Monthly Archives: April 2010

It sucks being a blogger when you have nothing to say.

I’ve posted with less and less regularity lately. It’s not that nothing’s going on. To the contrary, there’s been more news lately than we’ve seen in some months, and while there’s no shortage of subject matter, I’m just at a loss for words.

I suppose the biggest source of this malaise is personal. I usually try to keep that off the blog, but life is coming at me from several directions right now. A cousin, one whose reaction I most keep in mind when writing this blog, died a few months ago in an unexpected and tragic accident. The pastor I’ve bragged about in the past is leaving my local church. Friends have disappointed me. Work’s dried up.

We all live in peaks and valleys. Until I get out of my current valley, please bear with my erratic posting schedule and check out the blogroll at the bottom of the page. There’s some really good links to keep you up to date.

Also, if you usually read posts in an RSS reader, pop on over to the site. I’ve done some major remodeling and wouldn’t mind hearing some reactions to it. (Not quite finished, by the way. Still have to find a color for that big teal asterisk up in the corner.)

CONFIRMED: Obama Won’t Push DADT Repeal in 2010

The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld finally got Obama Spokesman Robert Gibbs to confirm what we’ve known for several months.

Despite indications (not promises, just indications) to the contrary, President Obama will not push Congress to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell until after the Pentagon’s study on how it would enact repeal is finished. That study is not due until after mid-term elections this November, and it’s important to note that nobody expects the Democratic majority to hold. Some are even predicting that Republicans will take over the majority in the House.

The President isn’t interested in DADT repeal until December 1, 2010 at the very earliest, and the possibility of DADT repeal being debated, submitted, and voted on in both the House and Senate in the six weeks between December 1 and the start of the new session in January is exactly nil.

All of this despite the fact that congressional sources indicate that we have the votes in the House and are only a few away in the Senate. All of this despite the fact that according to every scientific poll taken in the last year, a ridiculous majority of Americans across most segments of the population (including conservatives) think DADT should be repealed. All of this despite the obvious fact that the most likely shot at repeal comes with its inclusion in the defense authorization bill to be released in May.

The bottom line is that President Obama doesn’t want DADT repeal to be an issue in this year’s congressional elections, and that in 2012’s presidential election, DADT is more valuable to him intact than it is repealed. Campaigns in somewhat conservative districts won’t be bothered with having voted for LGBT rights this year, improving the Democrats’ chances this November.

Then he begins his 2012 presidential campaign, in which he points at the Republicans who kept DADT repeal from happening in 2011-2012, having mitigated 2010’s conservative district problem with the national scope. He’ll be able to agree with most Americans that DADT should be repealed, making it either a non-issue or a positive issue in his campaign. He gets the gay vote with the same strategy he used in 2008. If he gets reelected, he can get to DADT sometime in his second term or not, depending on the makeup of Congress in 2013.

It’s a cynical strategy to be sure, but it’s the one I think he’s going with.

And he wonders why we’re hollerin’. (And will continue hollerin’. We aren’t going down without a fight.)

Six Arrested in Second DADT White House Protest

Many people thought that GetEqual would let the dust settle after Monday night’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protest in California. Many people were wrong. Oh, how they were wrong.

Tuesday afternoon, Lt. Dan Choi and Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo, who cuffed themselves to the White House fence in protest of DADT, were joined on the fence by four other veterans.

From left to right, the six servicemembers were Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen (Trans advocate and Pam’s House Blend barista), Lt. Choi, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Cpt. Pietrangelo, Cadet Mara Boyd, and Petty Officer Larry Whitt. These six servicemembers represent all branches of military service. (GetEqual grand poo-bah Robin McGehee is below on the right.)

This was a peaceful and relatively small protest, but the DC Park Police went absolutely nuts, closed the park, pushing the crowd of mostly tourists and the media back several blocks, much further than is customary. It was really nervous-making for a bit there; historically, bad things happen when governments prevent reporters from covering anti-government protests. Fortunately, John Aravosis of Americablog.com was present to film the pushback.

