In an interview with the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that he wouldn’t rule out former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge as his running mate even though “he happens to be pro-choice.” McCain added that being “pro-life” is a “fundamental tenet” of the Republican Party, “but that does not mean we exclude people from our party that are pro-choice.”
McCain then indicated that he thought the party could “exclude people” for being “pro-gay rights“:
“I think it’s a fundamental tenet of our party to be pro-life but that does not mean we exclude people from our party that are pro-choice. We just have a–albeit strong–but just it’s a disagreement. And I think Ridge is a great example of that. Far more so than Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is pro-gay rights, pro, you know, a number of other issues.”
Asked if McCain meant someone couldn’t “be pro-gay and still be a Republican,” an anonymous McCain adviser told the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder that McCain’s Bloomberg comment was actually “a message of inclusion.”
McCain’s comments contradict the inclusive tone he struck in the past when he sought the support of the gay community. In 1998, McCain told Chris Matthews that the Republican Party shouldn’t “discriminate against anyone” because of “their sexual orientation“:
MCCAIN: And I’ll tell you right now, the Log Cabin Party–Republican Party–should be part of our–of our party. And I believe the Christian right should be part of–of our party. I respect their views. My view is that in the case of the military, the don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy was appropriate. And I also believe that–that gays should not be in the military, and I know that that’s a–a s–a–a problem that a lot of people would have. At the same time, I don’t believe that we should discriminate against anyone. And with that–and that includes because of their sexual orientation. [CNBC Hardball, 6/15/98]
Now McCain is more than respecting the views of the Christian right when it comes to gay rights, he’s kow-towing to them. Earlier this year, McCain personally met with the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, but the group has yet to officially endorse him.
What do the Log Cabin members think of a candidate who now supports excluding those who are “pro-gay rights?”