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Valerie Jarrett is no Tony Perkins

Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, has taken her lumps since my video interview with her was posted yesterday. We talked about infrastructure and her concern about the rash of nationally reported suicides of gay youth. Unfortunately, she trampled on that concern when she said that 13-year-old Justin Aarberg made a "lifestyle choice."


Contrary to the caustic comments on websites like firedoglake, I know Jarrett knows better than this. That's why I didn't correct her or ask her to explain herself during our sit-down at the White House. But viewers don't know her heart. They just know that what she said was offensive. 

I e-mailed Jarrett last night and asked her a simple question, "Do you think being gay is a 'lifestyle choice'?" Here is  her response in its entirety.

In a recent interview I was asked about the recent tragedies about gay youth who have committed suicide, and I misspoke when I referred to someone's sexual identity as a "lifestyle choice." I meant no disrespect to the LGBT community, and I apologize to any who have taken offense at my poor choice of words. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice, and anyone who knows me and my work over the years knows that I am a firm believer and supporter in the rights of LGBT Americans. Most of all, I hope this does not distract from the issue I was asked about -- the desperate, tragic decision by some young people who feel that their only recourse is to take their own lives because they are being bullied or harassed because they are gay, or because others believe they are gay. We must instill in young people respect for one another, and we must set an example of mutual regard and civility to create an environment that is safe for every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Yes, Jarrett made a mistake. But those who think she and the president don't care about the rights of gay men and lesbians, don't give a damn about bullying and the tragedies of gay youth suicides are wrong. Jarrett is no Tony Perkins. She is no bigot. 

By Jonathan Capehart  | October 14, 2010; 7:19 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Jonathan Capeheart is a traitor to the gay community. It comes as no surprise that he would defend Jarrett's bigoted, homophobic description of being gay as a "choice". She is not Tony Perkins, she is worse, because she is the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. At least Perkins doesn't hide his bigotry. Capeheart should be deeply ashamed, and this apology for Jarrett's hateful rhetoric means that he has the blood of dead gay teens on his hands too.

Posted by: gaylib | October 14, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Jonathan, you are such a deranged Obamabot that it is absolutely disgusting! Did you enjoy setting up your little straw man of bigotry here and knocking it down? Do you call that insightful commentary?

Valerie Jarrett is manifestly NOT a bigot, that was not the point of the commentary on gay blogs yesterday, and you know it.

Perhaps you'd like to address the REAL concern, rather than put on your big "O" T-shirt and run interference for your president.

The real concern--as opposed to your pathetic, intelligence-insulting straw man--is that if the most progressive voice in the Obama inner circle is so unfamiliar with the gay community that "lifestyle choice" is in her working vocabulary, the administration truly is clueless and we truly are complete outsiders. And she's the one in charge of public engagement, for goodness sake!!! No one truly familiar with the gay community has "lifestyle choice" in her working vocabulary.

I believe she was sincerely concerned about gay teen suicide. But I also believe she's not very conversant with the gay community or our issues. That is the take away from her gaffe. I wasn't offended by it. I was disheartened by it because it confirmed my worst fears about how marginalized the gay community is in this White House. And it also made me rethink my having too easily dismissed the Donnie McClurkin controversy during the campaign and choosing Obama over Hillary. I'd be shocked to learn that the most progressive member of Hillary's inner circle would have had "lifestyle choice" in her working vocabulary.

Perhaps you'd like to explore these actual issues with the gaffe. Oh, no, that's right. You've become nothing but a hack shill for the administration shill. Of course, how else did you get the interview in the first place, right?

As I said before--and will say again--for you, skin color runs deeper than sexual identity. The choice you've made could not be clearer.

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 14, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama HATES Gay people!

Posted by: drwasdrwas | October 14, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart,

Could you please use your influence and email access to ask the following:

You said, "I am a firm believer and supporter in the rights of LGBT Americans." Do you support marriage equality? Does the President?

You see, if the answer is no, then you really don't support us or think that we're equal.

A Gay American, Waiting for His EQUAL Rights

Posted by: bem629 | October 14, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

P.S. Funny how in setting up your straw man, you referring to firedoglake, which is NOT a gay blog, but made no mention of either AmericaBlogGay or Pam's House Blend. What's wrong? Did the more nuanced discussion there fit your objective of Sambo-izing the gay community?

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 14, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Yet she works for an administration that is actively weeding out gay service members from the military even AFTER a judge ruled they couldn't and actively working to uphold DOMA even though they do not have to. So yeah... Valerie may be a lovely lady, but I judge her by the company she keeps. And this administration is NO friend of the gay community. No mater what Mr. Obama said to us to get elected.

Posted by: clintatl | October 14, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The standard "non-apology" apology.

"I apologize to any who have taken offense at my poor choice of words."

How about this instead:

"I apologize for my offensive language."

Why does it have to be couched in terms that leave room for the possibility that some may not have been offended? Like anyone who was offended really has the problem of being over sensitive?

The woman is a professional adviser and spokesperson for the most powerful man in the world. She certainly ought to know the proper language to use when speaking about LGBT issues. She didn't "misspeak". "Lifestyle choice" was the phrase that came naturally to her. Maybe she didn't intend to be offensive. Maybe she didn't know any better. But, it certainly proves that she didn't care enough to have made herself knowledgeable beforehand. Can you think of any other minority group she would have spoken about without having prepared herself beforehand? Can you imagine her using the term "darkie" or "colored folk" and claiming afterward that she just misspoke? You know the White House goes to great lengths to make sure they don't make these kinds of "mistakes" when talking about or meeting with foreign dignitaries. Why the lackluster attitude when it comes to the LGBT community?

Posted by: timncguy | October 14, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm often impressed with Capehart's commentary but this is disingenuous. Yes, some people went overboard on Jarrett's coments but to focus on them and then defend her is to miss the point. Her comments show that there is some lack of understanding and awareness in this administration, an ignorance that seems to play out in their giving the gay rights the back burner. The comment was indicative of it.

And as gay man Capehart should have pointed out the comments. He is now trying to excuse himself because he says he knows her better. What about the readers who don't? Didn't he have a responsibility as a journalist, to his readers? Again, disingenuous.

Posted by: jamestog3434 | October 14, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday I read that the Justice dept will appeal the DADT judicial decision. If one were to take that noise and combine it with this noise it would almost offer proof that the Obama administration hates gay people and only uses them for their votes.
These things in concert will not drive me to pull a lever for republicans come November but they to make the thought of staying home very attractive.

Posted by: madest | October 14, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

It's OK for democrat vermin to spew hatred. They are democrats, and as such are not expected to do as they preach.

Posted by: carlbatey | October 14, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Her apology is about as convincing as Carl Palladino's.

Posted by: cllr | October 14, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

thats it, LGBT! just keep knocking BHO, and stay home in Nov...

u think yr being dissed NOW?!? just wait til Angle and O'donnell get their hooks in ya!

Posted by: mloaks | October 14, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

This genuflecting to the rabid homosexual community for every perceived slight or slip of tounge is just pathetic. Democrats always wind up looking stupid when they have to twist themselves into pretzels to keep up their political-correctness.

Posted by: pgr88 | October 14, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I remember the 2008 Primary campaign. Most of the leadership of the LGBT communities totally trashed the Clintons and told everyone that Obama was the Savior.

I continue to support the LGBT communities and want human rights and equality for each individual.

I have no sympathy for you people who trashed the Clintons and portrayed Obama as the Savior.

Posted by: Provincial | October 14, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I knew Valerie was a sistuh deep down inside!

Posted by: forgetthis | October 14, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse


If Jarrett were a conservative making that comment, Capehart would not be giving her a pass on her faux pas.

Jarrett's initial response was probably how she really felt much like other politicians who then have to back-pedal.

Maybe Capehart only "thinks" he knows Jarrett's heart.

Posted by: janet8 | October 14, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan, there is a problem with Valerie's explanation/apology and that is it sounds too much like all those explanations/apologies the glbti community receives from politicians. "If it offended..." the mere fact that anyone has to issue an apology is proof that it DID offend!

Perhaps she in sincere and perhaps you know enough of her character and her understanding to vouch for her but such apologies ring hollow.

The battle over gay rights is a bit more than mere civil law disagreement, there IS a Spiritual Battle being waged against the glbti and has been for a very long time. We elder members have survived long enough to build tools to combat this warfare but our youth have not and they are the most venerable. It deeply saddens me that a spite of suicides had to bring this discussion to the forefront. I pray that more than lip service is accomplished.

