Last night at the GOP presidential debate, the moderators aired a question by video from Stephen Hill, a soldier serving in Iraq. Watch the clip below:You can hear some scattered boos and catcalls after Hill's question, but what you won't hear is a single Republican candidate rising to Hill's defense. As Greg Sargent summarizes:
Andrew Sullivan registers his outrage at the “shocking silence on the stage,” which reveals that “this kind of slur is not regarded as a big deal.” Ta-Nehisi Coates translates the candidates’ silence as: “I support some of the troops.”
I only have one thing to add. Multiple news stories today are claiming that the GOP candidates didn’t object to the booing of a “gay soldier.” That is an accurate description of what happened. An even more accurate description of what happened is to say that the GOP candidates didn’t object to the booing of a soldier.
On replay, Santorum's dismissivness is positively Dukakis-ian. A soldier in Iraq has just posed a question. Santorum's first response: "Yeah. I would say any type of sexual activity has no place." Jimmy LaSalvia of the gay Republican group GOProud (which has asked for Santorum to apologize) pointed out the political flub here.
"I don't care if you're running for dog-catcher," said LaSalvia. "If a soldier asks you a question, the first thing out of your mouth is: 'I thank you for your service.'"
Why am I willing to bet that none of this will matter to the folks who were on stage last night? Some of the troops, indeed.