Republicans are upset that, at the most recent CNN-hosted Republican presidential debate, a member of the audience who turned out to be a Democrat asked a question:
“My name is Keith Kerr, from Santa Rosa, California. I’m retired brigadier general with 43 years of service, and I’m a graduate of the Special Forces Officer Course, the Command and General Staff Course, and the Army War College. And I’m an openly gay man.
“I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.”
This is hardly an unfair question. Had he asked, “I’m a gay man. Why do you hate me?”, that would have been a loaded question. But the Republicans made open gays in the military a political issue, and they be able to defend that position–or made to look stupid if it is an indefensible position (which it is). But it gets worse:
CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Gen. Kerr, who was in the audience for the event, whether he was satisfied with the responses. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t.
“With all due respect, I did not get an answer from the candidates,” Kerr said, adding, “We’re talking about doctors, nurses, pilots, and the surgeon who sews somebody up when they’re taken from the battlefield.”
At which point, the Republican audience began booing the 43-year military veteran. It was an interesting contrast — at Democratic debates, veterans get standing ovations. At Republican debates, veterans get booed if they’re gay.
Of course, FOX News will spend the next week outraged that a veteran was booed for asking a question at a debate. Seriously, half of Tim Russert’s questions are taken from Republican National Committee blast-faxes. What’s wrong with answering pointed questions? A smart politician who is right on the merits should be able to answer in such a way that they look better for having addressed the issues.
Or they can just have their mindless Uruk-hai followers shout them down. I guess that works too.
The issue wasn’t that he was a Democrat. The issue here was that the general was affiliated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The question was just as valid regardless, but it doesn’t speak well of Anderson Cooper or brigadier general Kerr that they didn’t make any point of disclosing that at the outset (Kerr may have an excuse in that he could claim that there was no requirement to do so, but CNN certainly should have). If an associated of George Bush had managed to get a question in at the Democratic debate and it was later revealed that the person had connections to Bush, the Democrats would be just as unhappy, and rightly so.
You are completely correct that the Republican behavior was unacceptable (and indeed disturbing) but that doesn’t give Kerr, Clinton, or CNN free passes.
yea he was a highly paid consultant to the Clinton machine. involved in formulating and effecting policy at the highest level and was directly instructed by the campaign to attack, harras and demean the republican candidates…
or maybe not. who cares. let’s beat the crap out of him…
(in the media that is)
With respect to the Democratic primary, I wouldn’t care if Karl Rove was asking the questions as long as they were valid questions like General Kerr’s was. The fact that we’re not laughing in the faces of politicians who bitch about having to answer legitimate non-softball questions just tells me how pathetic our electorate is. We clearly deserve these losers if we think that, “Waaa! I had to answer a relevant, thoughtful question from somebody who disagrees with me!” is a legitimate concern for the leader of our democracy.
The General’s affiliate with the Clinton team had no bearing on the question being asked. In fact, it would have damaged his position as everyone would focus on “Oh, he’s a democrat here to make us look bad, let’s hate him.” instead people where forced to actually think. Unfortunately for the General, this is not something the American public likes to do. Thoughts are bad, they cause headaches and make life confusing. It’s a lot easier to just just be a sheep. BAAAAA!