Profiles in the precise opposite of courage

In the wake of General Peter Pace's moralizing on homosexuals and morality, we have this courageous stance by Presidential candidate Democratic Senator Barack Obama:

On Wednesday, Newsday repeatedly asked Obama if same-sex relationships were immoral.

"I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters," said Obama, leaving Capitol Hill. "That's probably a good tradition to follow."

He turned the conversation to opposition to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy: "I think the question here is whether somebody is willing to sacrifice for their country."

Later, an Obama spokesman said the senator, in fact, disagrees with Pace.

Identical fortitude was displayed by presidential candidate Democratic Senator Hilary Clinton:

That sequence was remarkably similar to Clinton's responses Tuesday. When an ABC reporter asked her about the issue, she replied, "Well, I am going to leave that to others to conclude."

Later, a Clinton spokesman said the senator, in fact, also disagrees with Pace.

At least their spokesmen seem to have some stones, eh?

As The Heretik would doubtless say: damn Dems.

In contrast, we have decidedly non-presidential candidate former Republican Senator Alan Simpson:

Since 1993, I have had the rich satisfaction of knowing and working with many openly gay and lesbian Americans, and I have come to realize that 'gay' is an artificial category when it comes to measuring a man or woman's on-the-job performance or commitment to shared goals. It says little about the person.

Maybe you can afford to be more of a statesman when you're retired, or at least not aspiring for higher office. Maybe the Democratic candidates are just gutless panderers at heart. You decide.

Makes one wonder what John Edwards - or his spokesman - has to say on the subject.

Addendum: No need to wonder about Edwards when we have his exchange with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room:

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.

BLITZER: I know you've wrestled, because you've said it on several occasions, with the issue of gay marriage.

Tell our viewers whether or not you've come to some sort of firm conclusion whether you support the notion of gay marriage.

EDWARDS: I don't personally support it. But I very strongly support the idea of ending discrimination, of civil unions, of having substantive rights for partners. I think those rights are, in fact, civil rights, and I also might add, I don't think it's the -- it's the role of the government, the federal government, to tell churches what -- what marriages they should bless.

BLITZER: Well, what about in civil ceremonies? What's wrong, in other words -- why are you wrestling with the issue of gay marriage?

EDWARDS: Oh, just because of my own personal life and the culture and the place in which I grew up. It's -- I feel internal conflict about it. And to be perfectly candid about it, it's an issue that I continue to struggle with.

And I -- I think I am like a lot of Americans. I don't -- I want to end discrimination in this country. I want gay and lesbian couples to be treated fairly and with respect and with -- and with dignity.

And -- and I am very troubled about the idea that any president would impose their personal cultural beliefs on the country.

Edwards got there, and without a spokesman. Good for him.


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