District Republican Party, as a candidate Duffy has retained a Washington, D.C.-based online consulting firm Engage DC to help shape his campaign message.
Mielke, 55, is a garrulous organic farmer from Rudolph and a political activist without experience in elected office. In interviews, he’s prone to digressions about history and the Constitution. He wears a long beard, has three grandchildren, and holds the fact that he is not a professional politician as a point of pride. Mielke ran against Obey last year and got more than 40 percent of the vote, despite meager fundraising totals and an admitted difficulty in campaigning across the district’s 20 counties.
If Dan Mielke pulls it out and emerges victorious in his uphill battle against a Party-backed, media-savvy Republican, it will be one of the biggest shockers on Primary Day. If he does not, we will be watching Duffy carefully to see if his nuance becomes compromise — of the sort that undermines the GOP’s conservative platform.
Having said that, we would like nothing more than to report in years hence that Sean Duffy fully overcame the lure of Hollywood and his MTV days by emerging as a faithful right-to-life advocate who also boldly defends the natural family and marriage against the demands of a sexual special interest group. Media and political cynicism aside, in the “Real World” there is a daily battle for the soul of America on moral issues like abortion and homosexuality, and politicians through their votes and actions either pull people toward biblical Truth or away from it.