Posted by: RevJDSpears | October 14, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

If she really believed that being gay is not a choice, she would not have said it. Capeheart is covering for her...I will leave it to others to delve into why.

Posted by: Daedulus | October 14, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Valerie Jarrett strikes me as shrill and charmless to begin with. She's a terrible spokesperson for the elegant Obama.

Posted by: mitt1968 | October 14, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

This is so pathetic. The Administration, brought into the WH with such excitement, has spent itself into near irrelevance in trying to have it both ways with nearly all political arguments. And, as could be expected, in trying to have it both ways the Administration is now strangling itself. Obama says DADT will end, but that the way to do that is through the Senate, which has voted not to repeal DADT. Somehow, however, we are assured that DADT will end nonetheless. Obama, so terrified of taking a stand, is therefore unwilling to let the federal court decision stand. If his calculus about another vote on DADT during the lame-duck session is incorrect (which it is...why oh why does anyone believe the Senate Republicans will back-peddle on this issue?) then we will be stuck with DADT for years to come. And now Ms Jarrett. Lifestyle choice? Please. She should be fired. Now. But then again, Mr. O and the entire crew may well be fired in two years anyhow. Sad for so many of us who voted for him in 2008, but true enough. No courage...No integrity...No leadership. Jarrett is but one symptom of a much larger reality.

Posted by: top2dogs | October 14, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Amazing that one of the White House incompetents slipped up and actually told the truth for a change.

Odumbo elegant? Surely you jest.
Better change what you're drinking mitt1968

Posted by: LarryG62 | October 14, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The smartest among us can and do say the dumbest things. Ms. Jarrett just proved my point. I think we are coming down too hard on Ms. Jarrett and Brother Capehart, who should have corrected the interviewee's mistatement at the point in which it was made. But there are many Gay men and women who have heard stupid remarks made about Gays from straight people before and failed to defend and correct the matter including this writer at the point of creation. We all fall short at times, but we should strive to make amends. Being Gay is not a choice, if so, many people would have opted out of it at the point when the first recognized they were homosexual. Instead of turning this into a point where there is massive bashing of Ms. Jarrett and Mr. Capehart, this should be a teaching opportunity for all of us. America, including those in the media and the White House are slowly being educated about many factors related to being Gay, including the hatred, brutality and the bias being directed toward the community. Here is a critical opportunity to continue to educate people about Gay people so that brilliant people like Ms. jarrett will not make such idiotic statements and then have well-meaning men like Mr. Capehart work so hard to correct and clarify her statement. Lets stop all the negativity and use this instance in our quest to move Gay rights and acceptance forward. I think the current residents of the White House and the Post have shown they have been willing partners in this effort. This One incidents should not derail it!!!

Posted by: njournalg | October 14, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I guess Obama is now showing his true colors...ah oh! Cheers.

Posted by: MPNangle | October 14, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

When you start using the language of your opponents, you lose.

Posted by: Tyroii | October 14, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Well the good news is that Ms. Jarrett now knows it is not a choice. Better that she finally learned this week, than never. Better that she knows since she is an extremely powerful person within the administration. Perhaps Don't Ask Don't Tell will finally end. Perhaps the administration will finally acknowledge the civil rights movement of the GLBT community.

Posted by: AnnsThought | October 14, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Okay, maybe I need to be enlightened, but I honestly do not understand why it is insult to state/suggest/believe that being gay is a lifestyle choice. What happened to gay pride? I don't know anyone who gets insulted when accused of making veganism or Buddhism or celibacy a lifestyle choice. Can you really equate homosexuality with eye color? Do most people believe that when no one is looking?

Posted by: forgetthis | October 14, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Jarret not anti-gay; Obama himself is on the down-low and she must know that!

Posted by: theaz | October 14, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan:

I have a ton of respect for you, and I believe that your commentary is often right on target. However, you failed as a journalist when you did not call out Jarrett on her offensive comment at the time it was made. You cannot allow your personal friendships and relationships to offer some sort of permanent pass by Obama Administration officials just because you have concluded that they are not homophobic. Your opinion is not the issue. We will judge whether or not we see Jarrett or her boss as homophobic all by ourselves.

The correct thing would have been to simply say, “You used the phrase ‘lifestyle choice’ just now. Many in the LGBT community, myself included, cringe at that phrase because it suggests that homosexuality, indeed any sexual orientation, is a choice. Do you want to clarify that point?”

Simple, direct, honest. No need for a follow up pseudo apology from her the next day, because you actually did your job in the interview. Instead, you let a phrase that you knew, or should have known, would create a firestorm in the community hang out there simply because it was uttered by an “ally.” That’s not journalism my friend.

You are taking a well deserved beating today for your actions in the interview, and for your rather lame excuse offered for it today. You would advise a politician that has made a mistake to simply “fess up” and admit, and apologize.

Its time for you to do the same. You failed miserably in that interview. You let your personal feelings cover for a political appointee as though you were a Fox News anchor. In doing so, you poured salt in an open wound that the LGBT community has with this Administration, and then you lectured the LGBT community about how they should not feel wounded at all.

You are being called a shill because you are acting like a shill. It’s time to “man up” Jonathan.

Make the apology that is due.

Posted by: gilbert6 | October 14, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a fan of hers but I believe she misspoke. Intelligent people know this isn't about choice. And I also believe she's an intelligent person. So chill out. This woman meant no offense or harm. Let's do away with the drama.

Posted by: mooncusser | October 14, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

It seems hard to believe that the phrase "lifestyle choice" rolled with such facility off Ms. Jarrett's tongue, unless she was already accustomed to using it.

And given the way the Administration is dragging its feet on gay issues, it would not surprise me to learn that that "lifestyle choice - ick!" is the prevailing sentiment from the President on down.

Posted by: Itzajob | October 14, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, Jarrett made a mistake. But those who think she and the president don't care about the rights of gay men and lesbians, don't give a damn about bullying and the tragedies of gay youth suicides are wrong. Jarrett is no Tony Perkins. She is no bigot. "

Then by all means give us that HUGE LIST of accomplishment that they have made for lgbt rights...oops there is no list, they are just as hateful and eager to deny rights to gays as the GOP is.

Posted by: hippie1367 | October 14, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The real shame HERE, Jonathan, is that you didn't check Valerie Jarrett as soon as the phrase escaped her ignorant lips. No gay man I know would allow that phrase to be used in his presence without immediately responding, "Ms Jarrett, it's not a lifestyle and it's not a choice. You know that, right?"

You ill-served your readers and you, frankly, ill-served your interviewee. The comments above regarding "working vocabulary" make we wonder if it isn't just Ms Jarrett who has this in hers.

This isn't a phrase YOU use, is it, Jonathan?

Posted by: TeddySanFran | October 14, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

It isn't "drama" because it was uttered by an official representing the President who while having promised much has been, at best, a tepid enemy. The LGBT community is furious with this Administration and rightly so, so when one of the President's closest advisers makes such an offensive comment, it is magnified through the prism of all the other hurt and anger directed at this Administration.

The fact that Jonathan, or Ms. Jarrett, fail to see this is troubling indeed. A misstatement is one thing, but a pattern of bad behavior, of tone deaf politics, is another. The "benefit of the doubt" for Ms. Jarrett and the President has long since passed. They are being judged based on their actions, inactions, ad statements. That is not only fair, it is appropriate.

No drama, but very deep hurt and anger.

Posted by: gilbert6 | October 14, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

She was right.
It is a lifestyle choice.
Everything we do is by choice.
Everything, except perhaps our demise.

The heterophobics may get laws changed to accomodate them. I do not believe in violence, but I will not acknowledge such relationships until someone can show me PROOF that these relationships are normal and not the result of outside factors.
For some reason autism has greatly increased. That doesn't make it normal.
We need to find a cure (or whatever is causing these it) for both of these diseases.

Posted by: tjmlrc | October 14, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

this lady is one that need to leave the White House NOW!. She and others has been a very bad and lethal influence on the President. I hope comes Nov. 2 she is no longer around Barry Soetoro,AKA BHO.

Posted by: julcubdish | October 14, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't know enough about Jarrett to know whether she actually believes that homosexuality is a choice, whether she's a bigot or simply mis-spoke. Whatever the case, she's damned by association with Obama, who clearly has no interest in the rights of gay Americans. While Jarrett apologizes for her gaffe, Obama moves expeditiously forward to vigorously defend (again) DADT and DOMA in court, legislation he says he opposes, but does nothing personally to repeal. Well, not "nothing". He does make an occasional uplifting speech, but delivers no follow-through on those issues he says are important to him.

