Bill Clinton Interrupted at Netroots Nation

Lane Hudson felt justified in interupting former President Bill Clinton’s remarks at Netroots Nation to scream questions about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that there was no Q&A session scheduled and he was therefore “being held as a captive audience.”

Julian Sanchez, also in attendance and quite sympathetic to Hudson’s views on both DADT and DOMA, demurs:

No, you spectacular dick,  you were not being “held as a captive audience”; you were voluntarily attending a talk where the speaker had declined to allot time for questions. Believe it or not, there were probably one or two other people there with strong feelings about any number of other matters. Being what we call “grown ups,” however, they were not so convinced of their righteous specialness that they imagined themselves entitled to set the speaker’s agenda like some jackass fratboy screaming “Freebird” at the band. I realize it seems shocking that some of your fellow audience members were more concerned about norms of civility than your most-important-issue-evar, but the fact that everyone has one of those is why we have norms of civility. The only reason it was possible for you to be rewarded for your boorishness by getting your question addressed is that you had the good fortune to be surrounded by people who were housebroken.

Quite.

Clinton does quite well handling the interruption and defending his position.  And he’s right:  In 1993, I was firmly against changing the policy on gays in the military and thought DADT was an outrageous concession to political correctness; now, I think it’s time to let gays serve openly.  Ditto, gay marriage.

While my political philosophy has no doubt evolved over the past sixteen years, it’s mostly a matter of the culture having changed through learning.  For Americans outside a handful of urban communities, gays were a theoretical construct or the object of jokes on television.  Now, they’re a small but visible part of the culture and, aside from a fringe Queer Pride element that enjoys the attention that provocativeness brings, pretty damned normal.

Soldiers are drawn from the society-at-large if not quite a microcosm of it. The military culture naturally lags the broader culture because it’s self-selected and more traditional in its values.   If the military leadership isn’t quite ready to end DADT, they soon will be.

And gay marriage will become normal, too, now that it’s taking place in several states.  The idea that gays marrying each other is somehow a threat to the marriages of heterosexuals already seems silly.  The resistance of the religious community will take longer to break down but it’ll happen.  Probably in less time than the sixteen years since DADT threatened to end the Clinton administration before it got started.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. PD Shaw says:

    Of course, it would have been an entirely different matter if Bill had been asked about Hillary’s thoughts about being asked about Bill’s thoughts about the Chinese deal with Congo.

  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Then by that token Dr. Joyner, someday sex between adults and children or goats might become acceptable as your morals evolve. As long as it does not have any effect on hetrosexual marriage. Unless there is some absolute as to what is right or wrong, society will degenerate into a irresponsible mass that can only be controlled by a strong central government. But then, that is the whole point is it not?

  3. Drew says:

    “No, you spectacular dick,”

    Uh. Umm. Er..well. Ahem……….never mind.

  4. Fog says:

    Zelsdorf, If God hates gays, why did he make so many of them?

  5. James Joyner says:

    Then by that token Dr. Joyner, someday sex between adults and children or goats might become acceptable as your morals evolve.

    Gay adults, for the most part, have the ability to give meaningful consent. Not so much children or goats.

    From a public policy standpoint, protecting children is universally valued. Aside from the Ick Factor, I’m not really sure why sex with your livestock is illegal.

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    Then by that token Dr. Joyner, someday sex between adults and children or goats might become acceptable as your morals evolve.

    Oh good God. Please, where has anyone advocated coercion and force as being acceptable? Please provide the quote or STFD and STFU.

    But then, that is the whole point is it not?

    By Jove, James you’ve been…errr…outed as the Democratic/Statist/Authoritarian shill that you are. Quick man, run while I lay down covering fire.

  7. Contracts says:

    Incidentally, as I’m reading these comments, the banner ad is for Atlantis “All-Gay Cruises.” Maybe that explains the ragefit from Zelsdorf.

  8. Rick Almeida says:

    We don’t respond to Zelsdorf, do we?

  9. Eric Florack says:

    The only reason it was possible for you to be rewarded for your boorishness by getting your question addressed is that you had the good fortune to be surrounded by people who were housebroken.

    Quite.

    Wait…… Let me get my mind around this one. Nutroots… housebroken? In what alternate universe?

    The fact is, Hudson is using the same tactics the far left have always used. What gets Sanchez pissed is that the tactics that made the nutroots famous are being used on one of their own. Time was, the left used to like disruption ala Hudson. And that includes people like Sanchez.

    Does anyone seriously consider that Sanchez would complain about shouting down Bush, for example? I mean, come on.

  10. jwest says:

    Julian Sanchez, or any other liberal for that matter, lecturing another leftist about “norms of civility” towards speakers in public venues is grand comedy.

    When a right-leaning author or lecturer can appear on a college campus without the aid of a bodyguard and make it all the way through a talk without being shouted down by free speech hating democrats, the first step will have been made towards establishing “norms of civility”.

    Breathtaking hypocrisy on a global scale.

  11. sam says:

    @Bit-Eric

    Time was, the left used to like disruption ala Hudson. And that includes people like Sanchez.

