When was the last time you heard the phrase "light in your loafers?" Last I heard it was in Tom Ford'sA Single Man, his directorial debut for a feature film. And that movie was set in the 1960s. Well, looks like the lieutenant governor of Texas is bringing it back.
In an interview with Laura Ingraham on her show The Ingraham Angle, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick went on the attack in a conversation about presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke. "Wasn't he a little more reasonable not so long ago," Ingraham asks. " Was he always this Left Wing?"
"He is so light in the loafers he floats off the ground at times," Patrick responded. We went from a conversation about immigration to accusations that O'Rourke might have a little sugar in his tank. Oh, ok.
"Now Dan," Ingraham said later, revisiting the comment. "When you said 'light in the loafers,' you just meant not consequential, correct?"
"Yes, yes!" Patrick said.
"You didn't mean any pejorative, but it was not consequential," she continued. "People might think something else."
"No, no, no" Patrick said. "He's just a lightweight."
And while Patrick may have said he didn't mean it as a pejorative, the phrase "light in your loafers" has a long and pretty specific history. It is one in a suite of ways homophobes took shots at gays back in the day, by insulting their masculinity or presumed lack thereof. And as someone alive and well during the 60s, Patrick would have certainly been well aware of the inference here and would have known this to be a dog whistle for other conservatives watching the broadcast.
"I stand by my remarks on Fox News that Beto O'Rourke is a lightweight with no public policy substance," Patrick later tweeted about the incident. "If anyone took a different meaning from one of my comments, I apologize. Let me reiterate -- it was not intended."
Well sometimes when your biases are so ingrained, you don't even realize they've leapt out, right there on national television.