Yesterday, the Austin American-Statesman discovered that the website of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-TX) gubernatorial campaign contains a long list of hidden phrases, including the words “rick perry gay.” When called on this very minor incident, Hutchison’s spokesperson quite plausibly explained that “a vendor sold them on a tool that generates the phrases hourly or less in an attempt to divine the most frequent Web searches made by individuals who search online using one or all of the terms ‘Rick Perry,’ ‘Kay Bailey Hutchison’ and ‘Texas.’” Hutchison’s staff was merely monitoring how she and Texas’ present governor are viewed by websurfers, and the phrase “rick perry gay” appeared because a large number of people apparently enter these words into Google. Rather than simply leave it at that, however, Hutchison then released this statement:
We did not know these offensive word associations were being searched for by hundreds of thousands of Texans everyday nor do we condone the computer-generated existence on our Web site.
Hutchison did not clarify what exactly she finds “offensive” about the phrase “rick perry gay.” Is she offended by the very notion that her state could be governed by a gay man, or does she simply find the word “gay” itself to be offensive? In either event, her initial mistake was nothing more than an innocent attempt to monitor search engines. Why she felt the need to respond with anti-gay rhetoric is anyone’s guess.