While the crowd and the press were being pushed back, officers began arresting the protesters. Three were gone before the media were let back in, with Lt. Choi and the other two arrested shortly thereafter.

Park Police spokesman Sergeant David Schlosser later fell on his sword for the action, blaming rookies in the force for making the decision. I have to say, it’s surprising to hear that rookies are guarding the White House and making major decisions like this in such a sensitive area. And I don’t see anybody who looks rookie-age in the video above.

Huh.

At any rate, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs addressed the police issue on Wednesday. (I’ll get to the rest of his comments in another post.)

Okay, so back to the protesters. Like last time, they were held overnight. (Does anybody know if that’s customary in DC? I have a hard time believing that it is.) They were arraigned Wednesday, with Sandeen, Thomas, Boyd, and Whitt being released and their cases closed under a “post and forfeit” agreement.

Choi and Pietrangelo were arraigned separately because of last month’s offense, and after sorting out a stay-away order, the judge set their trial on both offenses for July 16, 2010.

Metro Weekly‘s Chris Geidner posted these brief comments from several of the servicemembers outside the courtroom.

So was the protest successful? I think so. The issue is being talked about, and it’s definitely on the President’s radar now. People are asking why the President is absent on DADT repeal this year when he was so adamant about it in January.

Between the pressure of the California protest directly to President Obama and the DC protest at the White House, the President’s script is being questioned and it has become less politically savvy to ignore LGBT rights. I don’t think we’re there yet, not by a long shot, but we’re quite a bit closer than we were Monday morning.

As for Lt. Choi, he’s back in New York for Army training this weekend.

Details and Insights on Monday’s DADT Protest

On Tuesday, I posted video of a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protest (planned by GetEqual) with an open letter to President Obama. I encourage you to read the letter, but today I’ll be sharing some details from two of the protesters.

As a refresher, here’s video of what happened on April 19, 2010:

Ever since I saw that video, I’ve wondered what happened to the protester that President Obama invited to the stage. Surely she wouldn’t refuse the invitation, right? Right!

Turns out that the protester in question was Zoe Nicholson. Here’s part of what she said on her blog after the event.

Zoe Nicholson before the protest
Zoe Nicholson before the protest
The boom of my voice was enormous. The whole room stopped, including the President. I had never heard myself be so loud. Clearly it would not be drown out by the people in my vicinity who started telling me to shut up. I just kept going. After several repetitions, the President look straight back to me and said, if you have so much to say, then come up here and say it. I said out loud yes, lifted my right hand as if to part the crowd and make my way.

Funny thing, I actually would have been more comfortable on the stage than in the crowd. I was relieved and all my facts were streaming through my mind about what I wanted to tell him. As I made a ten foot advance I felt two men in black suits take my elbows in tow. It wasn’t mean, it wasn’t aggressive just certain, with purpose and they knew that I was not going to resist their about face.

Another of the protesters, Laura Kanter, had this to say on her blog.

Laura Kanter before the protest
Laura Kanter before the protest
I could care less about getting attention; I wish someone else would have stepped up and done this – believe me. It was a very very difficult decision and I was well aware of the consequences. And there are and will be many.

I respect President Obama and I hope he will be re-elected, because he, through his courage, and by standing up, has inspired me to do the same. But he is about to leave the language to repeal DADT out of the defense bill – and then how much longer will our LGBT brothers and sisters have to serve in secrecy or simply be denied the right to serve?

Obama can handle our heckling, but the LGBT youth and others coming to terms with their sexuality are still suffering the slings and arrows of discriminatory policies like DADT that reinforce the idea that being anything other than straight is wrong, bad, evil, less than.

Thanks to all of Monday’s protestors (Laura, Zoe, David John Fleck, Dan Fotou, and Michelle Wright) for speaking out and getting the President’s attention!

