Log Cabin and the McLaughlin Group
Excerpts from this weekend's "McLaughlin Group":
"Question: Is this homosexual-to-heterosexual campaign, plus Trent Lott's assertions that homosexuality is an addiction and a sin, is this all an attempt to elevate homosexuals -- homosexuality to a high profile, perhaps fulcrum level of issue in this November's election and in the year 2000 election, do you think, Jay Carney?"
MR. CARNEY (TIME MAGAZINE): Well, John, I think that two things are at work here. The social conservative forces in this country, which have a very powerful role to play in the Republican Party, have felt ignored by the Republican leadership in the Congress. They've been pushing all this year for more attention, and this is one way that they're getting the attention of the Republican leadership. And Trent Lott's comments come in the context of that. However, I think that they push this issue at their peril, because even while the public may be undecided or decidedly ambivalent about, or mixed about whether or not they believe homosexuality's a sin or not, what issues like this do is crystalize in the public the opinion or the fear that the Republican Party is intolerant. And intolerance casts the Republican Party as a minority party.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you feel about this, I ask you, Larry Kudlow, bearing in mind that there's a lot of homosexuality taught today in the social circles not only of conservatives but among others; namely, that it's an alternative lifestyle, something that straights should accept as normal? We've heard about Disney sponsorship of the show, "Ellen," and the gay days at Disneyland, which have triggered the Southern Baptist boycott. These are all issues on the policy agenda.
How do you feel about this as a high-profile issue in the November election?
MR. KUDLOW (NATIONAL REVIEW): Well, I agree with the tag end of what Jay said. I think it's a non-starter. I think it's a bad political strategy. And I think it throws off a sense of hatred and intolerance. And I think all of that is wrong, and I think all of that will hurt the Republican Party if they go down that road.....
Question: Is the Clinton-Gore support for gays politically-driven, or is it principle -- that's L-E -- principle-driven?
I ask you, Eleanor Clift?
MS. CLIFT (NEWSWEEK): Well, Bill Clinton came out of the Civil Rights movement. Al Gore, certainly his father was a very strong voice in the South on Civil Rights. I think this is a modern day civil rights movement. And Bill Clinton and Al Gore are where 75 percent of the American people are; they don't want gay people discriminated against.
And when you talk about changing people through Christ, I'm sure you can find some people who that has happened to and for whom it is true. But to then suggest that all homosexuals, through some lack of discipline, lack of religion, are somehow leading an abnormal life I think is totally, totally wrong.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, don't you think that gays and lesbians are captive voters of the Democratic Party and Clinton-Gore?
MR. BUCHANAN (CNN): No, I think the -- many of the militant and outspoken homosexuals, for whom it is the key issue, are very much Clinton-Gore. But I'm sure there are many gays that support conservatives and Republicans.
But, John, let me say this. Look, homosexuality is two things. You mentioned one of them. It is an orientation, and then there is the behavior. Because people have free will, they can certainly change their behavior. Now, can they change their orientation? They clearly can curb it and get married and have children. But -- and I'll have to say it -- like alcoholism, that tendency remains within.
But what the -- I think what the Family Research Council is doing is right. And I think it's unfair to Trent Lott. He merely responded to a question by Armstrong Williams on his show about his beliefs.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think it's a brilliant reconciliation on the part of conservatives? On the one hand they regard homosexuality as an abomination. On the other hand, they have love for Christians. So they combine that with this; you can convert yourself through prayer, through religion --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right. ........
MR. KUDLOW: .....There's a strong Log Cabin group in the Republican Party that believes in free markets and low taxes and the rest, and it would be a terrific mistake if we alienated --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And they're gay? They're gay?
MR. KUDLOW: They are gay, and it would be a big mistake if we alienated them......
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out very quickly. Where is there more political pay dirt on this issue; with Clinton-Gore courting gays, or with Trent Lott lecturing them? Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, gay bashing is no good, but if Al Gore's going to run around and say "I do more for gay rights than anybody else," that's not going to be his campaign message.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, where is there the more political pay dirt?
MS. CLIFT: On the side of tolerance, which is where the Democrats are, and not the Republicans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. CARNEY: It helps the Republicans in '98, a low-turnout year, but it hurts them in 2000.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really? You think it helps them in '98?
MR. CARNEY: Absolutely. Sure.
MR. KUDLOW: On the side of tolerance and forgiveness and mercy and spiritual trust -- (inaudible due to cross-talk).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is, it's too close to call.
We'll be right back with predictions.