Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Jan. 18, 2000 /11 Shevat, 5760

Don Feder

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard



GOP's tell-as-little-as-possible policy -- HERE'S HOW GAY ISSUES will play out in this year. Democrats will skillfully exploit them. Republicans will studiously avoid them.

An article in the Jan. 10 Wall Street Journal ("Presidential Candidates Embrace Gay Issues, Donations") argued that gays are a significant voting bloc and a major source of contributions. Given this clout and increasing public acceptance, the Journal explained, both parties are courting the constituency.

In reality, despite two decades of cultural pleading, the public remains uncomfortable with the lifestyle. Still, Republicans have been successfully intimidated into something approaching silence.

Take the latest jousting on gays in the military. Both Vice President Al Gore and challenger Bill Bradley want them to serve openly.

Gore said he would only appoint a chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who thought this was a swell idea. When it was pointed out that he would thereby exclude American heroes Colin Powell and Norman Schwartzkopf, Gore retreated.

Sen. John McCain responded that any idiot committed to choosing a chairman of the joint chiefs who's wedded to a social agenda isn't qualified for the presidency.

But McCain has met with the gay Log Cabin Republicans and accepted their financial support. Bush declined such a meeting, not on principle (he has few) but because it would aggravate his conservative supporters.

When asked if he would appoint gays to his administration, the governor says an individual's "sexual orientation" doesn't concern him. But what if a potential appointee is open about conduct condemned by the Bible Bush waives about when it's convenient?

McCain and Bush have endorsed the military's don't ask, don't tell policy, but won't elaborate on their stand. Neither has the courage to say that service by un-closeted homosexuals would devastate the armed forces.

Not so Carl E. Mundy, ex-commandant of the Marine Corps. In a Dec. 17, 1999, New York Times piece, Mundy wrote, "It is a simple fact that the presence of avowed homosexuals in a military organization is fundamentally incompatible with good order and discipline," because the young men and women who serve are drawn from a society that believes "gays and lesbians are beyond the mainstream of American culture." You will never hear such candor from a Republican presidential candidate.

The media have convinced them that to address such issues honestly would mark them as hate-mongers.

So, while Democrats shamelessly pander to the homosexual lobby -- in a Sept 14, 1999, interview in The Advocate (a gay publication), Gore stopped just short of asking for Barney Frank's phone number -- Republicans let the pro-morality vote slip through their fingers.

Even GOP leaders with their noses buried in stock-market pages should realize that the public passionately rejects this mortal challenge to Judeo-Christian values. That's why activists invariably resort to the courts to mandate policies they could never get from the electorate.

Clinton learned this the hard way. In 1993, when he tried to overturn the military ban, the congressional switchboard was swamped with protest calls, and legislators mobilized to block the move. Don't ask, don't tell was the compromise that came out of that episode.

Under the threat of a state court legislating gay marriage, in 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act by a lopsided margin. Clinton took one look at polls and signed the bill as quietly as possible.

Under various guises, gay rights has been on six statewide ballots since the early '90s. Pro-family forces won five.

Opinion surveys show two-thirds think we've gone too far on gay rights (Newsweek), a two-to-one margin opposes gay adoption (Gallup) and 64 percent believe sthe Boy Scouts have a right to exclude homosexual leaders (Wirthlin).

California will have a same-sex marriage ban on its March primary ballot.

Golden State Republicans are tearing their hair trying to figure out a way to attract Hispanic voters. By not pushing the referendum, the GOP is missing an ideal opportunity to appeal to resolutely pro-family Latinos.

Obsessed with 1040 forms, Republicans will once again throw away the morality vote.

On the gay agenda, they've adopted a tell-as-little-as-possible policy. If pressed really hard, they'll say where they stand -- but only in the vaguest terms, while frantically signaling their tolerance.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest book is Who's Afraid of the Religious Right. Comment on his column by clicking here.

Don Feder Archives

© 2000, Creators Syndicate