(Photos via GetEqual on flickr.)

Regarding DADT: An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

President Obama:

We waited with hope when you campaigned on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

We waited with confusion when your administration defended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

We waited with skepticism when in your State of the Union you called Congress to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

We waited with frustration after your Justice Department directly contradicted you on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

And now, as anonymous White House staffers and members of Congress tell us that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal will have to wait another year or two or three, we have one thing to say.

We aren’t waiting anymore.

You’re used to the Human Rights Campaign doing what you say, I know. To be honest, I don’t blame you for that, Mr. President. Someone once told me that we teach people how to treat us, and HRC has taught you that we’re willing to be led down the primrose path.

But yesterday you were faced with the truth: We want the civil rights guaranteed to all Americans, and we’re done waiting. As citizens we expect you to lead on this issue.

That’s why we’re “hollering” at you, by the way. As you know from the health care debate, this difficult vote won’t happen without your leadership.

Mr. President, my earnest and heartfelt hope is that you begin to understand that neither your script nor your political time line are important to us. Our concerns are greater than your politics. We want you to do the right thing because it’s the right thing.

Not when it’s safe; it’ll never be safe. Not when it’s easy; it’ll never be easy.

NOW.

Only when you’ve done that can we accept you as the trustworthy ally you’ve claimed to be. We don’t want to be your enemy, Mr. President, and we are eager for the day when we can stand with you again.

Yours in esteem and expectation,

Matthew D. Algren
Just some fag who wants you to care.


Thanks to Lt. Dan Choi and the good folks at GetEqual for kicking us back into gear. We owe you one.

Thanks to RealClearPolitics for the video. Make it embeddable next time and I won’t have to rip it.

Lutheran Church to LGBTs: You Are Welcome In Worship, Service, and Ministry!

lutheran-logoThe Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has taken its final step in the long journey to full corporate LGBT inclusion. You may remember that the General Assembly approved policy changes last August to include lesbian and gay Lutherans in their churches and their ministries. Following another required round of voting by the Church Council on April 11, those changes have now taken effect.

Incoming Soulforce director Rev. Dr. Cindi Love explained the developments today on the Huffington Post:

Rev. Dr. Cindi Love
Rev. Dr. Cindi Love
After twenty-five years of deliberation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Church Council has abolished its anti-gay policies, effective immediately. Following from discussions at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly last summer, the ELCA will now allow people in same-sex relationships to serve as rostered leaders. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) human beings are no longer considered abominations but blessed church members with full standing. Same-sex partners and families can now fully participate in the ELCA Pension Plan.

Best of all, the ELCA is reinstating people who were removed from ministry positions because they were truthful and came out of the closet, as well as those who conducted holy unions for non-heterosexual couples. The ELCA has practiced restorative justice.

I’m particularly grateful to the ELCA for adding restoration to its reforms. My colleague, Rev. Paul W. Egerston, faithfully pastored and served as Bishop in the Lutheran church for 31 years. He resigned one month before the end of his term in 2001. Why? He ordained a lesbian as a Pastor and took a public stand for justice in opposition to the official anti-gay policy of the ELCA. Now, Paul and his wife, Shirley, and their six children, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren can take a day off. I believe that through the ELCA’s restoration, God has sent them a message, “Well done, my good and faithful servants.”

For decades, Lutheran LGBT advocacy groups have been working to get this done. Quoting very briefly from two statements, beginning with Lutherans Concerned:

The ELCA has reached two milestones long sought by the movement for full inclusion. First, it has eliminated all prohibitions against qualified people in a same-gender relationship serving on the ELCA’s roster of ministers. Second, and more importantly, it created a pathway that frees the gifts of ELCA members to pursue ministry and mission with new vigor. Each of these steps is crucial for both our continued healing and our bold walk into a more just future.

