All About Gucky

Reporter Deborah Solomon has 20 questions for “Jeff Gannon” in Sunday’s New York Times.

Not surprisingly the first of them is about his name.

Should I call you Jim Guckert or Jeff Gannon?

My Amex card still comes in the name of James Guckert, but I want to be called Jeff Gannon. That is who I am.

How postmodern! A neo-Cartesian distinction: “I want therefore I am.”

“Pay no attention to the name on my Amex card,” he says moving into Frank Morgan mode.

But there’s more than a bit of the last reel of All About Eve as well.

“I call myself Phoebe” the sly young Miss tells the worldly-wise Addison DeWitt. And being worldly-wise he’s quite willing to go along with it — slyly smiling all the while, as only George Sanders can slyly smile. Whereas Deborah Solomon sounds a lot more like Celeste Holm’s Karen when she confronts Anne Baxter’s Eve in the powder room scene.

Or rather it is the pseudonym under which you gained access to White House press briefings for two years, until your identity was revealed. Why do you think they let you in?

I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t know the criteria they use. I asked to be let in, and they allowed me to come. I was very fond of all the people in the press office. They treated me well. They probably treated me better than I deserved.

Gucky’s very Eve-like here, remindful of Baxter at the film’s halfway point, when she apologizes to Margo about the rave review Addison gave her matinee performance having stepped into the star’s role “unexpectedly.” And there’s a smattering of Matt Damon’s Ripley too when he’s apologizing for what’s being taken as the rude behavior of the man he’s just killed. But no corpses have surfaced in this particular escapade. . .so far.

Are you suggesting that Bobby Eberle, the Republican operative who hired you to shill for his Gopusa under the guise of his Talon News service, has special access at the White House?

I just don’t know the answer to that question.

But of course he does. And so does Deborah Solomon. So why the pretense on her part? Is this the new rule for Times reporters? They’re all supposed to play dumb? Somehow I doubt that Judy Miller would allow herself to sound so flat-footed.

Scott McClellan, the press secretary to President Bush, called on you and allowed you to ask questions on a nearly daily basis. What, exactly, is your relationship with him?

I was just another guy in the press room. Did I try to curry favor with him? Sure. When he got married, I left a wedding card for him in the press office. People are saying this proves there is some link. But as Einstein said, “Sometimes a wedding card is just a wedding card.”

You mean like “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”? That wasn’t Einstein. That was Freud.

Oh, Freud. O.K. I got my old Jewish men confused.

Now really, Gucky — how could there be any sort of confusion between old Jewish men ?

And what’s this about wedding presents? Gee you mustknow Scott really well. Would we be jumping to conclusions in suspecting the McLellans is a Triumph of the Will & Grace alliance ?

Then the fact that you’re bringing Jewishness up to begin with begs another question — one that Solomon, quite characteristically, won’t ask. Instead she offers some “helpful advice.”

You should learn the difference between them if you want to work in journalism.

I’d like to get back into journalism. I’m hoping someone will offer me a job as a commentator or one of those political analysts that you see on the news shows all the time.

Aha! Gucky’s playing Eve to Tucker Carlson’s Margo!

But who’ll be his Addison? Bob Schieffer?

What are we supposed to make of the fact that before reporting for Talon News, you had never had a job in journalism and apparently earned your living running a gay escort service?

Don’t let that confuse the issue. We have driven so many good people from public service through the politics of personal destruction. People on the left who disagreed with me decided that I needed to be punished by any means necessary.

But the issue isn’t confused at all, Gucky — even when you’re cribbing a phrase from the Clinton handbook (“politics of personal destruction.”) But Solomon is just as disingenuous. She knows perfectly well “what it means.” And so does anyone who has taken the time to visit Blogactive or Americablog, the leading websites for All Things Gucky.

As for his invocation of “punishment,” it would seem that the Guckster isn’t the “Total Top,” his advertisements claim. I’m sure any number of his critics would be more than happy to extend him the discipline he so richly deserves — though doubtless not quite the kind he so obviously craves.

How did you get your job at Talon News?

I had submitted some opinion pieces to Gopusa. I believe they were picking up wire feeds, and Bobby Eberle wanted to supplement that with original reporting. He came to Washington for some business, and he called me. It was a breakfast meeting.

A nice “save” there at the last, Gucky. Don’t want anyone thinking you were traipsing up to Mr. Eberle’s hotel room in the wee smalls now, do we?

Were you paid for your pieces?
Yes. I received a kind of stipend.

He’s a hooker, Deborah — of course he gets paid!

I assume Eberle fired you after you asked that now-famous question of President Bush at a press conference in January, suggesting that Democrats had “divorced themselves from reality.”

I wasn’t fired. I resigned. I made the decision by myself after I learned that my family had received threatening phone calls. I decided this is what had to be done to try to make that stop.

To date those”threatening phone calls” remain an unsubstantiated charge on Gucky’s part. Who would have his number, save the RNC and sundry Johns?
Of course if his services were less than satisfactory the johns may have made threats, but that’s quite outside of ordinary politics.

What do you mean by your family?

My mother. She is 72. I am a big boy. I can take this. But it’s so hard on my mother. She has to reconcile all of these things, and it’s difficult.

Yes it’s hard when Mom discovers her pride and joy is selling his ass on the internet.

Do you find it hard to be a gay conservative in this country in light of the right-wing hostility to gay rights?

I prefer that to be a private issue. I am more interested in national defense, taxation and immigration than in personal issues. I would like people’s personal lives to be behind the barrier once again, like they used to be.

Cognative dissonance rears it’s psychopathic head.

Sorry Gucky, but for the glbt community national defense, taxation and immigration are all personal issues, in that the second-verging-on-third status of the non-heterosexual relates directly to them.

As for your “perference” that it all be “a private issue,” there’s no closing the barn door now, because the horse that was once inside has just won the Kentucky Derby

So get with the program, Gucky. Relax. Take in a movie

or two.

Still, it seems fair to ask about your position on gay marriage.

My position is that I can’t imagine that gay marriage would be something that I would be interested in in the first place. I actually like being alone. I have decided that is how I want to live. I have a dog named Winston. I am still the same to Winston, no matter what, and there is comfort in that. Winston doesn’t watch the news.

Oh my stars, it’s Man on Dog ! Does Rick Santorum know about this?

But for those of us who do watch the news, are you interested in defending one’s right to pose in the buff, as photographs on the Internet indicate you have done?

We do have tremendous freedoms in this country, and one of the drawbacks of that is that people are free to take images of me and manipulate them however they want. At some point in the future, everyone is going to have a picture on the Internet that they are unhappy about.

Speak for yourself, Gucky !

After all there are unhappy photos

and unhappy photos

right alongside photos that no one should be unhappy about at all.

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Tracked: March 26, 2005