So, sorry Ms. Jarrett if we misjudged you. You may be supportive of our right to exist as equal citizens of this country, and to attend schools and universities without being bullied to death, but your administration is clearly indifferent to these issues.

Posted by: tomsj | October 14, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who has actually seen the video knows that Valerie Jerrett wasn't making a derogatory remark toward gay people. It's ridiculous.

She was actually talking about having attended the Human Rights Campaign dinner (imagine a GOP president doing that) and the funeral of a 13 year old gay boy who was bullied. In that context she said that the boy's parents supported his "lifestyle choice," which, for sure, was an awkward way of stating his sexual orientation. What she was conveying was that his parents supported their son. It's awkward but-- the way that she said it -- but it hardly warrants a backlash.

Again, Progressives Eat Their Own.

That should be the headline.

Posted by: teoandchive1 | October 14, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Johnathan, as you see, you did absolutely nothing to help this situation AT ALL. Then you end your piece by insulting human intelligence with the suggestion those who think she and Obama aren't as gay friendly as they seem, are somehow bigots. Bullshit Johnathan. Simply Bullsheet.

But why am I not surprised? This is coming from the same man who had no problem with Harry Reid's use of the term "negro" nor saying that someone who looks like Mechelle Norris (lighter complexioned) has a better chance at life than Michelle Obama (darkie).

So why would you have an issue with a person sitting right there in FRONT of you who came out of her own unscripted mouth and imply that you are gay by choice.

Really Johnathan, I know many people who like to portray you as the "other" among us but you clearly demonstrated that there may be a smidgin of truth to these accusations.

Posted by: dcis1 | October 14, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"Unfortunately, she,Ms. Jarrett, trampled on that concern when she said that 13-year-old Justin Aarberg made a "lifestyle choice."


.....unbelievable.......

WHITEWASH

WHITEWASH

WHITEWASH

WHITEWASH

.....Sorry but Valerie Jarrett needs to do the samething that a Republican would have had to do RESIGN........

You want to know why Americans are ANGRY?

There angry because we have a dirty dishonest liberal/progressive MSM wolfpack press that has ALIGNED itself with a political party.........

FYI MSM wolfpack press first November 2nd then 2012......and THEN a Fairness Doctrined just for our newspapers and network news organizations.......

Posted by: allenridge | October 14, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Well as long as she has a 'good heart' I guess I don't need my rights. Thanks for setting me straight important DC reporter guy. By the way, if you think the article at firedoglake was "caustic" I hope WA Post set you up with a fancy fainting couch.

Posted by: djonan | October 14, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

THIS JUST IN!

A homeless guy outside 1600 Pensylvania Avenue has been heard making disapproving remarks about the D.C. gay pride parade.

(It seems it interupts his morning bowel movement.)

He has apologized profusely!

Posted by: trenda | October 14, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart states that he didn't challenge Ms. Jarrett because he knew she didn't mean what she said. You're no jounalist, I don't know Ms Jarrett, but, someone who says lifestyle automatically, did not misspeak, she was just called out. Capehart give it a rest and work somewhere else, oh, that's right you couldn't get a jounalist job for a real paper, better stay at Faux Post.

Posted by: dcknower | October 14, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

If she's working at the White House she damn well knows better than that. No wonder the WH is fighting to keep DADT and isn't taking on any gay marriage battles. Weasels, just like Clinton.

Posted by: Lugg | October 14, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

gaylib wrote>>> he (capehart) would defend Jarrett's bigoted, homophobic description of being gay as a "choice".

I understood what she meant - gays' gender isn't a choice, but their lifestyle is.
Don't most gays CHOOSE to come out? that is, unless they're in the military and are outed by traitors.

Posted by: angie12106 | October 14, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

People make choices, folks. Consequences happen.

I am tired of any community shrieking and crying because they were offended. Get over it. Get used to it.

You wonder if Mel Brooks could produce another comedy like "Blazing Saddles," with the PC wu55e5 running around?

"Political Correctness is Tyranny with Manners." - Charlton Heston

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | October 14, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If a person is truly dedicated to LGBT rights, they would NEVER, EVER say that being gay is a "lifestyle" choice. Jonathan, you dropped the ball, hon.

Posted by: linroy62 | October 14, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Anyone with an IQ > 40 isn't surprised. Obama is against gay marriage. Why be surprised that his closest minions would talk like this?

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 14, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The vitriol from the gay activitsts on this blog against someone who is not even their enemy illustrates why many people just tune out some of the whining from the gay comunity. You have the most pro-Gay adminsitration in history and these guys are acting as if Valerie Jarret is a Paladino because she didn't parrot the politically correct terminology in vogue this week! Would you rather have Rush Limbaugh in office? Get a life and some perspective!!

Posted by: PepperDr | October 14, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who do not understand the issue, it is this:

Conservatives rail against gay people because they think we have chosen this "lifestyle" over being straight. They then use this to explain why we do not need equal rights.

If you think for one second ANYONE would choose to be gay, then let me ask you -- when you made the conscious decision to be straight? Also, if people did happen to chose to be gay don't you think there would be massive amounts of people who choose to go back to being straight?

Think about it, if gay people chose this life, they must be the must ultra-committed people on the planet. Because I see very few if any choosing to go back to being straight. And those that do don't remain that way long.

Posted by: clintatl | October 14, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I dream of a day when America will be governed by courageous, upstanding leaders who will not crawl in craven cowardice before the legions of embittered, constantly offended, fringe, pressure groups.

Such a man would bravely tell the homosexual offendees to suck it up, shut up and grow up. That would be like a breath of fresh air in the politically correct polution that suffocates all public discourse.

Posted by: battleground51 | October 14, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

So, Jonathan, b/c you know Ms. Jarrett as a friend, you didn't ask her to clarify her remarks during the interview. But as a journalist, you didn't anticipate what she said could be misconstrued by the public who don't know her like you do?

Seems a bit disingenuous and CYA-like to me.

Posted by: wmaindependent | October 14, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Watch for a mighty KNEE JERK on DADT from Obama as a result of this!

Posted by: wheeljc | October 14, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan, I am a big fan of yours and remain a strong supporter of Pres. Obama despite my profound disappointment at his obvious discomfort with LGBT issues. BUT I must concur with those who are calling on you to apologize for not having asked Ms. Jarrett to take back her ill-advised reference to "lifestyle choices" as soon as the words left her lips.

You're right that she's no Tony Perkins. But shouldn't our standards be much higher than that? As several commentators have already noted, the fact that she is clearly accustomed to using that term suggests that no one in her circle realizes just how insulting it is. Which goes a long way to explaining the administration's poor record on our issues.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | October 14, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

gaylib - your overblown, inflammatory rhetoric is the reason no one feels safe to be human and every once in a while make a mistake, without having to fear some screecher like you saying "she has blood on her hands". A history of discrimination does not mean that when you get mad everyone else should shut up and take what you say as gospel. My feeling is you bank on that history, you leverage it and multiply its power with blood-laced accusations to shield your own words and opinions from scrutiny. I don't shut up. I do challenge you. I do scrutinize you. Your anger is no substitute for facts, of which you have offered none. The more you shout, the less people hear you - or fear you.

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 14, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"These things in concert will not drive me to pull a lever for republicans come November but they to make the thought of staying home very attractive."

If you stay home, it is the exact same thing as pulling the lever for the Republicans. And if you stay home, you have no right to complain.

Posted by: scottsteaux63 | October 14, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

What do you expect from a racist idiot

Posted by: lildg54 | October 14, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Valerie Jarrett strikes me as shrill and charmless to begin with. She's a terrible spokesperson for the elegant Obama.

Posted by: mitt1968 | October 14, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse
very true and class it is funny people think a paostion or money gets you or buys you class you either have or you don't and she don't

Posted by: lildg54 | October 14, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

What guts it must take to stand up to a gay person who has faced a lifetime of discrimination! How very brave of you, as well, to stand up to those who don't kowtow to bigotry. I applaud your decison to so corageously attack those who are the ones being oppressed rather than those doing the oppressing. You can try to convince yourself all day long that YOU are the victim, but it won't bring back the multitude of dead children who took their lives because people like Jarrett can't be bothered with more than paying lip service (and can't even doing that without parrotting right wing memes). Or apologists like Capeheart who care more about covering their own asses than taking a stand for their community. The fact is that Jarrett casually used a term that we've fought for decades. She clearly doesn't have a clue about our civil rights struggle, yet she waxes so eloquently about how much she cares. Bulls**t. If she did, she'd have known. And that's a fact. I'm so sick of people like you getting sanctimonious and calling us whiners and being too angry. And you obviously heard me or you wouldn't be pounding such nonsense out on your keyboard. Shows a lot about your character that you get angry at those who are the victims instead of the bigots. Guess I know which camp you're in.

