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The GOP Clown Car faces YouTube questions

Americablog‘s Joe Sudbay is liveblogging the YouTube debate this evening, and I’m watching it intermittently.

Just so you know, Fred Thompson sucks. He’s no smooth, avuncular Arthur Branch up there on stage. I can’t understand what the Freepi see in him.

Rudy and Mitt got into a heated exchange about Mitt’s “sanctuary mansion” rife with undocumented workers after the former Massachusetts governor chastised Rudy for being soft on immigration. There were at least 3 questions on immigration. Huckabee clearly is too liberal on this front (tonight he said that undocumented children of illegal immigrants are deserving of access to in-state tuition rates); I wonder how that goes over with the Base?

There was a question asked about abortion that didn’t get answered sufficiently (no surprise) — the clown car was asked, if Roe v. Wade was overturned, what penalty the woman should pay if she seeks out an abortion? Ron Paul took a crack at it, but dodged the question by saying the matter should be decided at the state level, and that the doctor should be penalized, not the woman (he couldn’t clearly articulate why the person “contracting the hit” on the fetus shouldn’t receive punishment).

9:50: They were asked by a retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr, who served honorably for 42 years, why people are booted under DADT.

Hunter: It would be bad for unit cohesion. Claims that most of the people who serve are conservative, and it is a disservice to them to have to serve with openly gay servicemembers.

Huckabee: It’s about conduct — it could put at risk unit cohesion.

Romney: It’s not the right time to change; he was pressed by Anderson Cooper on whether Mitt’s changed his mind on whether Mitt still looks forward to the day when gays and lesbians can serve openly. He bobbed and weaved and the crowd booed him.

McCain: I listen to the generals, and the present policy is working, and DADT needs to be continued.

Question asked: Why should the Log Cabinettes support any of the clown car occupants?

Huckabee: he welcomes their votes, even though he doesn’t support same sex marriage.


SLDN has a release out about the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell question. An excerpt is after the jump.

The candidates were queried on the topic by retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr, CSMR (Ret.), a member of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network’s (SLDN) military advisory council who ‘came out’ in 2003 and identified as a Republican voter. General Kerr served for 43 years in the military, including as Commanding General of the Northern Area Command of the California State Military Reserve. His question was part of this evening’s CNN/YouTube debate of Republican presidential contenders.

“I want to know why you think that “Despite the statements by candidates this evening, a growing majority of Americans in both parties want ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repealed.” American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians,” General Kerr asked the candidates.

…”Most Americans (who enter the military) are conservative and have conservative values . . . and to force those people to work in a small, tight unit with someone openly homosexual and goes against their principles is a disservice,” Congressman Duncan Hunter (D-CA) said in response. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) also endorsed maintaining the law, saying that “. . . leaders almost unanimously tell me that the present policy is working.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told Kerr that, “People have a right to whatever feelings and attitudes they wish, but when conduct puts cohesion at risk, I think that is what is at issue. That is why we have the policy we have right now.” Former Governor Mitt Romney, who acknowledged supporting open service early in his career, told the General he now opposes that idea, saying that the law “has been there for 15 years and it seems to be working.”

Romney added that he would listen to the counsel of military leaders in the future and “listen to what they have to say.”

…Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of SLDN, pointed to growing support among Republican voters, and some GOP lawmakers, for repealing the law. “Republicans and Democrats alike should be able to agree that our national security and military readiness are not partisan political matters,” Sarvis said. “Republican voters increasingly understand that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ deprives our armed forces of the talent and skills of patriotic Americans who have important contributions to make to our national defense. Those voters want leaders who will reach across party lines and build consensus to repeal this law.”

UPDATE: Kerr has been revealed to be on the LGBT Americans for Hillary Steering Committee, which will now be used by the right to divert attention from the embarrassing, insulting answers given by the GOP clown car. Kerr, no matter who he publicly supports for president, was still the victim of discrimination by his own government because he is gay.

The failure of Kerr to disclose his public political relationship — and CNN’s incompetence in not vetting the matter — now leaves the door open for the Freepi and wingers to try to call Kerr a mole, dismiss the entire relevant question, and stir enough sh*t to keep the media’s eye off of the incredibly bigoted responses of the GOP candidates. Joe at Paleo Place:

Duncan Hunter’s bizarre explanation that most soldiers are conservative and should not serve with people they disagree with will not be the headline. Nor, will Mitt Romney’s inability to explain how he was an advocate for gay rights in the ’90s, but now would defer the rights of gay soldiers to military officials, capture the debate.

And, worst of all, the fact that a number of audience members booed Gen. Kerr, a man who fought for his country, will be over shadowed, and even justified, by this one fact–Gen. Kerr was a member of the Clinton camp.

In June, Mrs. Clinton named Gen. Kerr to her LBGT Americans for Hillary Steering Committee. Rather than being viewed as a victim of discrimination, Gen. Kerr will now become a political hack who used politics to score points for the Democrats. This is down right shameful.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding