Laura Flanders: To Beat the Right, Clinton and Obama Need to Be Clear About Supporting Gay Rights
Ann Coulter's not going anywhere. There was tut-tutting in the media when she told the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that she couldn't talk about John Edwards without using the word "faggot," but the crowd in attendance roared. I suspect her trial balloon's not burst yet.
When General Peter Pace, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Chicago Tribune that homosexuality was immoral and should be prosecuted, the response of the Democratic front-runners was worse than weak. Asked to respond to Pace's assertions, both of the Democrats' lead money-raisers prevaricated.
Is homosexuality immoral, an ABC reporter asked Hillary Clinton point-blank: "I'm going to leave that to others to conclude" she answered. When asked by Newsday, repeatedly, if same-sex relationships were immoral, Barack Obama changed the subject: "I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters...That's probably a good tradition to follow."
Both candidates' spokespeople tried to massage those messages in the hours that followed, to little effect. A few days later, Senator Clinton released a third statement, in writing: "I disagree with what he [Pace] said and do not share his view, plain and simple," said Clinton.
But nothing Senators Clinton or Obama has said so far is anywhere near as simple as a "no" to the question of whether homosexuality is immoral. Or as plain as a plain-old "yes" to the notion that this nation's constitutional protections are supposed to apply equally to everyone. Only John Edwards seems to have learned that a direct answer isn't fatal. Asked by Wolf Blitzer "Is homosexuality immoral" he answered "I don't - don't share that view."
The reality is that national Democrats rarely speak plainly about anything to do with the so-called culture wars. To the contrary, Democrats running for a president typically run for cover when any gay related topic comes up. Worse, having utterly failed to tackle the topic with anything resembling principle (or panache) they blame the victim when homophobes win the day.
And later in the article:
"The compromise strategy doesn't work," Bill Lofy, communications director for the campaign training group Wellstone Action, told me. "For two reasons. If people are given the choice between a Republican and a Republican, they'll choose a Republican every time. And people are craving leadership that is real."
For far too long the Democratic Party has urged candidates to be what I call lip-synched liberals, cautious of speech, cut off at the heart. Hundreds of decent candidates have taken that advice -- to disastrous effect.
It would be nice if the dems would actually stand up for what's right rather than what's politically expedient. What are the chances of them doing it ? ? ? ?