    You not asserting the Julian is leftist are you?

  12. Steve Verdon says:

    You not asserting the Julian is leftist are you?

    He’s not on the Right therefore he has to be on the Left. Is there anything else other than Left-Right?

  13. RW Rogers says:

    Anyone who disagrees with Eric is a leftist, I guess.

  14. Eric Florack says:

    He’s not on the Right therefore he has to be on the Left. Is there anything else other than Left-Right?

    Wrong question to ask, Steve,a nd thereby the wrong conclusion. Who was running this show again, and who would attend?

    And speak to jwest as well.

  15. Steve Verdon says:

    Eric,

    I was being a bit sarcastic.

    However, there is a tendency to caste everyone as either right or left. Sanchez is, like me, best characterized as a libertarian. As such I often has classed as a Rightie by those on the Left and and Leftie as those on the Right. I even seem to recall YetAnotherJohn poking his head in here castigating me for finding Obama’s policies lacking when I was supposedly once an ardent follower of Obama.

    That Sanchez attended Netroots Nation does not make him a liberal, any more than it would make you a liberal if you went.

  16. Drew says:

    Oy. Gays and marriage and politics an such…..

    Sometimes you just want to keep it dead simple, turn up the stereo and rock…….

    “…I need a love to keep me happy…….I need a love……..baaaabe!……baby….baby keep me happy…..(baby!!)……..baby keep me happy!!!….(baby!!)” (guitar solo)

  17. Matt says:

    Aside from the Ick Factor, I’m not really sure why sex with your livestock is illegal.

    The only basis I can come up with is the potential for diseases to transfer somehow. +40 years ago I doubt people would of expected AIDS from monkeys.

  18. Davebo says:

    The only basis I can come up with is the potential for diseases to transfer somehow. +40 years ago I doubt people would of expected AIDS from monkeys.

    There are still a lot of ignorant people on the internet it seems.

    I may be up all night yet again.

  19. Matt says:

    Feel free to elaborate if your oh so mighty intellect can handle the load..

  20. Matt says:

    I mean seriously HIV was extremely rarely reported prior to the 1970s so I guess you could nitpick my “nobody” statement..

  21. G.A.Phillips says:

    Zelsdorf, If God hates gays, why did he make so many of them?

    It’s called free will you big dummy….

    Or then again mabe it’s evolution?

  22. Eric Florack says:

    That Sanchez attended Netroots Nation does not make him a liberal, any more than it would make you a liberal if you went.

    Well, come on Steve, be fair, here. I haven’t been watching his site for a long, having stumbled across it last winter sometime, I don’t remember exactly when. But in that amount of time I’ve never seen any views that would be compatible with the right end of the spectrum.

    That leaving aside the point that as a matter of logic, liberalism… at least as defined in today’s lexicon … and libertarianism are two totally different animals, mostly diametrically opposed to each other’s goals.

  23. ggr says:

    Well, come on Steve, be fair, here. I haven’t been watching his site for a long, having stumbled across it last winter sometime, I don’t remember exactly when. But in that amount of time I’ve never seen any views that would be compatible with the right end of the spectrum.

    That leaving aside the point that as a matter of logic, liberalism… at least as defined in today’s lexicon … and libertarianism are two totally different animals, mostly diametrically opposed to each other’s goals.

    Well, even ignoring the gross generalization that political views can be put into a linear spectrum (even physicists know that few things in the real world are actually linear), not being right wing doesn’t mean being left wing … even in a linear plot there are an infinite number of points between the opposing ends.

    The main point of libertarianism is that it doesn’t fit into either conservative or liberal thinking. Liberals want a large gov’t involvement in social issues, conservative in security and moral issues, libertarians in neither. They fit into neither the democrats or the republicans for that reason.

  24. kth says:

    If you don’t believe that anyone should be able to enter into a contract with whomever they please (so long as the agreement is mutual, obv), you are not a libertarian. Those contracts would include civil unions at the very least. Marriage is a more complicated matter from a libertarian perspective, as it confers a lot of “rights” that libertarians don’t acknowledge.

    Libertarians would similarly regard the adoption of a child as no business of anyone’s except the birth mother’s, and hence would not consider legitimate any interference from the state in placing those babies with heterosexual couples.

    Just one example where libertarianism is not co-extensive with the right; others abound.

  25. Every minute counts.

  26. sam says:

    @BitEric

    Well, come on Steve, be fair, here. I haven’t been watching his site for a long [time]

    Well I have, and you’ve got your head up your ass.

    Quelle surprise.

  27. sam says:

    Oh, and from Julian’s Wiki page:

    Julian Sanchez (born March 14, 1979) is an American libertarian writer living in Washington, D.C.. Until recently he served as the Washington Editor for Ars Technica.[2] He first came to public attention in 2003 when he helped to expose gun control critic John Lott for defending himself in online forums using an assumed identity. Soon afterwards, Sanchez was hired as an assistant editor at Reason magazine where he is now a contributing editor. He also worked as a staff writer at the Cato Institute. He currently blogs for The Economist.

    Some leftist.