Since the August decision to change policy, we have heard from many of you that it feels as though celebration is “stuck in our throats.” Verily, the time has come to clear our throats. Currently, censures are being lifted from congregations, for which we can celebrate. Soon, we will start to see pastors received and reinstated across the whole church. By the time we gather together in Minneapolis at Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters, we will be ready to shout out in holy joy! We hope that you can join us in July to add your voice to the chorus of people singing praise and thanksgiving to God.

And from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.

Twenty years ago two ELCA congregations, St. Francis Lutheran Church and First United Lutheran Church, broke with ELCA policy to call an openly gay man, Jeff Johnson, and two openly lesbian women, Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart. The actions of these congregations and pastors began a movement now known as Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Their vision has made it possible for dozens of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to follow a call to ministry. It is a joyful time in the church as the ELCA opens wider its doors to the fullness of God’s creation.

We express gratitude for the congregations and individuals who have long supported gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pastors during times when they were punished and alienated for doing so and for those who continued to follow a call to ministry despite incredible barriers. We give thanks for the Goodsoil Legislative Team, Lutherans Concerned/North America, the voting members of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, staff, Church Council, Conference of Bishops and the leadership of Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson.

We give thanks to God and pray that one day all may find that the doors of the ELCA are open wide to them.

Finally, we return to Dr. Love’s article for a final thought.

The ELCA press release about the decision reads:

These actions are important because they are a major milestone along the journey of full inclusion. We have a policy that recognizes the gifts of its members […] and that will allow the return of those who have been removed or alienated […]. [There will] be new life in the church through new leaders. […] [W]e have lifted up crucial questions for the church: What is the relationship of sexuality to salvation in Christ? What is the diversity in God’s wondrous creation? What is sinful? […] Who continues to face barriers to ministry and mission? How do we journey together faithfully, in spite of so many differences? What some people have dismissed as a narrow issue has both opened up and profoundly deepened our moral and theological life.

Amazing. It sounds like the Lutherans think LGBTQ people have helped them get closer to God. A great truth has been realized today that Jesus Christ demonstrated throughout His ministry 2000 years ago. It is not blasphemous to include and embrace the prayers and relationships and service of those outside society’s gate. In fact, it’s a blessing.

Thank you ELCA for reaffirming the entire mission of the Christian Church. The rest of us have a lot of work left to do, and we can now look not only to the example of the Episcopal Church, but to yours as well.

It’s a good day to be a Christian.

Gainesville, FL Westboro Wannabe Releases “Thanks Mom for not being a Homo” Video

Here’s a stealth hate video disguised as a Mother’s Day video, uploaded to youtube on April 11, 2010. The real message doesn’t appear until 00:40. (Language NSFW)

I’m stunned that they’re using kids to spread such a divisive and hateful message, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re competing with Westboro and Fred Phelps.

A few weeks ago, Gainesville, Florida’s “Dove World Outreach Center” put up a “No Homo Mayor” sign. It was a response to Craig Lowe, a gay man, running for mayor. When people complained about the sign, pastor Wayne Sapp made the following video. It was removed by Youtube for compliance issues, but someone saved and posted it elsewhere.

(Again, language NSFW)

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/g9FTgdCaWwI width=”480″ height=”350″]

The Gainesville Sun is reporting this afternoon that the automatic recount from the election has been completed, with Craig Lowe winning by a 42 votes, a 0.3% margin.

Interested to see what pastor Sapp would have to say, I looked up his youtube channel and found nothing new. But with a little Encyclopedia Brown detective work, I found Sapp’s new youtube channel. And that’s when I found the Mother’s Day Homo video.

(I also found some videos from one of the kids in the new video, but out of respect for his age I’m not posting them. Let’s just say that he’s clearly been brought up on pastor Sapp’s rhetoric.)

Congratulations to Mayor-elect Lowe and the voters of Gainesville, Florida for standing up to hate. I hope you’re up to continuing the fight.

