Pretty hard apparently.
I just saw this headline on the Huffington Post:
Clinton Ducks Answer on Whether Homosexuality Is 'Immoral'
In the short article -- part of a blog called "The Caucus" on the New York Times website -- Hillary Clinton is asked if she agrees with General Pace that homosexuality is immoral.
What do you think she answered? "No, I don't agree"?
No, what she answered was: "Well I'm going to leave that to others to conclude."
Thanks, Hillary! Really brave. Really forthright.
How hard would it have been for her to say: "Well, I think it is not immoral, and I know many Americans don't think it is and don't want to interfere with consensual adult behavior. But I understand other people believe other things. I hope in time that will change."
Isn't that probably what she actually thinks? Wouldn't that be taking a stand?
One reason people don't like her -- including some Democrats like me -- is that she seems intolerably calculated. Yes, when she speaks she seems intelligent to me, but she also feels cagey, not really forthright.
Is it time for her to vote for a bill banning flag burning again? Is it time for her daily dance-and-dodge saying why her vote for the war was right at the time given what she knew, so she shouldn't have to say "my vote was wrong"?
Yes, I have some sympathy for those Democrats who voted for the war; the country was so gung-ho and revved up by Bush-Condi-Cheney-Karl and their "Saddam is going to drop a nuclear bomb on us in 10 minutes" chorus that to vote against the war was politically dangerous back then. But it was crystal clear to many of us that we were being manipulated into war, and many Democrats who voted for war took the easy way. So those like John Edwards who now say "it was a mistake" seem smart and honest -- and a relief! - for acknowledging a mistake.
Enough with Hillary. I'm sick of her.
My hopes for Presidential candidate: Al Gore. John Edwards. Barack Obama. Person X. What about a dead person? Can we run Harry Truman?
Reacting to the "why aren't you holding Obama to the same standard" question in several of the comments below.
For starters, sorry... I didn't know that Obama had dodged the same question about General Pace. (I now have seen this article.)
Additionally, I see a report in the Times that says that both Hillary and Obama have come out with follow-up comments.
Hillary amended her statement the next day and said about Pace's comments "I disagree with what he said and do not share his view, plain and simple." Well fine, better than not amending the statement. Though note she still doesn't say it clearly, she doesn't allow herself to be quoted saying "I do not think homosexuality is immoral."
And in the same article it says that "a spokesman for Mr. Obama said last night that the senator disagreed with General Pace's remarks and believed that homosexuality was not immoral." Now that's not a quote. Though the article, at least, makes it sound clearer.
But I think it is true -- I am cutting Obama a little slack because he's new on the scene and has not yet come up with dodge-y answer after dodge-y answser. Hillary has a history of it, and it's seemingly part of her public persona. It's off-putting, and I also think it's one of the things that may make her unelectable no matter how much money she raises.
Obama so far is kind of inspiring... Hillary isn't. That's another reason I'm giving him some slack.
I'd like the Democratic candidate to win. The repetition of Hillary's evasiveness seems to me a problem. She's become like the new, unimproved McCain -- couching remarks for effect. I used to like McCain (back when the media did too) when he sounded honest, and was one of the only Republicans willing to call Bush on some of his awful decisions. Now McCain seems like a Stepford Candidate -- chumming up to Jerry Falwell, disconnected from the country who wants out of this war, etc. etc. And Hillary has always sounded like a Stepford Candidate. Both Hillary and McCain - talking for effect, not from the heart. It's hard to listen to.
In terms of giving Obama slack, note I put Obama after Gore and Edwards in preference. I'm open to him, but it's not a done deal. It's a done deal for me with Gore, if he'd run. And of those already running, I'm interested in Edwards, he has content and ability to connect.
I first posted around 9 a.m. on March 15th. The article about Hillary dodging the question about whether homosexuality was immoral did not mention that Barack Obama had done a similar dodge on the same issue, so I initially didn't know that. So then I wrote the first Addendum.
I'm adding a second addendum because both Hillary and Obama have since put out unambiguous statements saying they do NOT agree with General Pace's belief that homosexuality is immoral.
I am not a one topic voter, by the way. I think Bush-Cheney foreign policy, the catastrophically wrong-headed Iraq War and global warming are all ahead of gay rights in my brain. The first two may, arguably, cause the world to burst into full fledged war, and also both have exponentially made us more vulnerable to terrorism, not less. And the third one may cause the world to come to an end, or in any case make much of the earth uninhabitable, as well as put some of it under water.
However, I do not expect ANY liberal candidate for the Democratic Party to have an issue with thinking homosexual behavior is "immoral." I found Clinton and Obama both dodging it to be off-putting in the extreme.
Here though are the very clear reversals they put out (or, as I'm sure their campaigns would say, "clarifications"):
Hillary's came first, in a statement released at 3 p.m. on March 15, and printed in The Caucus, the New York Times Blog:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton just released this statement on whether homosexuality is immoral, after being pressed by gay rights organizations to clarify her initial remarks.
"I have heard from many of my friends in the gay community that my response yesterday to a question about homosexuality being immoral sounded evasive. My intention was to focus the conversation on the failed don't ask, don't tell policy. I should have echoed my colleague Senator John Warner's statement forcefully stating that homosexuality is not immoral because that is what I believe."
An hour after Hillary's statement, there was a blurb in the same The Caucus detailing what Senator Obama said at 4 p.m.:
The campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are in sync not only on the geopolitical importance of Selma, Ala., but also on the issue of whether homosexuality is moral or not. This afternoon, the Obama campaign released the following statement:
"As the New York Times reported today, I do not agree with General Pace that homosexuality is immoral. Attempts to divide people like this have consumed too much of our politics over the past six years."
I acknowledge that the two candidates amended their first seemingly evasive comments with crystal clear ones. Good for them. Though I still hope Al Gore runs.