Posted by: gaylib | October 14, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The interesting thing is, there was, in the 1970's, a pretty open and lively debate INSIDE the LGBT community about whether homosexuality was a lifestyle choice or a genetic (or some other) predisposition.

Some members of the LGBT community argued that homosexuality was a complete lifestyle coice very aggressively, as I recall.

They kind of equated homosexuality with picking a favorite color. You could be gay or straight, in the same vein as your favorite color could be green, or red, or purple.

I think most now agree they were wrong.

But they may have done their cause a great disservice in the process. A lot of really nasty people who hate gays are continuing that debate, with entirely different motives.

Posted by: trenda | October 14, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

gaylib - thank you for proving every word I just wrote. Please cry some more - your tears are truth's vindication. May it always trump emotional blackmail and hyperbole such as yours.

Binky?

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 14, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Typical liberal. It's OK if Jarrett speaks this way, she really didn't mean it, trust me. They always get a pass and a second chance to say what they really meant.

Posted by: delusional1 | October 14, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

and you prove that bullying doesn't end after grade school. Bravo!

Posted by: gaylib | October 14, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@gaylib - Oh yeah, by the way? Thanks for calling me a bigot just because I asked you to back up your accusations with facts instead of passively accepting them as self-proven (which no doubt you'd have preferred). If being a bigot in your book means I'm prejudiced toward truth and logic, and against emotional manipulation and hysteria, then I'm a bigot. Looks like I was right about you leveraging your past of discrimination as a way to get people to shut up - just reread your last post.

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 14, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

From the New York Times Sunday Magazine

"... Obama rarely reaches outside the tight group of advisers like Emanuel, Axelrod, Rouse, Messina, Plouffe, Gibbs and Jarrett, as well as a handful of personal friends. ..."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/magazine/17obama-t.html?pagewanted=all

Whatever happened to the "fierce advocate for gay rights" that I voted for? He's insulated by staffers like Valerie Jarrett.

p.s. Jonathan, I'm appalled that you'd back her up on this. "Misspoke," my xxx!

Posted by: CarolAnne1 | October 14, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I actually think Ms. Jarret's comment is actually reflective of the greater African American community. I read after the defeat of Prop. 8 in California of a direct correlation between the percentage of African Americans against gay marriage, when applied to the number of new voters, was actually the difference in the defeat.

Posted by: ANCLvr | October 14, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Doing homosexual acts is a choice. To say otherwise is to reduce humanity to animals without free will.

Posted by: groovercg | October 14, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

So has the debate on gay/straight lifestyles come to you are a bigot if you do not believe that homosexuality is not biologically inherent and any statement made to the contrary is homophobia? Where is the freedom of choice in this view? Where is the personal accountability that we all, straight, gay or bi-sexual have in our choice of lifestyles and sexual turn ons, offs in this view? I fear that the totalitarian viewpoint of ultra religious conservatives, that gay is an abomination etc, is being replaced by an equally totalitarian view that being homosexual is a biological pre-determined characteristic, that is sacrosanct and never should be criticized or doubted.

Perhaps the truth is that humans are sexual animals and this sexuality is in flux and over time manifest itself in different directions. For some the shift is subtle, within a larger subset, so a gay man may like at one time dark muscle bound men and later blond quiet thin guys while a heterosexual man may move from light petit women to athletic tall women and yes some may even move across the sexual subset boundary and at times like men then later women. Enough of the though police, all they do is undermine the groups that they so often speak on behalf.

Posted by: hansenthered | October 14, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

From the New York Times Sunday Magazine

"... Obama rarely reaches outside the tight group of advisers like Emanuel, Axelrod, Rouse, Messina, Plouffe, Gibbs and Jarrett, as well as a handful of personal friends. ..."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/magazine/17obama-t.html?pagewanted=all

Whatever happened to the "fierce advocate for gay rights" that I voted for? He's insulated by staffers like Valerie Jarrett.

p.s. Jonathan, I'm appalled that you'd back her up on this. "Misspoke," my xxx!

Posted by: CarolAnne1 | October 14, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"A Gay American, Waiting for His EQUAL Rights

Posted by: bem629"

xxxxx

What rights do you not have that normal people have?

Posted by: groovercg | October 14, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

P.S. You also ignore trenda's excellent point that homosexuality was trumpeted as a lifestyle choice by the gay community for years. Typical of aggrieved communities - fight for years to get the mainstream to accept your own labels, then once they do change them and tell the mainstream they're bigots for picking up on the very language you shoved down their throats (can anyone keep up with the ever-changing labels for Americans of subsaharan African descent any more?). So if the people who talk about a lifestyle choice are bigots, then so were the original gay activists who promoted that agenda in the first place. Perhaps there should be a PC newsletter we can all subscribe to so the other 300 million of us can stay current with what a few score people decide overnight is suddenly out and suddenly in. But no, then we couldn't be kept off balance, always on the back foot, never in step. And that's really the point, after all, isn't it...?

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 14, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Groovercg:

Yes, "doing homosexual acts" is a choice. And, "doing heterosexual acts" is a choice.

But, a gay person is gay whether they "do sexual acts" or not.

Sexual orientation is who you are attracted to whether you ever engage in sexual activity or not. So, being gay (being sexually attracted to members of the same sex) is not a choice.

What you are asking is for people who are attracted to the same-sex to live their lives without ever having sex. You are asking them to live a lonely life with no one to love and be loved by. This demand that you make is not fair. Two adults in a consensual relationship does not harm anyone.

Posted by: timncguy | October 14, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Sticking together Mr. Capehart? I see how it is. If that were a Republican, Libertarian or Tea Party member, you would be crucifying them.

Posted by: Jsuf | October 14, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

You're disgusting, Capehart. If this person were WHITE, you'd be all over him. This is why blacks will never have any political voice in this country. THEY'RE ALL RACISTS! You're a joke, Capehart, you and all the other black so-called journalists at the WP. I happen know for a fact that Jarrett doesn't like gays. I'm friends with one of her friends - and Jarrett, according to my friend, is ALWAYS making anti-gay comments. Don't try to take up for her. These people are going to be out of the White House in just a few short months.

Posted by: georges2 | October 14, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

More importantly is that it is the Log Cabin REPUBLICANS that have so far done the most to stop Don't Ask Don't Tell, working against the Obama Administration. The last thing the administration needs is more stumbles with the gay community.

Posted by: mypitts2 | October 14, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

More importantly is that it is the Log Cabin REPUBLICANS that have so far done the most to stop Don't Ask Don't Tell, working against the Obama Administration. The last thing the administration needs is more stumbles with the gay community.

Didn't they trot out Jarret to speak to the Human Rights Campaign?

Posted by: mypitts2 | October 14, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

You're all missing the point. It's not about bigotry or intolerance or even the truth. It's about who has the ammunition. That's what's really being struggled over here.

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 14, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course Jarett gets a pass. Liberals don't really care about these "slurs". They just want an excuse to hate people who don't share their views.

Posted by: bobmoses | October 14, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Gays love obama.
obama hates gays.
Line up to vote for him, sheeple.

Posted by: NObama_In_2012 | October 14, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Shame on Jonathan Capehart for trying to cover up for a bigot! Given the discrimination that black people have suffered, Mr. Capehart must truly hate himself if he is willing to overlook discrimination against others. Shame on you!

Posted by: SCOTTSCHMIDTT | October 14, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"That's why I didn't correct her or ask her to explain herself during our sit-down at the White House."
What a liar. You allowed her to slap gays in the face because she is an Obamarat.

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | October 14, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Every now and then some lunatic-left d-crat socialist blurts out what they REALLY think and then the lamestream socialist fake-news media goes into overdrive to dismiss it and sweep it under the nearest rock. Of course, when a Republican - or "worse", a conservative - does exactly the same, they are vilified nonstop for months by the lamestreamer puppets.

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | October 14, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"But, a gay person is gay whether they "do sexual acts" or not.

Sexual orientation is who you are attracted to whether you ever engage in sexual activity or not. So, being gay (being sexually attracted to members of the same sex) is not a choice.

What you are asking is for people who are attracted to the same-sex to live their lives without ever having sex. You are asking them to live a lonely life with no one to love and be loved by. This demand that you make is not fair. Two adults in a consensual relationship does not harm anyone."

