The Mickey Kaus Oppo Research Project
Poor blogger Mickey Kaus is running for Senate, and no one really cares. But we do, so we launched a little project to gather dirt on him. The best we got is that he brings heroin-addicted sex perverts into schools.
Kaus, who has made a career out of attacking liberals while claiming to be one, is challenging Barbara Boxer in California's Democratic primary because he hates unions and illegal immigrants. He's filed all the necessary paperwork and got himself a fancy (and crappy-looking, compared to his blog) web site, but so far the effort seems to be a bust: The party has denied him a speaking slot at the California Democratic convention, a decision that was based largely on his own repeated public statements that his candidacy is hopeless. And there's no way he's going to land a chance to debate Boxer.
A few weeks ago, with the aid of the inestimable Gawker intern Sergio Hernandez, we started looking into Kaus' past for the sort of damaging information that could derail his campaign if anybody were paying enough attention to actually attempt to derail it. Turns out he's a horrible nerd who graduated first in his class and got a perfect score on his SATs, so there's not much there. But some of his friends hate him and said underminer-ish things, and we got some really embarrassing photos from his high school yearbook, so let's get started, shall we?
1. Mickey Kaus is Not a Democrat
Kaus is registered to vote in California as a Democrat, but his schtick for decades has been to attack the mainstream of the party as a sort of intellectual concern troll on labor, immigration, and how gay John Kerry is (very gay!). That stuff is blogger gold, but the "fuck your friends" attitude, as Kaus' pal and former colleague at Newsweek Jonathan Alter puts it, can be a political liability when you're running as a Democrat. Here's a compendium of Kaus on bloggingheads.tv, the wonky debate site he started with Robert Wright, predicting that "John McCain is going to be elected president with 70% of the vote" and pledging to vote for him because he "put Obama in his place," defending George W. Bush's warrantless surveillance program because "the Constitution is obsolete," and referring in a candid moment to "those of us on the right." Bonus Kausfiles prognosticative incompetence: He also dismissed the credit crisis that preceded the financial collapse as "a blip"—"this doesn't seem like a crisis to me"—which should endear him to California's recession-ravaged Democratic electorate and make for a good attack ad, if anyone were bothering to make attack ads against him.
2. Mickey Kaus Hates Gay People
Andrew Sullivan has been over this territory before: In 2005, Kaus claimed that heterosexuals would be genetically predisposed to dislike Brokeback Mountain—because, really, who wants to look at gays kissing and stuff?—and repeatedly argued that the movie, which was the 4th-ranked R-rated movie of 2005 and pulled in $178 million worldwide, would be a commercial failure in "real America" on account of the gayness. Add to that this 1985 New Republic piece lamenting the West Hollywood PC Nazis who forced his favorite bar into taking down a sign reading "Fagots Stay Out," and a pattern emerges:
This sort of thing would be great in a GOP primary, but we think Boxer could easily use Kaus' belief that public establishments should be able to make gay people "uncomfortable" so they can be refuges from the "homosexual lifestyle" against him in California. Alter agrees, sort of: "Homophobe might be a little strong," he says, "but Andrew Sullivan's not wrong. Let's just say Mickey was not the first to embrace the cause of AIDS activists."
You can say the same for Kaus' political supporters. Just over two hours after he posted an item on his campaign site urging readers to help us out in our half-hearted oppo effort, we got this e-mail from "Mickey's Gay Lover":
I have heard that you are sending out probes asking for background information on Mickey Kaus. Well, I am his secret gay lover.
Now before you respond, let me say that I am not interested. I know Gawker writers are famous for being flaming fags, and you surely are no different, although your enthusiasm for lingering on a huge cock may be second to none. I mean it is kind of a pathetic existence, isn't it? Being a shitty quasi-writer, writing to a house style defined by English major airheads, just the experience of saying "I write for Gawker!" with a beaming smile and being greeted with "huh?" and "I'm sorry I didn't know you had AIDS".
My love is for Mickey and Mickey alone. You'll just have to settle for the queers and trannies you meet at the club. I hope you understand. But since you have a libarts degree, I'm guessing not.