Obama Orders Hospital Visitation for LGBT Couples; Janice Langbehn Reacts

Last September, I wrote about Lisa Pond, a woman who was forced to die alone because the hospital she was taken to after collapsing on vacation wouldn’t let her 18-year partner or their children into the room, even though they had all the legal documents providing her partner the rights that straight married people take for granted.

Lisa Marie Pond 1967 - 2007
Lisa Marie Pond
1967 - 2007
It’s a tough story, and one people care a lot about. That post is by far the most linked, most visited, and most commented on this blog. And it’s no wonder; keeping people away from their loved ones as they breathe their last breath is something that we all know is wrong, even if U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan says it’s okay.

So it’s a relief to be able to say that starting now, under the direction of President Barack Obama, any hospital that receives federal funding (including Medicare and Medicaid) is required to allow people to designate visitors regardless of legal relationship. Here’s the money quote from the president’s memorandum:

It should be made clear that designated visitors, including individuals designated by legally valid advance directives (such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies), should enjoy visitation privileges that are no more restrictive than those that immediate family members enjoy. You should also provide that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Here is the remainder of the presidential memorandum:

Janice Langbehn, Lisa’s partner, has been fighting for patient rights since Lisa’s death. Janice was on Anderson Cooper 360 Thursday night to give her reaction to the president’s action today, and said that President Obama actually called her this afternoon (from Air Force I, no less) before releasing the memorandum. Here’s the segment of the show:

[edit: Video has since been removed. Sorry.]

We owe Janice Langbehn such a debt of gratitude. Her tireless efforts on behalf of LGBT families was unquestionably instrumental to President Obama’s action Thursday.

This is a huge step forward in the pursuit of simple human decency. But at the risk of finding the dark cloud inside this silver lining, two points:

  1. This is a presidential memorandum, not an executive order. As we learned with last year’s memorandum on LGBT federal employee benefits (which haven’t yet materialized, by the way), the legal foundation for these new regulations disappears as soon as President Obama leaves office. A new memorandum by the next president will be necessary to ensure that these regulations stay in place.
  2. President Obama has made a habit of going after the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to LGBT rights. This is an easy sell that everyone can relate to, but the harder paradigm-shifting battles like repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act continue to languish, with the president actually arguing against civil rights in some cases.

But put that in your pocket for the moment. Thank you Mr. President for showing the compassion and reason, as well as the leadership, to keep families together at such difficult times in their lives.

Jennifer Knapp Comes Out, Releases First Mainstream Album

I heard the exciting news yesterday that retired Christan singer Jennifer Knapp has come out of the closet as a lesbian and will release Letting Go, her first mainstream album, in May. For the uninitiated, Knapp’s music has a Melissa Etheridge quality, both in her voice and in the folk rock vibe that comes with it.

Like I said, exciting news. Exciting to hear her voice again, exciting to hear it broadcast to a larger audience, and most of all exciting to hear her speak and sing so eloquently of personal integrity.

I’ll have some of Knapp’s interview with The Advocate further down the page, but first a bit of her interview with extraordinarily rude Christianity Today interviewer Mark Moring to discuss why she left, why she’s back, and why she came out. Kudos to her for not knocking Moring’s block off. (Aside of his borderline offensive questions and persistence, Moring starts his article by using the term “lifestyle choice”. Ugh.)

New album available May 11. Pre-order yours now!
New album available May 11. Pre-order yours now!

The exchange I’m quoting here quite literally made me cheer when I read it. Moring starts in with the ex-gay script (It’s always framed in terms of a “struggle” and they change the terms from identity to “same-sex attraction”.) and she parries quite elegantly.

Moring: Have you been with the same partner for a long time?

Knapp: About eight years, but I don’t want to get into that. For whatever reason the rumor mill [about me being gay] has persisted for so long, I wanted to acknowledge; I don’t want to come off as somebody who’s shirking the truth in my life. At the same time, I’m intensely private. Even if I were married to a man and had six children, it would be my personal choice to not get that kind of conversation rolling.