Posted by: timncguy |


xxxxxxxxx

I'm not asking you or any other pervert to do anything.

Homosexual acts are perverse and unnatural. If that's the way you choose to live, there's not much anyone can do about it. However, I can point out the wrongness of it. Of course, homosexuals are trying to do everything they can to take away that right.

Thievery, murder, sex with animals, spousal abuse, and many other perversions are attractive to some people. Who are you to tell them that your perversion is okay and their's is not? You must be a bigot to deny them their natural desires.

Posted by: groovercg | October 14, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I love how she gets such an easy pass!! If any Republican had made that statement they would have been lambasted relentlessly by the media including Capehart.

Posted by: maddogjts | October 14, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Valarie was right the first time it's a shame she apologized.

Posted by: cleancut77 | October 14, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Mellow out you guys.

When I was a teenager, the gay community said gender orientation WAS a choice. The argument for gay rights was a pro-choice argument.

Certainly, for someone who is bisexual occasionally, that IS a choice.

The argument for gay rights has changed as the political and legal environment has changed. Saying it is not a choice puts it in a category like race, gender, etc, and where there are stronger legal protections against discrimination.

So going rabid against people who can't completely recite the current gospel on gay rights is irrational and nasty mean.

I mean, the world is a big place and their are multitudes of issues that different people care deeply about and get hurt about. Gay rights is one, but those of us who care about others are only human and can't keep current on everybody's latest sensitivities.

BTW bigot is a very harsh and demeaning term; the user of the word is basically saying they will no longer listen because the bigot is subhuman ethically. The way its being used and similar to how Glen Beck uses "Nazi" to refer to well-meaning policies and people he happen to disagree with.

Posted by: michael1977 | October 14, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Shame on Jonathan Capehart for being such a shill for this administration. As a journalist, his job is to call out powerful people like Jarrett for dumb comments like these. Lost a great deal of confidence in Mr. Capehart's journalistic integrity on this one. It's embarrassing.

Posted by: dbunkr | October 14, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

michael1977 - sanest post so far.

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 14, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Well...if she was a male, and NOT of the liberal upscale wine sipping community the GLAs would be calling for the tar and feathering to happen at high noon in front of the whole world.

Quite honestly, the GLAs have caused this problem themselves. So make a firm pick - is it a lifestyle choice or is it someting they have no control over?

Posted by: zendrell | October 14, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Sexual orientation is always a choice. Homosexual men have normal testosterone levels, but they lack the enzyme necessary to utilize testosterone. Perhaps homosexual women have too much of the enzyme. However, one still must decide who they are going to have relations with. In prison, a man without this deficiency can still choose to have relations with another man. God says that homosexuality is wrong. Even if someone is born with this problem, they still have a choice and God wants them to make the right choices. Someone may be born with cancer but that doesnt mean that God doesnt want them to find a cure for it. Sure it is easy for gay people to just say, "this is what I feel, this is what I want." However, what God wants is always more important. It may be a struggle, but as a former gay Christian man once said to me, "we all have decisions to make in life, and we have to be sure to make the right decisions." It would have been easy for the miners in Chile to give up hope, and it wasnt easy for them not to. But God gave them the strength to do it. One of the first things they asked for after a second tunnel was drilled was bibles. It is a wise decision for any gay person to ask for the same.

Posted by: Clay5 | October 14, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I lost my brother to suicide in 1984 and there are few days in this discussion when I don't wish I could have some of the conversations to do over again.

He was homophobic and confused himself at the time, as was I, strong traits that ran in our midwestern family, and having watched this and several other strained discussions around bigotry in the last 26 years, it's become clear to me that we all carry some residual from so many cultures and preferences clashing so rapidly in such a relatively short span of time.

I could say both my parents were bigots, except they wanted to do the right thing - they just didn't know how - they couldn't get out of the traps their generations and families were raised in.

Among the worst of those traps was the one where we didn't speak of our differences except in negative terms, the ethnocentric trap, my tribe is always better, my team, my school, my preferences, etc.

My brother never felt like he belonged, even in his own family - and I've had the rest of my life to contemplate the depths of that despair - and see it still playing out in the lives of way too many scared and unnecessarily isolated individuals...

For me, it's easy to forgive Ms. Jarrett. What's difficult to forgive is the still haunting reactions I have to those I find different from myself, whether by race, politics, religion, even still, sexual orientation...

Posted by: thanksforfish | October 14, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Let us not forget that Obama chose to maintain George W. Bush's invention "Office of Faith-based Initiatives" in the White House. It would have been so easy to discontinue this highly inappropriate position in our secular government.

Valerie Jarrett "misspoke". Oh really? Stating that being homosexual is a life-style choice is religious orthodoxy in the black "faith-based" community, and, apparently, that misconception oozed into Ms. Jarrett's subconsciousness.

Posted by: xerocada | October 14, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

And I ask all those who are unsatisfied with what Pres. Obama has done in his two years for not being able to deliver all his promises and fix the wreck that the previous Administration caused our country:

Would you rather have Democrats or Republicans in office and running things? Because that is ultimately what it comes down to in our choices. Nobody can work miracles, not even Mr. Hope himself. And don't dismiss Pres. Obama merely because he hasn't been able to fulfill everything he promised. By the way, I am absolutely not an "Obamabot" or whatever negative name you can come up with. I supported Ms. Clinton through and through. I voted Obama because he was better than the alternative. Please, remember the alternative.

[And for those who will somehow turn this into me being against the gay community, you really shouldn't make quick, rash judgments. I voted against Prop. Hate, and I have been a long time supporter of equal rights for ALL.]

Posted by: cartoongal | October 14, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Clay5 - What you fail to recognize is a) God is sometimes the straw man people use to couch their own prejudices in. "God says" means "The argument is over, I have received the divine revelation, and if you want to continue the discussion either you'll go to hell in the afterlife or my henchmen will concoct some 'divine wrath' to kill you." A highly effective, if logically flawed, means of social control - the medicine man as agent of the divine, and even if he's wrong, why take the chance? b) It means either God is not perfect (unable to prevent the aforementioned enzyme dysfunction) or c) God is cruel (creating people with the dysfunction, which will torture them for life with lust they are prohibited from relieving). Or maybe some scribe put some words in God's mouth to enshrine his own bigotry and shut everyone else up. Given human nature and our schizophrenic portrayal of God (He has a son/God forbid he ever has a son, the Messiah has not yet come/the Messiah has come and will come again, there's an afterlife/there is no afterlife) I'm betting on the latter.

No doubt you'll come back with the fact that double-Y chromosome males are tortured their lives with the temptation to aggression, so why not allow it? Because there's a demonstrated public harm in allowing it; show me the demonstrated public harm in allowing open homosexuals the same rights as the rest of us, including military service and marriage.

There, gaylib. Does that prove that I'm not bigoted against homosexuals - just you?

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 14, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

LGBT? What does the "T" stand for? Is it "transgender?" Aren't those the freaks that wish they were the other gender and do all kinds of horrible things to themselves to try and change? Are supposed to believe that's not a "lifestyle choice?"

Posted by: RVZ555 | October 14, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

treetopflyer, it is amusing that you speak of some cockamamie enzyme theory of homosexuality as though it is scientific fact. It isn't. Being sexually oriented toward members of the same or opposite sex is not a choice, but the actual scholars who study the phenomenon of sexual orientation have absolutely no consensus view of the physical or genetic mechanism. Hormone theories, however, have been repeatedly debunked.

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 14, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Be careful, if you misspeak once, the GLBT community will denounce you a thousand times, talk about "bullying!"

Posted by: Phil6 | October 14, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe you Capehart. Had this been a white Republican, tea party candidate, you would have been all over them like a fly on a you-know-what. I voted for Obama, but never again. The media has done nothing but give him a pass, time and time again. The accusation from Obama himself about the Chamber of Commerce is a classic example. Everyone slammed him on this, no further mention has been made of this. Again, were this Bush, and believe me I was no fan of his, but this would STILL be a story. It took a while, but people are figuring Obama and his crew out. There will be purgatory to pay on November 2nd, and frankly, this President needs to have his tailed kicked back and forth.

Posted by: swimmingfiend | October 14, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Your defense of Valerie Jarret bothers me on two counts. First, if a republican would have "misspoke" he or she would be out on their ear, and the democrats would be crowing.