  28. Eric Florack says:

    not being right wing doesn’t mean being left wing … even in a linear plot there are an infinite number of points between the opposing ends.

    More than granted.

    So if he were somewhere along, say the middle of that line, you’d think I’d have seen a view on at least one topic that was compatible with the right, no? Lacking that, and with a small mountain of evidence reading exactly the opposite, I conclude Sanchez is a libertarian the way a quadriplegic is a fireman… because he chooses to call himself one, but otherwise possessing few to none of the qualities usually attributed to that title.

    Some leftist.

    Hmmm. Instead of resorting to labling him by who it is he works for, how about showing us his stated positions… (could be as simple as quoting the man’s writing) where he came up with thoughts that were compatible with something other than the far left?

  29. Davebo says:

    Matt,

    Do you really believe the origin of Aids in humans is some guy having sex with a monkey?

    Seriously?

  30. ggr says:

    So if he were somewhere along, say the middle of that line, you’d think I’d have seen a view on at least one topic that was compatible with the right, no? Lacking that, and with a small mountain of evidence reading exactly the opposite, I conclude Sanchez is a libertarian the way a quadriplegic is a fireman… because he chooses to call himself one, but otherwise possessing few to none of the qualities usually attributed to that title.

    Not necessarily. Middle of the road doesn’t imply taking points from both the left wing and the right wing unless all points are binary. Most aspects of society aren’t all or nothing, so its quite possible (and even quite likely) that a middle of the roader will have most of their opinions so close to the middle of the road that they’re neither left wing nor right wing. Which means they’ll be considered left wingers by the right wing, and right wingers by the left wing.

    I have to admit, I’ve never read any of his stuff, so I’m just speaking about in principle here.

  31. Matt says:

    Matt,

    Do you really believe the origin of Aids in humans is some guy having sex with a monkey?

    Seriously?

    One of many possible origins. No one knows for sure when the first transmission occurred. By far the bulk of the transmissions were via meat and such.

    Naturally I never said what you tried to claim I said but that’s pretty much par for the course for you.. assUme

  32. Matt says:

    Oh and since the first transmissions were HIV1 that would mean an APE and not a monkey (HIV2 was later discovered to be from certain monkeys).

  33. Davebo says:

    One of many possible origins.One of many possible origins.

    Err… No. Not really a possible origin. But if you manage to recreate it let us know.

    Or if you can find a researcher who believes that by all means show us his or her published work.

    Because as far as I can tell it doesn’t exist.

    However, I do apologize for the ignorant remark. It was, if apt, not very civilized.

  34. mike in houston says:

    Lane Hudson???? Isn’t he the same little pissant in the Mark Foley affair? Are the children starting to eat their parents?

  35. Raoul says:

    Sounds like the writer advocates situational ethics. Gay marriage is fine now but not before? What the hell? I wonder if such lame rationality can be used to support racial discrimination and even slavery. I find it hilarious when former conservatives try to justify their previous wingnut positions. I guess they look at the current crops of crazies and can’t believe they were one- the best they can do is a pseudo-journalist dual approach that both sides can be misguided. But let’s be real, yes, the left sometimes suffers from overzealousness but nothing compares with birthers, deathers and everything in between. The nation needs an opposition party, but the the GOP isn’t it.

  36. Matt says:

    You’re being an idiot Davebo. It’s well known that bodily fluids can transfer the disease and I have no idea why you believe intercourse NEVER ever possibly results in bodily fluids being transferred.

  37. Matt says:

    Now don’t get me wrong the odds are extremely slim that it would happen due to the difficulties involved with trying to have intercourse with a monkey but that’s not part of your argument.

  38. Matt says:

    I’d also like to point out once again that my original statement had nothing to do with sex and monkeys.

    +40 years ago I doubt people would of expected AIDS from monkeys.

  39. anjin-san says:

    Does anyone seriously consider that Sanchez would complain about shouting down Bush, for example?

    It’s noteworthy that bit whines pretty much 24/7 about the tactics of the left, but when the right behaves in the same manner, all he has is “they did it to!”, a line most people stop using sometime before reaching high school…

  40. ggr says:

    It’s noteworthy that bit whines pretty much 24/7 about the tactics of the left, but when the right behaves in the same manner, all he has is “they did it to!”, a line most people stop using sometime before reaching high school…

    Well, pointing out hypocrisy and inconsistency isn’t necessarily the same as whining. Both the left and right are pretty quick to talk about “false equivalencies”, which tends to be code for “it’s wrong when they do it, okay when we do it”.

  41. kth says:

    Does anyone seriously consider that Sanchez would complain about shouting down Bush, for example?

    Actually I strongly suspect that Sanchez would be quite critical if he were personally present at an event where Bush was interrupted, like Clinton was, by someone on the same side of the partisan divide, but farther from the center.

    E.g., someone who not only believed we should have bombed Iran, but who claimed, in spite of the presence of a clearly-marked exit in the room, to be part of a “captive audience” because Bush wasn’t taking questions.

    That would be the apples-to-apples equivalent, and I do indeed think Sanchez would have been critical of such a person. Might even have called him “you spectacular dick”.