3. Mickey Kaus Is a Skirt-Chasing Bachelor Trapped in Eternal Adolescence
Kaus never married, and rents an apartment in Venice. "He's chased girls like crazy—that's for sure," says Gregg Easterbrook, his former colleague at the Washington Monthly.
"Mickey is actually very popular with women," says Alter. "It's a bit of a puzzlement. In L.A., there's a posse of young, attractive women who laugh at Mickey's jokes and like him. He attracts younger women. He meets them at parties, and it's 'come on upstairs and let's review my op-ed pieces.'" We couldn't pry the identities of any of these pretty young things out of any of Kaus' acquaintances, but we have an idea how he seduces them: Mix tapes! Kaus is given to ostentatiously shoehorn the names of indie rock heroes like Built to Spill and the Arcade Fire into his posts on immigration reform and the like, just to let us know he's hip. Easterbrook cites his "excruciatingly detailed knowledge of the indie nightclub scene," and Alter says he frequently makes mix tapes of the latest cool tunes for his friends.
Add to that this 2004 registration, under Kaus' full name Robert Michael Kaus, for a song rather wistfully entitled "That Never Happened With You" in the U.S. Copyright Office's public catalog, and a picture of hipster lothario trapped in the body of a hairy, bald blogger pushing 60 quickly emerges. (We asked Kaus if he was the author of "That Never Happened With You," and he said he had no comment. Which means he is!)
4. Mickey Kaus Pals Around With Horrible People
Will Kaus "reject and denounce" the perpetually hysterical rantings of his old friend Ann Coulter? No, because they are old friends and he likes her, personally, as a human being. When she called John Edwards a "faggot" at the Conservative Action Political Conference in 2007, Kaus defended her, claiming (falsely) that Coulter is "not a hate-filled person, and it was not said in a hateful way." She only meant to say that Edwards is a "wuss," which is what "faggot" means. Also, he dated Arianna Huffington. Sexually.
5. Mickey Kaus Has Not Always Hated Mexicans
One half of the reason Kaus is running is to prevent Mexico from taking over his beloved Southern California, but according to his high school yearbook, he was a member of the "Sociedad Honoraria Hispanic," which is a Chicano movement devoted to re-establishing a "Greater Aztlan" in North America and forcing everyone to speak Mexican. He was savvy enough as a teenager to avoid having his photo taken with the fringe group, but he forgot to use a fake name.
6. Mickey Kaus is a Deadbeat
According to real estate records, he has owned one home in his life: A Washington, D.C., townhouse that he sold for $450,000 in 1998. Other than that, he's lived like a shiftless drifter, renting homes in New York, California, and Washington.
Why can't Mickey settle down and buy a home like an honest American? Despite the fact that he made somewhere between $80,000 and $90,000 a year at Slate before he quit to launch his campaign, his D.C. bar membership was suspended in 2002 for "non-payment of dues." That's obviously because he stopped practicing and just let the membership lapse, but come on Mickey—you can't send a letter? We've asked Kaus to fill out the same Senate financial disclosure form that his opponent has filed each year she's been in office—and which, as a candidate, he is obligated to file with the Secretary of the Senate within 30 days of raising or spending $5,000 on his campaign. He said he would, but he hasn't gotten it to us yet.
7. Mickey Kaus Thinks Heroin-Using S-and-M Enthusiasts Should Be Teaching Your Children
Kaus was the president of his senior class at Beverly Hills High School in 1968 (he was also voted "brainiest"), and according to his classmates, he somehow managed to book the Velvet Underground to play a school assembly. According to a Washington Post chat with Lloyd Grove, who was a ninth-grader at the school at the time, the school's psychiatrist complained about the noise and cited studies showing rock music had caused hearing damage in hamsters. Lou Reed replied, "When we play for hamsters, we will turn the volume down." The Velvet Underground were degenerate drug users who wrote songs about transvestite smack dealers who were "too busy sucking on my ding-dong" to go to church.
8. Mickey Kaus Is a Weakling
According to his high school transcript, in both his 1966 and 1967 California Physical Fitness Tests, Kaus could only do 6 pull-ups, putting him in the 40th and 25th percentiles, respectively, among his peers. Which makes him a wuss. Or, as his friend Coulter would put it, a "faggot."