Monday, June 11, 2007

High-profile Tancredo presidential campaign staffer outed

Tyler Whitney, the webmaster for the right-wing antigay Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo's presidential campaign, has been outed by the Michigan gay paper Between the Lines. I had reporter Todd Heywood on the show today. Bay Buchanan, Team Tancredo Senior Advisor and sister of the fire-breathing Pat Buchanan, is defending Whitney, saying, "A person's sexual preference is a personal matter and has nothing to do with the campaign."

In other words, if he wants to work against his own kind -- for a man who's railed against gay rights and has a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign -- we're happy to have him!

Whitney, an 18-year-old who is a rising star in right-wing Republican circles (perhaps until now), who also works at the far-right Leadership Institute in Arlington, VA, was involved with the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Michigan State University (in East Lansing) that is now listed as a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center. It is the first university-affiliated group to be put on SPLC's hate list, and according to SPLC's Heidi Beirich the reason it was put on the list is because of its use of slurs, a proposal to have the governance of MSU be white supremacist and "its constant immigrant bashing."

Last November, Whitney -- whose father was a speech writer for former conservative Michigan Gov. John Engler, who was no friend to gays -- went to a a YAF-sponsored protest against a pro-gay, pro-trans human rights ordinance and held a sign that said, "Go back in the closet!" Other signs at the protest included "Straight Power" and "Faggotry."

Whitney was handpicked to run a YAF chapter at Western Michigan University by the leader of the MSU chapter, Kyle Bristow. Bristow, who has championed "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day" and appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, has said that “homosexuality kills people almost to a degree worse than cigarettes… these [pro-gay rights groups] are complicit with murder.” (Michigan Republicans actually defended him after this, something Democrats criticized them for.) Bristow calls gays "deviants" and says he's "against the notion that deviants deserve extra rights." According to Between the Lines, "Bristow has opined that if he had a gay son he would kill him, and that homosexuals should be in prison."

Whitney and Bristow met Tom Tancredo when he came to campus to speak at a YAF-co-sponsored event last year, and soon thereafter Whitney went to work for the Tom Tancredo for President campaign. But that was all before he was outed today (based on his having quietly told several people he is gay). While Tancredo is so far defending Whitney, there's been no comment from YAF or Bristow. But something tells me they'll all be dropping him like a hot potato if this thing grows -- and it should.

UPDATE: Here is Tyler Whitney's myspace page. Thanks to commenter ignu.

UPDATE II: Tyler has scrubbed his myspace page, as one of our commenters pointed out. New, more wholesome photo, and the nasty hate comments taken down. Gone is the definition "true right-wing leader" and replaced with "you wish you knew me." Indeed -- he's playing a little game it seems. Also, his "straight" sexual orientation taken down and "About me" and "who I'd like to meet" changed. Now trying to come across as a nice college kid -- ironically, he's put his previously-blatant hate agenda in the closet. Let's hope (perhaps against all hope) that it's because he no longer embraces it rather than that he's just trying to hide, once again. I've done a screen capture of his original myspace page, and it's right here still in the cached version.