Moring: I understand. But I’m curious: Were you struggling with same-sex attraction when writing your first three albums? Those songs are so confessional, clearly coming from a place of a person who knows her need for grace and mercy.

Knapp: To be honest, it never occurred to me while writing those songs. I wasn’t seeking out a same-sex relationship during that time.

During my college years, I received some admonishment about some relationships I’d had with women. Some people said, “You might want to renegotiate that,” even though those relationships weren’t sexual. Hindsight being 20/20, I guess it makes sense. But if you remove the social problem that homosexuality brings to the church—and the debate as to whether or not it should be called a “struggle,” because there are proponents on both sides—you remove the notion that I am living my life with a great deal of joy. It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a “struggle.”

The struggle I’ve had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I’ve been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I’ve always approached my faith. I still consider my hope to be a whole human being, to be a person of love and grace. So it’s difficult for me to say that I’ve struggled within myself, because I haven’t. I’ve struggled with other people. I’ve struggled with what that means in my own faith. I have struggled with how that perception of me will affect the way I feel about myself.

As I mentioned, Jennifer Knapp also sat down with The Advocate for a much friendlier article.

Knapp no longer feels like being gay and being Christian are in opposition, even if others do. “I’m quite comfortable to live with parts of myself that don’t make sense to you,” she says. She acknowledges that such peace is hard-won in her community. “I keep running across people living closeted, who have literally chosen one or the other,” Knapp marvels. And she knows she risks losing some of her biggest fans when word of her sexuality goes public. “I think it’s going to be shocking and feel like a betrayal to some people who live their spiritual lives through the music they listen to,” says Knapp. That’s part of why she’s decided to come out in advance of the record — she doesn’t want people to love her music and then discover that their own values won’t let them sing along full-throated.

Ultimately, though, the risk is worth it. For Knapp, coming out means the chance to live honestly, to be “wholly myself.” She’s uncomfortable with the idea that she might be a political figure or a flash point for debates in the Christian music community. Then she recounts some of the e-mail she’s received from fans during her shadowed absence from the stage. Some have been full of righteous anger at the thought that she might be a lesbian. Others have urged her to “unfurl the banner,” as she says, to come out and lead a revolution among gay Christians. But then there’s the e-mail Knapp receives from a young fan asking, if she is a lesbian, to please come out: “That would help me feel less alone.” Over the free-ranging hour we’ve spent together, it’s the first time Knapp’s voice cracks. No matter how personal her transformation might be, telling the world is inescapably, publicly important.

Jennifer Knapp is currently touring with Derek Webb (who I’ve previously applauded for his anti-anti-gay message) for a few more weeks, and will be touring with the Lilith Fair tour this summer.

John McCain Throws ANOTHER Tantrum Over DADT

Uh-oh. Looks like a reporter pissed off Old Man McCain again. I suppose we should be glad he didn’t call anybody a cunt this time.

Senator McCain’s latest tantrum came during an interview with the Arizona Star. While discussing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he acknowledges that “There are no nuances in [his] opinion” and says that can’t figure out why he would talk to gay servicemembers about the impact of the prejudicial law on military service.

I’m not kidding. He actually says those things.

But let’s get to the tantrum first.

McCain blew a gasket when the Arizona Star editor tried to make sense of McCain’s previously stated “personal opinion” business with Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen:

McCAIN: He said it was his personal opinion.

STAR: Well, he did. But he also appeared in uniform. And it’s a little hard to parse when the joint chiefs appear in front of the United States Senate committee and says “It’s my personal opinion that.”

McCAIN: What about when the commandant of the Marine Corps said he is opposed to it? What about when the chief of staff of the Army said we’ve got to go slow on this? What about when the chief of staff of the Air Force said I’m very worried about an abrupt change in policy and that we have to have a thorough review? What about all of those people?

STAR: Well maybe that was just their personal opinion.

