Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rick Santorum is nostalgic for the late "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays in the miiltary

Posted By on Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Unlike some other candidates in the GOP race for President (such as Michelle Bachmann and now Hermain Cain), Rick Santorum has yet to have a breakthrough moment, either from a debate or straw poll performance that would give his shoestring budgeted campaign a boost in the media or among grass roots Republicans.

Yet he slogs away, occasionally earning good press from conservative oriented publications who like his full throated embrace of a strong foreign policy, a distinction that his opponents aren't keying on much so far.

But one thing about the former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator - he's always good for a little verbal gay bashing. Well, maybe that's not fair. Let's call it "constructive criticism" that the former Senator always employs around gays, or did you forget how he compared gay sex with bestiality?

Last month, the Clinton administration's policy on gays in the military, "don't ask, don't tell," officially became a policy of the past, as the U.S. joined such other militaries around the world like Israel, England, Canada and over 20 others in allowing openly identified gays to serve in America's armed forces.

But at the last presidential debate in Orlando, Santorum was asked by a gay soldier if he would reinstate that policy if he became commander in chief. On Fox News Sunday this weekend, Chris Wallace confronted him on that issue.


WALLACE: Senator, you say sexual activity has no place in the military. Heterosexuals have been open heterosexual for centuries in the military without any problems. And you talk about gays not being given, that they shouldn't be given special privilege. All of the "don't ask, don't tell" and the repeal of it does is say that they are given the same rights as everybody else has had forever.

SANTORUM: Well, the problem is, is that the sexual activity with people who are in close quarters with, who happen to be the same sex, is different than having the discussion and open about your sexual activity where there is — you are not in that same situation. So, you are talking about injecting as I said before —

WALLACE: No, wait a minute. Are you saying, you think that homosexual gay soldiers are going to sit there and go after the male counterparts in the barracks?

SANTORUM: I didn't suggest that.

WALLACE: You said they were in close activity, a close —

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Well, they are in close — they are in close quarters. They live with people. They shower with people, the whole kinds — all the things that they are involved in living in a barracks, or living out in the field, those are issues that again, some people, you are talking about that individual person, but you're talking about the ability for people to be able to have that unit cohesion, to be able to work together in a efficient fighting way. And, obviously, and also, by the way, the affect on retention and recruitment of people to live in that environment.

And yes, there are people who feel uncomfortable in that environment

WALLACE: I want to — I want —

SANTORUM: And as a result, it could hurt — it could hurt our ability to retain and recruit and to put the best fighting force in place.

WALLACE: Senator —

SANTORUM: As I said before, Chris, there has no —

WALLACE: Senator, if I may follow up and we are running out of the time and continuing on this conversation. You say don't inject social policy into the military. Their job is to fight and defend. They're not a social experiment.

I want to put up a quote for you. "The Army is not a sociological laboratory. Experimenting with Army policy, especially in time of war would pose a danger to efficiency, disciple and moral and would result in ultimate defeat." Does that sound about right, sir?

SANTORUM: Roughly yes.

WALLACE: That's a quote from Colonel Eugene Householder who is in the Army Adjutant General's Office in 1941, arguing against racial integration in the military.

SANTORUM: I figured. I've heard similar quotes. It's very, very different. I mean, we are talking about people who are, you know, simply different because of the color of their skin, not because of activities that would cause problems for people living in those close quarters.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Senator, Colonel Householders and I read — Senator, I read Colonel Householders' comments yesterday. Everything that you said, living in close proximity, sharing bunks and showers, being in close proximity, what — he used exactly the same arguments you use to argue against racial integration in the military in the 1940s.

SANTORUM: Yes, I understand that, and I know the whole gay community is trying to make this the new Civil Rights Act. It's not. It's not the same.

You are black by the color of your skin. You are not homosexual necessarily by — obviously by the color of your skin or anything — it's by a variety of things.

WALLACE: I mean, it is a fact that your biology — obviously, it's one thing if somebody is coming on to somebody in a room, but the sheer fact that somebody is a homosexual, are you saying — I mean, these are all volunteers. They are all defending to protect our country, sir.

SANTORUM: That's exactly the point, Chris. They are all volunteers, and they don't have to join in a place where they don't feel comfort serving with people because of that issue. And that is the problem, Chris.

And look, the idea that somehow or another, that this is the equivalent, that being black and being gay is simply not true. There are all sorts of studies out there that suggest just the contrary, and there are people who were gay and lived a gay lifestyle and aren't anymore. I don't know if that's a similar situation — I don't think that's the case with anybody that is black.

So it's not the same. And I know people try to make it the same, but it is not. It is a behavioral issue, as opposed to a color of the skin issue, and that makes all the difference when it comes to serving in the military.

The hard hitting questions posed to Santorum by Wallace did not seem to be appreciated by some Fox viewers, who wrote in to complain on the show's website.

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