Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Jan. 27, 2000 /20 Shevat, 5760

Chris Matthews

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard



John McCain's gay radar -- DURING OUR TRAINING in Louisiana, we all lived in fear of "de-selection." That was Peace Corps jargon for getting bounced, being told by the team of psychologists, experts in cross-cultural differences and other types that you couldn't go to Africa for two years.

One of our group that autumn of '68 was a soft-spoken guy whose manner made most of us figure he was gay. He never did anything that suggested his sexual orientation, and to us it was no big deal. But if the training staff was looking for some people to dump, thereby earning their pay, we just assumed that he would be a prime candidate.

Irony of ironies, three other volunteers and I were the folks singled out for probation because we didn't quite fit the Peace Corps profile. We won this meaningless designation for being "too middle class" or "too opinionated" me? or whatever.

As for the fellow we all figured to be in the trainers' cross hairs, he breezed to "selection" without admonition or comment.

Later, in Africa, the scuttlebutt got around about how our fortunate fellow volunteer got through the Khyber Pass of Peace Corps correctitude.

Rather than risk "de-selection" under some vague assessment of personality, some weasel words typed out by the training staff for the purpose of meeting their quota of rejections, he made a proposition: If any of the training staff had a problem with him being a Peace Corps volunteer, he wanted that person to spell out that problem to his face. No clever notations or P.C. jargon, no long Latinate words, just tell him what it is about him his voice or manner or build that made them think he was not up to the task of teaching high school in a Third World country.

Apparently, it did the trick. Through sheer guts our fellow volunteer had managed a legendary rite of passage.

I was reminded of this vital, little memory by something John McCain said recently: that he knew certain fellow Navy officers to be gay by their "behavior and attitudes."

Under pressure, McCain said this week, "It's clear to some of us when some people have that lifestyle."

Fair enough. We all have fellow workers and friends who have not declared their sexual orientation. Some people send signals in more subtle ways. I knew one government official who simply posed for a picture with the Washington Gay Men's Chorus. I knew a newspaper reporter, hung out with him, drank with him, traveled with him, and he never told me that he had AIDS. I found out when it was too late.

As long as there are differences among people, there will be some ignorance, some mistaken identities.

The question here is not the reliability or intensity of John McCain's "gaydar" but the fairness of his heart. And there is nothing in his public record to suggest he's the kind of guy who has ever, or would ever, single out a gay person for "de-selection."

JWR contributor Chris Matthews is the author of Hardball. and hosts a CNBC show of the same name. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


01/25/00: This time, candidates get 'authenticity' check
01/18/00: AIDS dooms 1 in 4 in tiny Swaziland
01/13/00: Complacency might be the campaign key
01/10/00: A choice, not an echo
01/06/00: The role of a lifetime
01/03/00: Dangers in Gore's dirty war
12/30/99: Churchill's fighting words saved the century
12/28/99: Candidate Gore's separation anxiety
12/17/99: Catch 22: Leading candidates don't lead
12/17/99: New Democratic leader on the horizon
12/15/99: Is Hillary clueless?
12/08/99: Taking Buchananism to the streets
12/03/99: Why are we so obsessed with 'spin'?
12/01/99: Donald Trump, 'Sinatra of Steel'
11/29/99: Why AlGore will be our next president
11/23/99: After the fall
11/17/99: Our conveniently forgetful president
11/15/99: Next president: Male, WASP, self-selected
11/10/99: Backroom Bill
11/08/99: Please don't feed the 'pander bears'
11/03/99: Battle of the Bubba clones
11/01/99: Pat Buchanan, kamikaze candidate
10/27/99: The year of the woman... voter
10/25/99: The Curse of the Bubba
10/21/99: GOP gives Clinton his finest hour
10/18/99: Clinton's last hurrah
10/13/99: Rough seas for Capt. Ventura
10/11/99: Gore targets Bradley's strength
10/06/99: Bradley's got the right Rx
10/04/99: Buchanan, Churchill and Hitler
09/30/99: Who'll spin political gold in Golden State Gore or Bradley?
09/27/99: Here's a millennial checklist for candidates
09/22/99: The biography battle
09/20/99: Buchanan's new book is a must-read
09/15/99: Don't rule out Beatty
09/13/99: The man with the sun on his face
09/08/99: W. vs. Jr. on dope and the draft
The FALN: Hillary's Willie Horton
08/26/99: Bill's guilt fuels Hill's race
08/25/99: The seemingly inexhaustible strength of America's free enterprise
08/23/99: GOP candidates are weak also-rans
08/16/99: Bubba on Bubba
08/11/99: Hillary's agonizing attempts to understand
08/09/99: With warm regards, Richard Nixon
08/04/99: Weicker: real third party is on the Left
08/02/99: Dubyah's last hangover
07/27/99: Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh; capitalism is gonna win

© 2000, NEA