Ciinton Heckled on Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA at Netroots Nation
Bigtime leftwing bloggers and web apparatchiks are at Netroots Nation (aka NN09) in Pittsburgh, and in these palmy Democratic days they get big speakers, including former President Bill Clinton. But the Big Dog's reception at a talk last night was not trouble-free. He was heckled by Lane Hudson, who interrupted him to ask, "will you call for a repeal of DOMA and 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' right now?" Clinton responded, "Hey, you know, you ought to go to one of those congressional health care meetings... if you stand up and scream I won't be able to talk"...
He then turned the issue back on the activist community -- "You couldn't deliver me any support in the Congress and they voted by a veto-proof majority in both houses against my attempt to let gays serve in the military and the media supported them" -- and generally defended his actions, saying, for one thing, that he signed the Defense of Marriage Act because "I thought the question of whether gays should marry should be left up to states and to religious organizations," and because he couldn't get anything better out of a "reactionary" Congress.
"I love Bill Clinton," says Hudson post-heckle at the Huffington Post, "but we all make mistakes." He said he raised his ruckus because "it occurred to me that we were nothing more than a captive audience being talked to. One way communication was NOT what we were there to celebrate and advance." He says he's glad that "President Clinton did address the issues that I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have without my forcing the conversation."