Reality Check

This brazen beak-bearer can't wrap its head feathers around why Zona press weenies are so scared of discussing whether Governor Janet Napolitano's a secret lez. Pretty much everyone in this state with half a clue assumes "Manet," as wags call her, is a lesbian. The Bird figures she's a non-practicing one, though, as she radiates all the sex appeal of Richard M. Nixon in his prime.

Why, Sand Land could make history if Janet de-closeted. A state mostly known for its right-wing politics would suddenly have the only openly gay governor in the nation, the only openly lesbian Guv ever. Sure, pre-November 7, she might lose some of her 43-point lead against challenger Len "Premarital" Munsil, but she'd never come close to losing it all. Especially since most folks already have Napolitano pegged as one butch, k.d. lang-ish pol.

Napolitano last denied preferring ladies to gents back in the 2002 gubernatorial race, when in response to the charge that she had some sort of radical gay-rights agenda, she announced, "I am not gay." But few swallowed the line, and Nappy never even bothered producing an alleged boyfriend to keep rumors at bay. You know, a beard.

AZ's fourth estate generally lacks the huevos to discuss the Guv's sexual orientation, even when the personal turns political, as is the case with Prop 107, the right-wing-sponsored same-sex-marriage ban. Manet fought unsuccessfully to have the prop appear on a special 2005 ballot instead of the 2006 ballot, when she knew she'd be gunning for reelection. When that effort failed, she ducked the issue until this August, staking out the Bill Clinton-esque position of being opposed to same-sex unions, but against Prop 107, too. See, she claims to deem it unnecessary, since AZ law currently bans gay marriage. The Guv also agrees with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon that the prop's prohibition on domestic-partner benefits is bad policy.

So this salty starling decided to wing its way down to the governor's regular Wednesday media briefing to press the state's chief exec on her equivocations and urge her to come clean.

Unfair inquiry, you say? Imagine if Manet were a male Republican (not much of a stretch, really) as well as a closeted homosexual. Given the ongoing Mark Foley scandal, and the revelations of Representative Jim Kolbe's camping expeditions with congressional pages, would AZ ink-slingers treat a sex-switched Guv with kid gloves? The Bird's not saying she's done anything untoward. Just that journos would press harder on issues like Prop 107.

At Janet's press briefings, media lapdogs assemble in her ninth-floor office, stand or sit before her desk and throw softballs while she answers in practiced, hair-splitting doublespeak that's harder to pin down than a ginormous jellyfish. About halfway into last week's bore fest, the Taloned One squawked its pointed query, asking Napolitano why she opposes both Prop 107 and gay marriage. Jeez-Louise, whassamatta with gays getting hitched, Guv?

"Marriage is between a man and a woman," maintained Manet. "That is the law, and I believe that's our tradition. I think Prop 107 goes way beyond that."

Who is she, Jerry Falwell? This determined dodo then delivered its showstopper: "Do you think that's in any way hypocritical because most people believe you're a closeted lesbian?"

The room went silent. Manet paused with that classic moose-in-your-RV's headlights look, as if in stunned disbelief (who, me?!) that people assume she's a homosexual.

"No," she muttered. "No, and I'm offended by that question."

Time for a reality check, Guv!

The softballs were soon flying again, and the press conference was over so quickly that The Bird didn't get to ask the Guv just why she was so bleedin' offended. Does she really think there's something wrong with being a lesbian? Maybe that's why she's going to such lengths to stay closeted, though she looks like she'd be right at home coaching the Phoenix Mercury or teaching women's studies at some all-female college in Oregon.

The Bird's saying, if she's not gay, why doesn't she start looking and acting like, say, a woman?

After Janet exited, Capitol Times scribe Phil Riske demanded to know this chirper's name and employer. In the crowded elevator on the way down, Riske spat, "You make us all look like idiots!"

Phil, you don't need this feathered fiend to look like an idiot. Plus, you're assuming that anybody thinks you're a real reporter. Here's an idea: Try growing a pair. And stop acting like the governor's pussy-boy.

Now, wait a freakin' second! Phil Riske and Napolitano an item? Maybe Janet's straight, after all? Nah, quite the contrary. Case closed.

In a Pig's Eye

Speaking of props, anyone caught Joe Arpaio's TV ad in favor of Proposition 204, the anti-animal-cruelty initiative? In it, the lawman's in the kitchen frying up a hunk o' swine, while encouraging viewers to stop animal cruelty by voting yes on Prop 204.