Second, and way more important than stupid tit for tat politics, we are talking about the life of a young boy, a sensitive young boy who was just beginning to explore his life as we all did at eighteen, nineteen, and twenty. And he got outed in a most cruel and thoughtless way probably before he could gather the strength and maturity to tell his family and childhood friends that he was gay. To mess with a young man's life like this is rude and cruel beyond comprehension, and for Ms. Jarrett to dismiss this as a consequence of his "lifestyle choice" is callous beyond the pale. She should not be defended or excused, democrat or republican.

Posted by: AnnieP1 | October 14, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Your defense of Valerie Jarret bothers me on two counts. First, if a republican would have "misspoke" he or she would be out on their ear, and the democrats would be crowing.

Second, and way more important than stupid tit for tat politics, we are talking about the life of a young boy, a sensitive young boy who was just beginning to explore his life as we all did at eighteen, nineteen, and twenty. And he got outed in a most cruel and thoughtless way probably before he could gather the strength and maturity to tell his family and childhood friends that he was gay. To mess with a young man's life like this is rude and cruel beyond comprehension, and for Ms. Jarrett to dismiss this as a consequence of his "lifestyle choice" is callous beyond the pale. She should not be defended or excused, democrat or republican.

Posted by: AnnieP1 | October 14, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

When our reporters interview people, they're going to have to get a lot snappier on the uptake than they are.
For example, last night, it was reported on the news that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said they were using (quote) "ZERO" foreign interest money on the millions of dollars in political ads they are pounding the TV waves with, all over the country.
Yet, the report is that, when the U.S. Chamber solicits money from overseas sources, multi-national corporations and the like, the money they donate to the U.S. Chamber as solicited goes directly into their general fund and commingles with all the other money they raise domestically.
That being the case, their unsubstantiated denial is not sufficient.
Yet, the reporters let it lie when the Chamber gave their statement.
Later, after the opportunity to drill in on that statement had passed, the reporters returned asking to see the Chamber's books and they were denied.
The Chamber claims it has no obligation to prove a negative.
In the same way, our Mr. Capehart should have immediately asked Ms. Jarrett whether she believes homosexuality is a choice or a fact of existence.
That makes a big difference when talking about the behavior of adolescents, such as the young college freshman who committed suicide.
What difference does it make for DADT whether the Congress passes a new law or the courts overturn the law that stands now as unconstitutional?
Well, it could be years of difference in practice.
I'm perfectly happy to allow the courts to render the witch hunt known as DADT unconstitutional and order it suspended and those dismissed to have their cases rectified, since Congress won't redress this grievance.
I'm not happy to see this administration trying to kick this can down the road, as they are doing right now.
Someone in this comment thread asked what rights are being denied?
Last night on "Rachel Maddow", a flyer said he couldn't list his partner as the person to be notified as "next of kin" should he be injured or killed because it would violate DADT.
Imagine if they said you couldn't notify your wife or your family because it would violate your standing in the U.S. military.
That's one right being denied.
There are others.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | October 14, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

treetopflyer, it is amusing that you speak of some cockamamie enzyme theory of homosexuality as though it is scientific fact. It isn't. Being sexually oriented toward members of the same or opposite sex is not a choice, but the actual scholars who study the phenomenon of sexual orientation have absolutely no consensus view of the physical or genetic mechanism. Hormone theories, however, have been repeatedly debunked.

Posted by: uh_huhh
----------------------------------------------------
I wasn't making the hormone theory argument, I was responding the the enzyme theory clay5 put forward. I'm not a biologist so I don't know either way.

It raises an interesting problem, though. If homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice, then there has to be a biological component to it, whether it's hormones or enzymes or who knows what makes no difference. The point is that something over which a person has no control dictates whether that person is gay or not. If not biological, then what? Mind-bending rays from Neptune? Too much television? It's got to be biological. See, they have no choice. That means homosexuality isn't morally deviant, since morality by definition involves choice. Whew.

But that creates another problem, namely that if it's biological, perhaps homosexuality can be "fixed". Raises all sorts of horror images ranging from Brave New World to the Nazis to Orwell. Cut out this defective gland and your kid will be normal, Mrs. Stanwick. Oops, we just spotted the "gay gene" in the foetus your wife is carrying, Mister Giordano - we'll just pull out a stem cell, chuck the rest, shift a few strands of DNA, pop it back in and you Ken will be Ken and your Barbie will be Barbie, just as Mattel meant them to be. Enough to make anyone cringe, so I can understand why the biological argument doesn't sit well with some, either.

The problem is you can't have it both ways. Either homosexuality is a matter of choice or it isn't. If it is then morality comes into play, if it isn't then whatever is causing the homosexuality might be manipulated in a horrific Mengele manner. Both have their pitfalls, but unless science is the only basis used to make the determination, not fear or politics, the pitfalls will never be dealt with effectively.

Better yet to say "who cares" as to the cause and focus on the effect. No one cared that Typhoid Mary couldn't be blamed for her condition, she still had to be locked up because she was a menace; likewise if someone decides not to wear underwear, that's their business because it doesn't hurt anyone else. No one's credibly proven homosexuality harms society; that means it's no one's bloody business, and that should settle the argument right there. The rest is window dressing and screaming.

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 14, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Jonathan! Thank Jesus the White House has you to clarify their comments. I know I wouldn't want the leadership in this farcical administration to consider their words before they made their commentary - nor should they need to - they have you.
Thanks for letting us know Ms. Jarret didn't mean what she said. When does she mean what she says, if you know?

Posted by: tponcary | October 14, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"Life-style choice" is code for "blame the victim" to everyone who is gay and/or sensitive to our struggle. To say this is a slip of the tongue is equivalent to saying "I didn't mean to use the 'n' word." I don't buy her apology. The Obama White House -- about to go to court to defend(!) Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- is a profound disappointment. Will close out my Democracy Bond monthly contribution to the DNC today.

Posted by: d-robertson | October 14, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

No criticism because Jarrett is a Sistah!!

Posted by: GeneWells | October 14, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Their true feelings come out. They will pay on Nov. 2nd!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | October 14, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Washington has created a false dichotomy structure around whether homosexuality is a choice or not. They want Democrats to say it is inherent and not a choice. They want Republicans to say it is a choice. The truth is, it can be both.

For some people it is no surprise they are gay based on their natural conduct. Others choose to be gay for any number of reasons. Each side would likely take issue with me, but I know what is very obvious to everyone on earth: some people are born that way, others choose it.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 14, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Valerie Jarrett does a 180 degree turn around from a “lifestyle choice” to the politically correct LGBT community position that sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice.

The no choice means a child is born in the body of a male and but gender identity is wired to female. Studies should be conducted to explain why no choice in sexual orientation. Does it make it more valid or natural to be born a female but take on a man’s role with attraction to other make females? I make no sense.

Studies might show environment and children rearing plus genetic chemistry predisposes a physical body of one sex while self-image and behavioral tenders are of the other sex. It does not have to be that way. Choice is involved in one way or the other. Valerie was correct before she changed her mind.

Posted by: klausdmk | October 14, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Valerie Jarrett does a 180 degree turn around from a “lifestyle choice” to the politically correct LGBT community position that sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice.

The no choice means a child is born in the body of a male and but gender identity is wired to female. Studies should be conducted to explain why no choice in sexual orientation. Does it make it more valid or natural to be born a female but take on a man’s role with attraction to other make females? I make no sense.

Studies might show environment and children rearing plus genetic chemistry predisposes a physical body of one sex while self-image and behavioral tenders are of the other sex. It does not have to be that way. Choice is involved in one way or the other. Valerie was correct before she changed her mind.

Posted by: klausdmk | October 14, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

rvz555 wrote: "LGBT? What does the "T" stand for? Is it "transgender?" Aren't those the freaks that wish they were the other gender and do all kinds of horrible things to themselves to try and change? Are supposed to believe that's not a "lifestyle choice?"
==========================================
A recent poster on another Post discussion was a male to female post-operative transsexual. She was born with two X chromosomes and a penis.

I forgot to ask her why she made such an odd choice to be born that way.

Posted by: carlaclaws | October 14, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Lots of guessing, little data. I include myself in that assessment.

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 14, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan is trying to put up a smokescreen around a fact known by both the African-American and gay communities: blacks, even educated ones, are generally very weak on gay rights because they have attended fundamental churches their entire loves in which firebrand preachers continually hammer home the point that homosexuality is a sin. Very little movement has been made in garnering true sympathy from the African-American community. In California, in black urban neighborhoods, Proposition 8 passed easily.

