NJ Media trips over itself to give the Senate President cover
Senate President Steve Sweeney referred to Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, Barbara Buono’s choice to be the new Democratic State Chairman, as “Cryan’s beard” yesterday while condemning the choice as divisive. Buono is the presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee. By tradition the gubernatorial nominee of both parties chooses the state chairman of the party. Cryan is former Democratic State Chairman, Assemblyman Joe Cryan.
“Beard” is a slang term for a person, most often a woman, who is used, knowingly or unknowingly, as a date or spouse to conceal their ‘partner’s’ homosexuality.
Can you imagine the media outcry if Governor Chris Christie or another prominent Republican denounced an advisory as a beard?
The Star Ledger used Sweeney’s beard quote and explained the term as meaning “a close relationship between the two North Jersey Democrats.” The Record’s Charles Stile wrote that Sweeney meant that O’Donnell is Cryan’s “front man.” Gannett’s Bob Ingle wrote that Sweeney’s slur meant that Cryan and O’Donnell “have an alliance.”
Jay Lassiter laughed at Sweeney’s vocabulary. “If Steve knew what that term really meant there’s no doubt he’d have chosen a more appropriate euphemism,” said Lassiter, a medical marijuana, gay rights activist and PolitickerNJ columnist with a chuckle, “I had to look it up to confirm it mean what I thought it meant.”
Garden State Equality spokesman TJ Helmstetter at first denied knowing that the Senate President called the Democratic Chairman designee a beard. “No comment, we don’t want to get involved in that,” Helmstetter said when told of Sweeney’s remarks.
“Everyone knows what Sweeney meant,” said a senior Democratic operative who asked not to be named, “Steve’s not calling Jason, gay. He’s married and has kids. He’s saying Jason is fronting for Cryan.”
Another Democratic operative said, “It’s not as if Sweeney called for O’Donnell to be hit in the head with a bat,” a reference to Christie’s 2011 off the cuff remark calling for the press corps t0 “take a bat” to State Senator Loretta Weinberg.
“No one thought that Christie literally meant that Weinberg should be beaten with a bat,” MMM said to the Democrat. “True, but that was a violent comment, Sweeney wasn’t gay bashing,” the operative said. “No,” he said when asked if the Democratic press release machine and the media would be attacking Christie for calling someone a beard.
Lassiter was a bit more forthcoming when asked, hypothetically, if the media and Democrats would be attacking Christie for calling someone a beard.
“I don’t think Christie would have misused this term. He would have found a proper insult.”