Pace was immediately criticized by many groups and individuals. The Human Rights Campaign was quick to condemn his statements as was Republican Senator John Warner. The Virginia senator said specifically, "I respectfully disagree. . . that homosexuality is immoral."
Nice job Senator Warner....a clear and concise answer to a simple question--are gays immoral?
Now....do you want to know why those of us on the left are so concerned about our current crop of presidential contenders? Here is the reason. After Pace's moronic statements, the leading Democratic candidates have all been asked to comment. Here are some of their answers--please read carefully:
"Well, I’m going to leave that to others to conclude. I’m very proud of the gays and lesbians I know who perform work that is essential to our country, who want to serve their country, and I want make sure they can."
Wow, that's really a strong pro-gay statement isn't it--"I'm going to leave that to others." The Clinton spinmeisters immediately realized there might be a problem. Later in the day, the New York senator--or her staff--made some amends by stating:
"I disagree with what he said and do not share his view, plain and simple. It is inappropriate to inject such personal views into this public policy matter, especially at a time in which there are young men and women in such grave circumstances in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in other dangerous places around the world."
In the meantime, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, when asked about Pace's comments on whether gays were immoral gave this quasi-definitive statement:
"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."
What the hell does that mean? When asked later, Obama maintained that the main issue should be who was willing to sacrifice their life for their country. Which again, seems like it doesn't really deal with the question of gay morality.Okay, now behind Door #3 we have John Edwards. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer, the former senator was asked the same question.
BLITZER: Let's talk about General Peter Pace, the chairman of the joint chiefs. He suggested today, his own personal opinion, homosexuality, he said, was immoral. As a result, don't change the don't ask, don't tell policy. First of all, in your opinion, is homosexuality immoral?
EDWARDS: I don't -- don't share that view. And I would go -- go further than that, Wolf. I think the don't ask, don't tell is not working. And as president of the United States I would change that policy.
BLITZER: Is the don't ask, don't tell policy immoral?
EDWARDS: I think the don't ask, don't tell policy is wrong. It's not working. I think what it's done, effectively, is kept us from having some of the most talented people we could have in our military. It's caused -- caused more problems than it's solved. And it ought to be changed.
By today (Friday) both Clinton and Obama were till trying to spin their weak responses. While both candidates finally agreed that that being gay was not immoral, it seemed to take a while.
Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese, who spent most of yesterday on the phone with both camps, was relieved and a little mystified that he had to fight to elicit the statements."I hope that we have learned moving forward that, at the end of the day, all that American voters expect, whether they are gay or straight, is clarity from the candidates," he said.
So by the end of the week, all appears to be well. But several things concern me.
1. The answer should have been clear, obvious, and easy--NO, gays and/or the gay lifestyle is NOT immoral. It shouldn't have just rolled off the tongue--no thinking involved. Pandagon reported that:
"Clinton and Obama supporters, speaking on condition of anonymity, said both might have been trying to avoid offending socially conservative Democrats, particularly churchgoing African-Americans, who share Pace’s views."
2. Both Clinton and Obama are still trying to out-triangulate each other. When will this end--and when will either, or both of them, start talking straight.
3. Finally, John Edwards looks better and better each week.