Posted by: socaloralpleazer | October 14, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I supported Hillary in '08 because I know in the core of her being that she gets it. She believes that the LGBT community deserves full and equal rights as a str8 man or woman. President Obama made it clear during the election that he was not in favor of gay marriage,but would support civil unions. Hillary made the same statement. President Obama has had the POWER for two years to do away with DADT, yet he has chosen not to use his power to end it. Every time I think we've made progress in the gay community in gaining acceptance by the str8's like Valerie J., I am sadly reminded of how they think of us. They love our votes, but hate our "lifestyle choice." Sound familiar...Hate the sin, love the sinner. My Afr-Am friends tell me that the Black church constantly preaches against the gay lifestyle. Is that really true? There are any number of things the Obama Adm can do right now to regain the trust of the LGBT community. They had better get at it soon or that secure gay vote will stay home.

Posted by: Woodie731 | October 14, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Tony Perkins is irrelevant to this matter. Capehart uses him as a diversionary tactic. I'm not gay, nor do I have much of an interest in this issue. But the bottom line is that Capehart screwed up as a journalist and doesn't have the guts to admit it.

Posted by: ajonethree | October 14, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world a professional journalist let that statement go is beyond me. If Jonathan indeed 'knew her heart', then he should have let her clear up the matter. Even if he didn't know her heart, it was poor judgment to not follow up on it. To let that idiotic statement go unaddressed is unbelievable.

Posted by: mitchdera | October 14, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

People who make ignorant statements about race are racists. Unless they are Democrats.


People who make ignorant statements about Jews are anti-semites. Unless they are Democrats.


People who make ignorant statements about gays are homophobic. Unless they are Democrats.

Do you see a pattern here?


HYPOCRITES ONE AND ALL


Vote Republican and throw the Retards out.

Posted by: FormerDemocrat | October 14, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

When somebody says something like

"I apologize to any who have taken offense at my poor choice of words"

what more do you need to know?

Phony, disingenuous, weak. Just like Obama's "support" for gay rights.

His actions speak SO much louder than words.

He is presently fighting gay rights on TWO fronts, and we're supposed to care that Valerie Jarrett got her widdle feewings hurt?

Disgusting.

I suggest you ask her why ANYBODY who supports EQUAL RIGHTS should even consider voting for this homophobe.

Posted by: solsticebelle | October 14, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse


Jarrett, you had it right the first time! "Lifestyle choice" describes exactly the LBGT community. I know several former, FORMER, gays who CHOSE to leave that lifestyle.

Don't apologize for what you really believe, and don't give in to those derelicts on society who try to force their way of thinking upon the good folks of this country.

Don't apologize, call it like it is... a choice.

Posted by: Mr2u | October 14, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Why is it when a liberal like Jarrett has a "misstep" the post emails her for an explanation but when a conservative, like, oh, lets say George Allen, does the same thing, it turns into an investigative series tearing apart his character? By the way, Jarrett, like most in the Obama administration, is also a racist.

Posted by: fairfaxgoper | October 14, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Whatever. Valerie Jarrett ran the CTA into the ground and has been uniquely unqualified for every single job she has ever held.

Now, while everyone backpedals and runs for cover, perhaps someone could share with the rest of us the PROOF that biology plays a role in the development of human sexual orientation.

Posted by: bacala1 | October 14, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

When a lefty like Jarrett says anything controversial, they "mis-spoke" and writers like Capehart fall all over themselves explaining what they meant. If a conservative says the same thing, they are immediately demonized. Great journalism, WAPO!

Posted by: kfstewart | October 14, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Hello,

I need an answer to this question. If sexual identity or orientation is not a choice then what is bisexuality? Isn't the very definition of Bi means open to both sexes. Therefore you can choose which sex you want anytime. Please give me an answer.

Posted by: Herbert1 | October 14, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but behaviors are a matter of desire and choice and being gay is a behavior based on desire. Babies aren't born with desires.

Valerie Jarrett's apology interpreted was "I misspoke when I said it was a 'lifestyle choice' I know the truth but just so you won't get offended, it's not a choice."

So, if you are "born gay", you can't make a lifestyle choice to be homosexual??

Posted by: phatter1 | October 14, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it sweet how Mr. Capehart didn't ask Valerie to explain or correct the comment because "he knew her heart". And, further isn't it nice how he e-mailed her later to give her a chance to script out a reply.
I wonder what he would have done if the interviewee was a conservative?

Posted by: bevjoe | October 14, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

What is now tiring is the Obama Administration personnel, Democrats including Harry Reid, and now Valerie Jarrett..always popping off about something regarding race, sexuality, gender, age. It goes on and on.
Harry Reid talked about the way Obama spoke in regard to his race and more, Obama sat in Wrights church for 20 years, Jarrett makes the personal choice comment, Obama put down McCain for age, He made blatant gender jokes regarding Palin and Hillary Clinton, the Obama Campaign called Bill Clinton a racist, now it is the class division to divide us all and this...
But according to them, it is everyone else or of course, a Republican.

Yes, it is tiring. This all needs to stop. Who are the racist and bigots in this picture?

Posted by: Indi1 | October 14, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who, after 21 months of this administration, still believes that President Obama will actually become a leader has not been following the news. He has no interest in the civil or legal rights of the GLBT community, any more than he has an interest in really reining in Wall Street or rebuilding the middle class or overturning Citizens United or establishing a true public option...

Mr. Obama is not a leader. He is a timid politician who campaigns with elan and energy but governs like Herbert Hoover. A leader -- a Lyndon Johnson or a Ronald Reagan -- would announce that he agrees with Judge Phillips's decision overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell and will not appeal, but instead will direct Secretary Gates to move forward with implementing the full integration of gays into the military. It will be a fait accompli.

But he's not a leader; his weakness and hypocrisy on gay issues is reflected in Ms. Jarrett's remarks as much as in his own inaction in the face of conservatives' objections.

I am a lifelong Democrat, a progressive, a liberal, and a visionary of hope, but no matter what my choices in 2012, Mr. Obama will not get my vote.

Posted by: adreed | October 14, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

So yeah... Valerie may be a lovely lady, but I judge her by the company she keeps. And this administration is NO friend of the gay community. No mater what Mr. Obama said to us to get elected.

Posted by: clintat_____________

____________________________________

This Administration is no friend to the American community. I often wonder just what country he thinks he is leading?

Posted by: kctaz | October 14, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Funny how this column is titled "PostPartisan"! Capeheart is everything but non-partisan in his flimsy defense of Jarett's ignorance. The fact remains that no person of any color, race or sexual orientation should be tolerated who showcases the stupidity Jarrett so unconvincingly defends. In her remarks Jarrett successfully underscored the ineptitude of the Obama Administration in tackling the most disgracefully neglected problem of our time, homophobia and it's impact on LGBT youth. One can only go so far in defending a president and an administration, that admittedly, has done considerably good things for our country's poor and underprivileged. However, LGBT youth deserve respect and unequivocal professionalism from our leaders, something Jarrett and now apparently, Capeheart fail to provide alongside the president himself.

Jesús Lebrón,
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Posted by: ProudestLiberal | October 14, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

There is absolutely nothing wrong describing gays as having made a "lifestyle choice." Homosexual is defined as a person who is sexually attracted to members of the same sex. A gay man can choose to live a homosexual lifestyle or a hetrosexual lifestyle. Many gays, sadly, remain in the closet, having chosen a "hetrosexual lifestyle." They might be married to a woman and have kids, only later in life might they choose to be themselves and live a "homosexual lifestyle." Being a homosexual and living a homosexual lifestyle are two different things. Saying someone has chosen a "homosexual lifestyle" does not in any way imply that homosexuality is a choice.

Posted by: trazom56 | October 14, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I actually wonder who Obama does like? It seems to be an easier question than who he doesn't like. We know he doesn't like Jews or he could not have sat in the Rev. Wright's church for 22 years. When Obama came out against Fox News, I was shocked. I had never heard a President make public statements like that before. Then, it was Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Again, I have never heard a President single out individuals before even those who are public figures. Then it was the Cambridge cop. Then, Health Insurers and soon after Big Pharma even though they had allowed themselves to be bought off and gave him 150 million. Before very long, it was Bankers and Wall Street types. Then corporations and those who run them and shareholders which constitutes about half of American and many, many pension funds. Then all cable news. Then BP and Big OIl and Tony Hayward whom he wouldn't talk with as "he knows what those Kinds of people will say". Then anyone and everyone who disagrees with him about anything. I am sure my list is not complete.

He make Nixon and his enemies list look like a piker! I don't know if he has left anyone out except the far, far Left and Marxists. He seems to love them, at least if they have money.

