Andrew Shirvell, the Michigan assistant attorney general who has decided to launch a smear campaign against a Michigan undergraduate student council president, appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 last night. Shirvell made headlines two weeks ago, when his hate blog against University of Michigan student council president Chris Armstrong attracted media attention. Shirvell claims Chris Armstrong advances a “radical homosexual agenda.” Shirvell’s blog depicts Armstrong with photoshopped swastikas on his face and features all sorts of hateful rhetoric directed against Armstrong. We previously wrote about Shirvell here.
I don’t know if Shirvell thought he was going to get fellated by Larry King when he walked into the CNN studio. But Anderson Cooper was not about to let this unrepentant homophobe have an unchallenged opportunity to spout his hate to a national audience. The best Cooper line: “You seem to be obsessed with this young, gay man.”
Why don’t you check out the video clip, and then we’ll discuss…
Shirvell’s spot on AC360 was highly entertaining… at least if you find idiots being made to look like fools entertaining. As Lat opined on Twitter, “Shirvell sounds like a closet case with a low IQ.” Check out the clip:
If you didn’t watch through until the end, you probably missed the best part. Around the 6:10 mark, Cooper asks Shirvell, straight out, “Do you consider yourself a bigot?” Shirvell waffles and says he does not. Then Cooper draws from a familiar well that I’m sure every single attorney used at least once while he or she was in high school
COOPER: I bring up the bigot question because, you know, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines bigot as “a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her opinion or prejudices.” Also “a person who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred or intolerance.” [Cooper lists all the things Shirvell has done to Chris Armstrong.] It certainly appears that you hate this guy because he’s gay.
SHIRVELL: Anderson, that’s your spin on it, the real bigot here is Chris Armstrong.
I love when people go to the dictionary. It’s so old school.
In any event, I don’t think we should waste too much time with the convoluted theories of (the potentially closeted) Andrew Shirvell. Every time he opens his mouth, he just makes himself look like a bigger jackass.
I think the media attention needs to roll towards the office of Mike Cox, Michigan’s current Attorney General, and Shirvell’s boss. Or the campaign headquarters of Bill Schuette and David Leyton, the two men running to replace Cox as A.G. (Cox lost in the Republican gubernatorial primary).
It’s all well and good for Shirvell to steadfastly maintain that he has conducted his campaign against Armstrong “after hours,” on his own personal time. And certainly nobody would disagree that, as an American citizen, Shirvell can say pretty much anything he wants.
But as Cooper points out, Shirvell’s day job is to represent and defend the people of Michigan — ALL the people of Michigan, even the gay and lesbian people of Michigan. Cox has already come out and said that Shirvell’s comments are immature and show poor judgment. Rampant bigotry aside, aren’t maturity and judgment really important job qualifications for an assistant A.G.? It’s one thing for a guy to attend an “I hate gays because they make me feel funny inside” rally. It’s totally different for a public official to launch a personal smear campaign against a college kid (including protesting outside the kid’s house).
One of the things that (I think) is relevant when electing an A.G. is the quality of people he will surround himself with. Someone needs to ask these Schuette and Leyton guys whether a person like Andrew Shirvell would be allowed to work for them, and the state of Michigan, if they get elected.