Lil' Bob, Gay Baiter

County judge candidate Vince Ryan has been publicly quoting a paragraph from Tim Fleck's article in the September 29th issue of the Press on Ryan's contest with Robert Eckels. To wit: "While Ryan runs as an outsider and reformer, Eckels has chosen a more convoluted role: campaigning as a team player, embracing the past while calling for minor adjustments, appealing to the status quo and trying to avoid being tarred by it at the same time."

That's not exactly a damning description of Eckels, although it is an accurate summation of the way he has campaigned. But after Ryan read the passage during an October 6 appearance with Eckels before the North Houston-Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce, Eckels concluded his own presentation thusly:

"I'm gonna close real quick with what Texas Monthly said about me, not about what the Houston Press [said], which is an inner-city, liberal newspaper which has all kinds of ads about 'men seeking men' and 'women seeking women' and addresses totally different kinds of issues, but those groups haven't endorsed me, they've endorsed my opponent." His comment drew a few scattered titters from the audience.

Eckels, who lives in the heart of inner-city, liberal and heavily gay Montrose, is free to characterize the Press however he wants. But we find it sad that Eckels, who as a state representative cultivated a reputation as a thoughtful, moderate and consensus-seeking Republican, feels like he has to stoop to gay-baiting in his quest to be elected county judge. We assume he didn't make anti-gay cracks when he went seeking votes before the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group.

And his opinion of the Press didn't stop his campaign from expropriating a goofy picture of Ryan that appeared in this newspaper and using it in a TV commercial.

Like we said, sad.

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