Posted by: kctaz | October 14, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, on further reflection, more people Obama does not like, the Chamber of Commerce who represents small business. All small business people who would like to keep some of the money they earn. He has no clue that most small business people plow what they earn back into their business to reinvest, expand and hire more people. He has no clue that that is how it works. He just thinks they are selfish.

Actually, he thinks we are all selfish. I heard him say in an interview that he can think of a million better ways to spend our money than the American taxpayer can. Ergo, he should have the money, not the people who earn it because he can do a better job spending it. Well, he can certainly spend it, but we have yet to see it better spent.

To my friend above who wants the Chamber to open their books, how about demanding the SEIU and the AFL-CIO open their books? It is not an accident that International is in both their names and they collect dues from all over the world.

He doesn't like the British. One of his first acts was to send the bust of Churchill back to Briton, thus insulting the entire nation. He seems to like foreigners, if they aren't fighting for a Democracy, like Honduras and the dissidents in Iran.

Do you think you will ever hear him chastise Muslim countries for jailing, flogging and killing gays? Don't hold your breath, so I guess he likes them.

I rather imagine Dick Cheney has a much better grasp of gay issues than Obama as his daughter is gay and he is fiercely protective of her. In an interview recently, Laura Bush said she thought the country would evolve to the point where it would accept gay marriage. I can't see Michelle saying that, or Obama.

So, who else does Obama like? I assume I have left someone out. It is definitely a much shorter list than who he doesn't like.

Posted by: kctaz | October 14, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I can just imagine anyone from the Post, calling up a Republican and giving them a do-over like this. Oh, everyone knows Karl Rove doesn't have a racist bone in his body. HAHAHAHAHA.

It was really nice to give Valerie a do-over but she said exactly what she meant. Most people recognize that and, after reading this will only say, "Whatever."

Posted by: bflat879 | October 14, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I accept your pardon of senior adviser Valerie Jarrett's "mistake." But I would love to have seen your column if someone in a similar position in the Bush administration had made the same slip of the tongue. I'll bet there'd have been no free pass in that interview.

Posted by: billkerans | October 14, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Please call all of the citizens of the US when you give the same sensitivity, courtesy and print space to Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, Gov. Brewer, et al.

We will be waiting... You have until November 2 2010

Posted by: DrMysterious | October 14, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

In unenlightened society (probably most Americans)it may be I think considered "polite" to use the phrase gay-lifestyle
to actually avoid saying "homosexual", which is not only a multisyllabic word but really,
really insulting.Force of habit..I guess,. -

Posted by: 18mandm | October 14, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

"She is no bigot." Nope, not Valerie Jarrett. Nor Carl Paladino either. But one of them is honest and the other is not.

Posted by: JBaustian | October 14, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Of course she's no Tony Perkins! While he publicly advocates that gays should kill themselves, Valerie's only desire what to blow a dog whistle to reach whatever segment of the population her statement was targeted to.

Posted by: gjcomm | October 15, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

contrary to popular belief, being gay is a choice. Homosexuality is not an identity. It is a behavior. People can change their behavior if they want to bad enough.

Posted by: baechukimchi | October 15, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I have to say my first reaction was how could she and why would you (the author.)

Having actually listened to the clip, she said "his parents supported him in his lifestyle choice" She did not minimize the injuries of these people or try and put blame on the victims. While being Gay is no lifestyle choice - being out is. If it were not, we wouldn't talk about being out or not. A family being supportive of someone being out and being praised by a white house staffer is hardly bigotry or even out of touch. Really, people listen to what is being said rather than simply reacting to a word sequence.

As to those advocating voting for Republicans...wow, that's bright. We elected a moderate conservative, after so much right wing extremism we mistook him for a liberal, but now, since he's not, let's vote for conservatives so extremist they make Reagan and Bush people look sensible and even handed. Get a grip. If Obama is too far to the right (and I believe he is) the answer is to spank the republicans again and then mount a progressive take over of the Democratic party. Run a liberal against Obama in the '12 primaries with all the hyperbole over the last 2 years we can go as far left as we like now. Fox et al have spent their load smearing Obama as socialist and marxist - if we nominate a socialist what are they going to say? this one's socialister than the last one? The boy who cried wolf has lessons for the boy and for the wolf.

Posted by: TisforTwit | October 15, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Two comments: 1) "I misspoke" - again the hypocrisy/double set of standards when applied to dims vs Republicans. George Allen, R "misspoke" = it destroyed his career and was the subject of MSM 'news' reports for weeks; 2) I would be hard pressed to find someone who looks the part more than Ms. Garrett to KNOW homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice."

Posted by: IQ168 | October 15, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Those of us who are sympathetic to, or part of, the gay community should think carefully before we reject, out of hand, an apology and explanation like this. We need all the allies we can get, even... perhaps especially... among those who come late to the cause.

Directing such invective at these folks when they try to do the right thing only alienates them, their own admirers and supporters and people who haven't made up their minds.

Gracious acceptance of an apology can go a long way to persuading folks that we are reasonable people, and that the issues we are concerned about merit attention.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | October 15, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I think comments like this one go to prove the point I made, above:

"The vitriol from the gay activitsts on this blog against someone who is not even their enemy illustrates why many people just tune out some of the whining from the gay comunity. You have the most pro-Gay adminsitration in history and these guys are acting as if Valerie Jarret is a Paladino because she didn't parrot the politically correct terminology in vogue this week!..."

There are other examples in this comment string, as well (though some are far less polite and well-reasoned).

Posted by: Iconoblaster | October 15, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Methinks Ms. Jarrett gave too much of an explanation of her "poor choice of words." In reality, one's words reflect one's mindset. When one speaks "off the top of one's head," it is often the excuse for an indiscretion. These don't happen unless such thoughts are always there. The world is full of "sensitive," "liberal," and hand-wringing leftists who truly believe being gay is a lifestyle. It simply is no longer fashionable to say so. Mr. Capehart's defense of Ms. Jarrett simply puts him in the same dismal camp, in my view.

Posted by: davidg2e | October 15, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

What a groveling excuse of a journalist is this Capehart. I feel as if I'm reading a junior high newspaper where the school reporter interviews her/his BFF, and when the story comes out, the BFF is embarrassed, and the principal is mad ('cause the BFF's mom is on the school board!) and, well, the reporter's just GOTTA make it all better! So she writes ANOTHER story and now they are BFF's again and the principal is happy! Whew!
The Washington Post has become a joke and writers like Capehart are the reason.

Posted by: juliadee | October 15, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

With all that I've read about Valerie Jarrett, my first and continued thoughts about her choice of words was that she was obviously referring to the fact she felt that the kid had the guts to make a "life style choice" by choosing to be himself and not whom society wanted him to be and for that he was targeted. Nothing that I ever heard or read about Jarrett has indicated that she is a bigot on any level. Take the target off of Jarrett and place it where it needs to be and that is on ignorance.

Posted by: My2cents14 | October 16, 2010 1:54 AM | Report abuse

The root of this problem is that right-minded people have bought into the false dichotomy that if being gay, or black, or short or whatever is a "choice" then any awful thing you can think up to do to them is OK. If it's not a choice, then you have to respect their rights. How dumb does that sound? Since when is it OK to bully anyone to death for any reason?

Posted by: tughillb | October 16, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Or even to bully anyone even not to death. Bullying, even a little, is not OK. We have to find some way to let our kids know that high school is hell, and that it gets better. If those responsible for high schools don't like that accusation, let them fix it.

Posted by: tughillb | October 16, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

This is, of course, more offensive, but it is also a helpful illustration of what those of us in the business community (Jarrett is his "liaison" to us, too) have also experienced. Combined with this home-truth slip of the tongue, I'm washing my hands of him. Gays are the "beaten wife" of these people and businessmen are the whipping boy. I can put up with a lot but I draw the line and head for the door when it's reflexive abuse. Obama's done some symbolic good (perhaps). Now I hope these people make a lifestyle choice to move back to Chicago. We've still got Hillary (if she'll have us.)

Posted by: wag1 | October 17, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Sorry guys, we are not animals. We make choices because we have free will. No one is structured by our DNA to be gay, straight or otherwise. Even in the entertainment world there are plenty examples of women married or going with guys who then live with women and then decide to go back to a heterosexual life. Did they not choose a gay lifestyle and then not choose to be in a heterosexual relationship! It was foreordained? If being gay was something you were born with it must be due to your DNA, so then every identical twin or triplet would have to be gay if one was. But that is not the case. Choice is what you make of it not heredity.

Posted by: Childrex | October 19, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

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