Ted Kennedy on Clinton, Byrd, Sex Slaves, and Gays in the Military

There's a passage in Ted Kennedy's new memoir True Compass
in which he talks about attending a meeting in the White House regarding gays in the military. Here it is:

Tedkennedy “I’ll never forget one of my first meetings with Clinton in the White
House. He had walked into a firestorm over the question of whether gays
should be allowed to serve in the military. He’d invited all the
Democratic members of the Armed Services Committee to this gathering.
He went around the room, asking everyone’s opinion about gays in the
military. Some senators gave long answers. Some were terse. Some were
flowery and revealing, and others held their cards close to their vest.
It added up to a very lengthy meeting. I remember it well partly
because Vicki and I had tickets to the ballet that night. Baryshnikov
was dancing at the Warner Theatre. I’d told Vicki to go ahead and that
I’d meet her there when I could. But the meeting went on and on, for
more than two hours – extraordinary by White House standards. Finally,
my turn to speak came. I made a brief comment in support of allowing
gays in the military, in which I mentioned that all the arguments
against such a policy had already been made…

…Well, I was wrong about
that. Almost all the arguments had been used before. The last senator
to speak was Robert Byrd, and he came up with a new one on all of
us…..He informed us, with many ornate flourishes, that there had been a
terrible problem in ancient Rome with young military boys turned into
sex slaves. I don’t remember the exact details, but I think the story
involved Tiberius Julius Caesar being captured and abused and used as a
sex slave. He escaped and then years later he sought vengeance and
killed his captors. Anyway, it was something like that. The room fell
silent. The senator continued. Then President Clinton stood up. His
response was short and sweet. ‘Well,’ he said. ‘Moses went up to the
mountain, and he came back with the tablets and there were ten
commandments on those tablets. I’ve read those commandments. I know
what they say, just like I know you do. And nowhere in those ten
commandments will you find anything about homosexuality. Thank y’all
for coming.’ He ended the meeting and walked out of the room.”

(via politico, which has many more excerpts)


  1. FizziekruntNT says

    Sparks, sometimes you have to speak to people in their own language, no matter how distasteful it may be. I only wish the American constituency could have seen President Clinton’s reaction so they could have understood LONG ago how, no matter how good one’s intentions may be, there are always enough black-hearted, half-witted congressmen in this country that would do anything to take away or reduce the rights of a minority and to damage the integrity of a bill by legal entanglement. That’s the true face of evil.

  2. Ben says

    It’s people like Byrd who’ve ruined this country legislatively. Sure, he’s a Democrat (barely,) but in essence he’s a senile racist twit. And through his seniority – another overrated value in this country – he wields huge power in the Senate. Which has long allowed him to shape things such as the DADT situation disproportionately. He’s from a state with barely any people, etc…but until he dies they will elect him because he brings gazillions of dollars into WV. Everything there is named after him!

    Term limits and campaign finance reform. Nuff said.

  3. john says

    Anon, where did you read that Clinton “thought he could change their minds” by simply talking down to senators? I doubt this was ever stated by Clinton as being one of his strategies. Quit trying to write the history of a man you have never met.

  4. Erick says

    but…but….but….but…this just doesn’t fit with the long history gays have written about how Clinton betrayed gays and threw them under a bus or something. clearly ted kennedy is a liar…bill clinton would NNEEEEVVVVEERRRR do that.

    (note sarcasm)

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