Bill O'Reilly | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Keith Kerr | Military | News | Republican Party

Retired General Keith Kerr Leaves O'Reilly Nothing to Spin

Amazing that people are still talking about this, but anyway... Retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr, who asked the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" question at last week's GOP YouTube debate and later flustered conservatives after his ties to the Clinton campaign were discovered, made a seamless appearance on The O'Reilly Factor last night.

12,000 Flags to Wave on National Mall in DC on DADT Anniversary [tr]
GOP YouTube Debate: Retired General Kerr on Don't Ask, Don't Tell [tr]

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  1. I'm not amazed that FOX is still beating its viewers over the head with this...

    Posted by: virgoboy | Dec 4, 2007 11:20:43 AM

  2. Again, everyone FAILS to correct that GAY does not equal conduct rather it is a type of person, an orientation not necessarily a behavior and noone, not even this gay General confronts the misunderstanding. Bill and a lot of Straight people need to have it defined for them by gays properly- being gay isn't BEHAVIOR it is a type of person, an orientation NOT to be defined as Bill O here has as conduct or in other words behavior. Why can't anyone SPELL that out for chrissakes???!!!!!

    Posted by: alanontowleroad | Dec 4, 2007 11:51:27 AM

  3. I wasn't nearly as impressed with General Kerr's appearance as Andy was. I thought his interview was severely lacking especially since he let O'Reilly get away with making patently false statements about what DADT is and how it's enforced.

    The vast majority of gay people thrown out of the military are not thrown out for inappropriate sexual behavior while on duty, as O’Reilly insinuated but rather they are thrown out for having the audacity to tell someone, ANYONE, they are gay while they are serving. Most people don’t realize that DADT makes it unacceptable for military personnel to acknowledge their orientation to ANYONE at ANY time or ANY place or to engage in ANY same-sex sexual activity ANYtime or ANYwhere while enlisted/commissioned.

    O’Reilly’s straw man bogus claim that straight military personnel are discharged “all the time” for “misconduct” was a red herring that should have been confronted strongly and dispelled for the bullsh*t it was.

    Every time I hear this man go on one of his anti-gay tirades right before throwing out his obligatory “but I don’t have anything against teh gays” bone, it makes my flesh crawl. Then I hear gay conservatives explaining how he, like Ann Coulter, isn’t REALLY anti-gay and are actually gay supportive, it makes my head explode! Have another cup of Kool-Aid kids.

    Posted by: Zeke | Dec 4, 2007 12:05:03 PM

  4. I did feel that O'Reilly was flummoxed by the fact the guy was a general. This is the kind of authority he is inclined to defer to. Kerr also mentioned the counterpoint that it harms military readiness. In other words, Kerr's only concern is what it does to the military, not what it does to the soldiers kicked out. This is not an argument about fairness. The military doesn't have to be fair--it has to be effective. I guess this type of thinking is why he's a general and we are not.

    The more interesting segment was later on when Pat Buchanan debated Bill Bennett!

    Posted by: anon ( | Dec 4, 2007 12:17:05 PM

  5. Right there with you Zeke. O'Really was somewhat more deferential than usual, probably because his guest is a general, but Kerr did not challenge blatant falsehoods. I was screaming at the monitor when O'Really served up the disingenuous "argument" that straight people are discharged from the service "all the time," particularly for "misconduct". Kerr should have rebutted this falacious statement by pointing out that gay service men and women are being discharged for acknowledging WHO THEY ARE. (Sorry about the yelling but this specious rhetoric drives me nuts.) While it was good to see a gay general on TV, he was not the most effective spokesman. I hope he avails himself of the advice of the gay servicemembers alliance. Kerr need not be all alone in facing the homophobic fools.

    Posted by: rudy | Dec 4, 2007 12:30:31 PM

  6. It seems, as others have pointed out, that Bill DID have a lot to spin, mainly the finer points of DADT. This wasn't a bad appearance, exactly, but I didn't think it was that great, either.

    Posted by: Donny B | Dec 4, 2007 1:07:05 PM

  7. I appreciate the concerns about missed opportunities in this discussion. But I think people are being a little harsh on Gen. Kerr, and not just because I've met him socially as we have mutual friends.

    I assure you he DOES care at least as much about the effect antigay military policies have on people as on military strength. O'Reilly and the general public do NOT. Therefore, it was appropriate for him to emphasize the latter just as the Congressman from New York months ago bitch slapped Condoleeza Rice over discharging gay language experts at the same time she was complaining about our paucity of language experts.

    In addition to being in his 70s, Kerr is not, he would admit himself, an experienced rhetorician. Even someone who was would still be at a disadvantage when confronted by a professional rabid pit bull like O'Reilly.

    Second, those who have ever been interviewed in this format know how discombobulating it can be in the best of circumstances—speaking to an inanimate camera while trying to listen and effectively respond to the voice of someone miles away through an earpiece, particularly someone determined to dominate like O'Reilly.

    Our movement has always had few spokespeople as effective as our opponents. My friend Leonard Matlovich was one of the few, and the best on this subject. Like him most of them have died, or been relegated to the scrap pile by younger less articulate people who have taken over the movement. 82-year old Frank Kameny could still rhetorically hog tie O'Reilly and cover his mouth with a lavender bow.

    One of the things that we should have demanded long ago of the groups that ask us for money is that they pledge a portion of it to underwriting the living expenses of people like Kameny (impoverished most of his life after getting fired by the government because he devoted it to a movement that could not/would not pay him; sometimes living on as little as 25 cents a day), giving them a salary to use their natural gifts to be our movements voices, as well as train others not just in speaking skills but in facts.

    Instead they simply repeat the same pattern over and over—using the gay celebrity flavor of the moment to raise money and then doing a terrible job of speaking for us themselves.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Dec 4, 2007 1:08:34 PM

  8. Crap. The video's been removed. Is it me or are the Powers That Be--Fox, CNN, etc. trying to censor anything related to this?

    Posted by: gayjaybird | Dec 4, 2007 1:17:42 PM

  9. Wow...Bill O'Reilly put in his place! Obviously, don't ask don't tell is something that harms the military, individuals and needlessly throws away much needed soldiers. The problem with what Bill is saying, is that he doesn't want people to "broadcast their proclivities". Well, what is that supposed to mean? If don't ask, don't tell is repealed will gay soldiers suddenly run around in pink fatigues covered in glitter? Gay soldiers, like any other soldier, just want to do their job and serve their country. Why should they be thrown out because they're gay? What is the reason? Honestly, what? It makes no sense. And Bill makes the ridiculous point about how heterosexual soldiers are discharged as well. Uhh ok, is it because they are straight??? And if Bill really believes it's a personal matter, what right does the military have to stick its nose in someone's private business? He contradicts himself.

    Posted by: Matt | Dec 4, 2007 1:43:45 PM

  10. Not only gays should not serve in the military and shouldn't be able to marry - they should also not have to pay taxes as a result. It is only fair.

    Posted by: ReasonBased | Dec 4, 2007 1:59:47 PM

  11. Kerr's approach to the argument was correct, even if it left some of his personal views on the table: to wit, you win this argument on the basis of military readiness. Likewise, he did counter the argument that it would hurt morale because of the conservative nature of recruits, etc. but perhaps not forcefully enough. That is, recent polling shows changing attitudes. I also think his approach of collecting signatures in favor of repeal from retired senior officers is unbeatable. We would need more than 29 though.

    Posted by: anon ( | Dec 4, 2007 2:48:38 PM

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