McCAIN: No, no. It wasn’t their personal opinion. It was their professional opinion. It was Admiral Mullen’s personal opinion. All these other guys I just mentioned, that was their professional opinion.

STAR: I’m just saying when he appears in his uniform to speak, I don’t think most Americans get invited to give their personal opinions before the Armed Services Committee wearing their uniform and appearing as the head of the joint chiefs.

McCAIN: I guess all I can do is repeat myself. He said and emphasized that it was his personal opinion. Every other one of the service chiefs have said we need a thorough and complete review before we change the policy. And polls have shown that members of the military don’t want to change a policy because they think it’s working.

STAR: There’s also been a generational shift, I think, too, in terms of what younger members say and what …

McCAIN: There may have been, there may not have been. But we need a thorough and complete review. I mean, how many times do I have to give you my opinion?

If you want to have a debate about this issue, I’ll be glad to have a debate with you. I thought I came here to tell you my positions on the issues. I’m serious here. I would be glad to have an open and public debate with you on this issue. But I thought that I came here in order to tell you my positions on issues so that you can judge whether I should be re-elected or not or whatever opinions you may form.

And it went on from there.

You aren't fooling anybody with that comb over.
You aren't fooling anybody with that comb over.

But that wasn’t McCain’s only moment of embarrassing absurdity in the interview. Here are some snippets with my witty commentary throughout. (More at the link.)

STAR: …I’m wondering if you’ve been approached by gay service members because you said that it’s been working effectively, it’s been working well. So I’m curious how do you come to that conclusion? Have you sought out gay service members, have you been approached by gay service members? How do you make that determination?

McCAIN: I make that determination by retention and recruitment is at an all-time high, the highest in the history of the all-volunteer force. I get that opinion because I visit with the troops all the time. I go to Iraq, I go to Afghanistan, I run into them everywhere. And of course I don’t seek out someone who is gay. Why should I? These are all men and women who are serving. Why should I, that would be nuts. I go up to men and women and I say thanks for serving. I say thank you for serving, you are great Americans, God bless you.

Yes, Senator, it would be nuts to talk to the people DADT has affected the most. What a ridiculous idea!

Quick note on military recruitment and retention: McCain is right that they’re pretty high right now. Two problems with his point, though: 1) Retention and recruitment are always higher during an economic recession, and we’re in a pretty big one, and 2) according to a study released January 2010 by the US Army War College, retention is still a problem even with cash incentives because the Armed Forces are targeting quantity of officers over quality of officers.

So really, recent success is in spite of DADT rather than because of it. Doing away with DADT could help retain a higher quality of officer (see: Maj. Margaret Witt, Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach) instead of just filling slots like they are now.

But why let facts get in the way of the party line? Okay, back to it:

McCAIN: … by any objective view, our military is the most professional, best equipped, best trained, most highest (sic) quality that it’s ever been.

Let’s assume McCain’s statement is true. Wouldn’t the most professional military ever be able to handle honest lesbians and gay men in their ranks? I mean, seriously, I’d expect the most highest quality military to understand that who you’re attracted to has nothing to do with proficiency on the field of combat.

STAR: If those things are going well, could they be better if the policy was changed?

McCAIN: That’s why we need to review the policy and find out what the effect is on the military and their battle effectiveness. That’s why we need an extensive review and listen to the commandant of the Marine Corps who says it should not be repealed. Listen to the men and women in the field, listen to the families of those who are serving rather than fulfill a campaign promise.

Now the reason why the president declared this is because it was a campaign promise, not because our military is hurting, not because we’re having difficulties in the military.

Ooh, somebody’s still smarting from the whooping he got in 2008.

But hang on a second, I just noticed something. Back up at the first quote I pulled, McCain said that no way should he listen to people in the military. Now he says it’s essential to hear from…

Oh, wait a minute. I get it. McCain wants to listen to the straight soldiers but not the gay ones.

Nice.