This week, we’ve learned what issues Republican candidate Steve Lonegan considers most important in the New Jersey Senate race: that maybe Cory Booker could be gay, and that Steve Lonegan does not enjoy manicures, thank you very much.
In a recent interview  with the Washington Post, Cory Booker addressed the rumors that he’s gay in an extremely classy manner:
“And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’” (emphasis ours)
Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan responded to these tasteful and measured remarks by hitting back with playground insults and, frankly, some pretty strange thoughts of his own, in a Newsmax interview discovered by Right Wing Watch :
"It's kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don't know if you saw the stories last year. They've been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o'clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure."
Doubling down on these thinly-veiled insinuations about Booker’s sexuality, he continued to obsess over what Booker’s “fetish” might be:
"I don't like going out in the middle of the night, or any time of the day, for a manicure and pedicure. It was described as his peculiar fetish. I have a more peculiar fetish. I like a good Scotch and a cigar. That's my fetish but we'll just compare the two."
Not much can be said about that, other than: what? (Also, where can I find one of these late-night pedicures? They sound super fun.)
Today, Booker responded  to Lonegan’s pathetic attacks:
“’It's just disheartening to hear somebody, in this day and age, in the United States of America, say basically ... that gay men are not men, they're not guys,’ he said in an interview with HuffPost Live, referring to remarks made by Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan. ‘It's shocking to one's conscience in this country, where we believe that the content of one's character, the courage in one's heart, the strength of one's sense of purpose, the love that one has for others and their service, is what defines them. And instead he's challenging the masculinity of millions of Americans.’”
If it was encouraging to see Booker refuse to engage in the childish and irrelevant rumor-mill politics that led to these questions in the first place, it’s absolutely fantastic to see that he isn’t backing down after Lonegan’s bizarre, homophobic and embarrassing rant. Hopefully, it’s a sign that we’re moving away from this nasty politics of hate—to a place where these types of comments are enough to sink a campaign. But please, Steve, do tell us more about your fetishes.