I am astounded at how a couple of the leading presidential candidates on the Democratic side have had such a huge problem saying that General Peter Pace was wrong when he said homosexuality is "immoral." Markos has done a great job keeping track of the comments. You can see his posts on Obama's reaction here, and Clinton's non-answer here.
John Edwards was a little more clear, on CNN saying, "I don't share that view."
Shockingly, it was a Republican, John Warner, who was the most forceful, saying, "I respectfully but strongly disagree with the chairman's view that homosexuality is immoral."
Now, I don't for a minute believe that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton have a personal problem with what people do in their bedroom, or who people fall in love with. But, their comments, and even Edwards' somewhat measured response, shows that no matter how much Democrats say they're now ready to be more forthright and proud of who they are, they're still afraid any clear stance on a touchy issue will cost them the election.
Here's a news flash. First, good luck getting the Democratic nomination if you fail to come to the defense of the LGBT community. The Democratic primary voting base is much more progressive than self-identified Democrats at large, and very sensitive to candidates who are mamby-pamby on issues facing what they see as a community that constantly faces unfair discrimination. Second, those voters who put anti-homosexual views at the top of their voting issues will NEVER vote Democratic. By trying to play the middle ground, and not be clear on the issue, you're not going to win any votes, nor is clarity going to cost any votes.
Honestly, I will walk naked down Broadway wearing just a little sombrero on my crotch if Rev. Fred Phelps of "God Hates Fags" decides to endorse Hillary Clinton because she refused to disagree with Peter Pace.
Thankfully for the Democratic candidates, the issue was quickly replaced by the Gonzales scandal, so this is probably going to be nothing more than a blip, when all is said and done. But, bet your bottom dollar that Republicans watched them squirm trying to answer the question, and will do anything to force the issue again. They won't do so to force the Democrats to take a clear position. Actually, quite the opposite. They'll force the issue to show that despite the rhetoric, Democrats are still measured, calculating, and scared. They'll do so to get the Democratic candidates squirming again, to show that Democrats are still very much poll and consultant controlled creatures of Washington.
Unless Democratic candidates speak more clearly, and are more honest about their views, unfortunately that Republican portrayal will ring all too true.