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Santorum Finally Gets Around to Condemning the Booing of an American Soldier, But He Totally Has A Good Excuse For Not Speaking Up Sooner

Jim Burroway

September 23rd, 2011

An entire news cycle has passed since the American people witnessed the spectacle of nine GOP presidential candidates remaining silent while audience members booed an American soldier during last night’s debate. Instead of speaking up against the outburst or even thanking Stephen Hill, who is currently stationed in Iraq, for his service, they stood in stone silence while Sen. Rick Santorum railed against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as “playing social experimentation with our military.” Their silence was all the more remarkable considering their willingness to interrupt each other on other topics throughout the debate.

After nearly a full day of mounting criticisms from the left, the right, and everywhere in between, Santorum finally got around to condemning the booing and, very belatedly, to thank him for his service. But only after he was asked directly about it. Furthermore, there was no hint of an apology for last night’s debacle:

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Megyn Kelly: Now online this is getting a lot of attention, this video question from a gay soldier. I want to ask you not so much about your answer because you and I did that back and forth last night, but I want to ask you about people are now criticizing the audience last night for their reaction when they heard this video question. Let’s play just the video question:

Stephen Hill: … Iraq, I had to lie about who I was because I’m a gay soldier and I didn’t want to lose my job. My question is, under one of your presidencies do you intend to circumvent the progress that’s been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military? [Scattered booing]

Kelly: So there were a couple of boos in the audience. I mean there were five thousand people there. And now some people are criticizing you for not responding to it and Republicans for, you know, booing a gay soldier. Your response?

Santorum: Yeah. Well, I condemn the people who booed that gay soldier. That soldier is serving our country. I thank him for his service to our country. I’m sure he’s doing an excellent job. I hope he’s safe and I hope he returns safely and does his mission well. I have to admit, I seriously did not hear those boos. Had I heard them, I certainly would have commented on them, but, as you know, when you’re in that sort of environment, you’re sort of focused on the question and formulating your answer. I just didn’t hear those couple of boos that were out there, but certainly had I, I would have said that that was… I would have said don’t do that. This man is serving our country and we are to thank him for his service.”

I find his excuse that he didn’t hear the boos incredulous. The videotape shows the loudest booing clearly reverberating throughout the hall. It’s also telling that he was more focused on condemning gay people because of all of the sex, sex, and more frothy sex, that he imagines them having all the time in the barracks, in the showers, and on the parade grounds — and you know how much gay people love a good parade — than he was in undertaking the simple decency of thanking the soldier for his service.

Former Utah Gov. John Hunstman called the booing “unfortunate” last night following the debate, adding, “You know, we’re all Americans, and the fact that he is an American who put on the uniform says something good about him.” It would have been good if he had the courage to say that while still on the dais with the cameras rolling. Meanwhile, seven other GOP presidential candidates have continued their radio silence, both on the booing and their own neglect for thanking an American soldier.

Mark this day as a historic first: for the first time in the history of the Republic, not a single Republican freedom-loving, flag-saluting, allegiance-pledging, birth-certificate-waving patriotic presidential candidate tried to step over everyone else to be the first to thank an American soldier for his service to the country.

Comments

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Sandhorse
September 23rd, 2011 | LINK

It’s days like these that make me ashamed to have what’s becoming a ‘four letter word’ starting with an R on my voters registration. It’s beginning to make me wonder. If the conservative repubs truly believe the thoroughly nonsensical theory that DADT repeal means carefree gay sexcapades will ensue in the barracks, how can I trust them to understand the more complicated nuances of the economy? I’m dangerously close to changing my political affiliation. Sad….

enough already
September 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Color me surprised. Not.

The sad thing about this is how clearly it highlights the true disregard of the Republicans for those serving this country.

cowboy
September 23rd, 2011 | LINK

It’s Jon Huntsman Jr.

I have met the former Governor & Ambassador. He is truly a different kind of Republican. What is surprising to me: my staunch Republican friends are spreading myths and unflattering gossip about Mr. Huntsman because they like Romney better and my DINO friends say they would be hard pressed to re-elect President Obama if Jon Huntsman was on the ballot in 2012.

Jon is far more gay-friendly than the others who were at that debate.

On a personal note: The Huntsman family has donated their billion-dollar fortune to cancer research. It’s probably because of the U of U medical center and the Huntsman Cancer Institute that I have a sibling still alive. So, I’m a little biased.

Until I can stand on a stage and participate in a live televised debate will I make a judgment call. I do think it was lazy of the media to take this much time to react to the booing. Perhaps this will be a talking point on this coming Sunday’s political discussions on the networks.

I applaud Megyn Kelly for pursuing this point until she got a reaction.

Ryan
September 23rd, 2011 | LINK

As loathe as I am to say anything even vaguely nice about Santorum, it’s certainly possible he didn’t hear the boos. For me, his idiotic response to the question, and the fact that all the major Republican candidates agree with him is far more troubling than one or two people booing.

dave
September 24th, 2011 | LINK

An entire news cycle has passed since the American people witnessed the spectacle of nine GOP presidential candidates remaining silent while audience members booed an American soldier during last night’s debate.

This is all we have to lead the country, people like that. You wonder why the country is in the state it’s in. It reflects our leadership.

dave
September 24th, 2011 | LINK

Oh yea, and I’m sure they’ll all profess to be christians. Would Mitt Witt be considered a christian? Are mormons christians?

Priya Lynn
September 24th, 2011 | LINK

Depends on who you ask, Dave.

BlackDog
September 24th, 2011 | LINK

Are you kidding? In my opinion at least, Movement “Conservatives” and Tea Baggers i.e. Right-Wing Reactionaries really hate the military. The military has to deal with reality on a basic level, or people die. The military has tended to be an equalizing factor in American society at least since the Civil War. The military is a mixing pot of pretty much everybody. Your basic (small “c”) conservatives, even Evangelicals and whatnot LOVE the Military for a variety of reasons but the further you get to the hard Right the less this is so.

But they have wrapped themselves up in American Patriotism so they have to put on a face of supporting the Military.

To observe how much the Neoconservatives, the Right-Wingers and (now) Tea Partiers really love the military, observe that in 2005 they were ready to take the axe to the US Military with another BRAC program while it was fighting two wars, and most of it got thrown out because it would’ve cut military infrastructure too deeply and left entire aspects of US forces (B-1B Strategic Bombers and Atlantic Fleet attack submarines especially) concentrated in single locations where they and/or their crews could easily be wiped out by a WMD attack.

The way Antigay activists have demeaned the military all through the DADT debate by saying it somehow could not stand up to the challenge of facing ONE MORE group of Americans being fully integrated into it is equally telling.

Actions speak louder than words in most cases…but in this case the words are pretty fuckin’ loud.

cowboy
September 24th, 2011 | LINK

Are mormons christians?

Do we really care? It shouldn’t matter.

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