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Video: Don't Mask, Do Yell

by Jeremy Hooper

Tonight at the Netroots Nation conference, President Clinton was in the midst of giving a nice, fairly rousing speech. But then activist and G-A-Y friend Lane Hudson decided to make things more interesting:

It hasn't been the best week for Clintons and audience members. Public speak with caution, Chelsea.

**UPDATE: Lane puts it in his own words: Why I Interrupted Bill Clinton [HuffPo]

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Your thoughts

Never been a 'fan' of Slick Willie even though I voted for him 2x.

Posted by: John Ozed | Aug 14, 2009 9:45:09 AM

I'm not sure that the most effective way to get your message across is to interrupt a speaker at a conference. Especially when the speaker is a former President of the United States and the conference doesn't have a lot to do with your cause.

It didn't appear to me, based on the applause supporting President Clinton's admonishment of the heckler, that we've won any friends there.

It is an effective means of halting serious debate and creating a false sense of support for your position when you can dispatch hecklers to many events related to your cause. As the GOPO, Grand Order of the Perpetually Outraged, wing of the GOP have demonstrated in the past couple of weeks.

Posted by: Owen | Aug 14, 2009 9:54:55 AM

Honestly, Owen: I don't think Lane even thinks it was the most effective way. But it was raw, real, and just -- happened.

Yea, the initial response was weird. But honestly, by the time the speech was over, most people seemed to be okay with it as a tactic. Even if it's not something they would have done themselves, it seemed like most understood the motivation. And even Clinton, in a closing portion of the speech that my dead iPhone was unable to catch, said that he appreciated the young man who challenged him.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 14, 2009 10:13:56 AM

i wish he was still president
check out my Bill Clinton blog

Posted by: adugan | Aug 14, 2009 12:37:27 PM

In General I think yelling out things during a speech is a bit juvenile. However, in this case it was a fair thought out question, not some silly question that some idiot at a Town Hall meeting would come up with.

I think Clinton's answer was interesting, but it was excuse ridden.....and seemed to me he never really did say it needed to be repeal, so in that case he sort of jumped around the question.

Posted by: Rob79 | Aug 14, 2009 2:49:30 PM

You actually think the people were booing you because of your position? Man, you must be a world class douche! I agree with your positions on those issues, but people were booing you because you interrupted a speech by a former President. You could have asked Clinton if he loved kittens and puppy dogs and they would have booed you.

What a self important jerk you made yourself to be with the following. [Bill Clinton] talked about a new progressive era and how America has changed. [...] So, at the point that he said, "We need an honest, principled debate", I knew I had to try to stimulate the discussion. So, I stood and said, "Mr. President, will you call for a repeal of DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Right now?"

The immediate response shocked me at the time and still does. Those surrounding me yelled at me, booed, and told me to sit down. One elderly lady even told me to leave. While I was among the supposed most progressive audience in the country, they sought to silence someone asking a former President to speak out on behalf of repealing two laws that TOOK AWAY RIGHTS OF A MINORITY. I was shocked. [...] I'll let you judge for yourselves the reaction of the audience (I especially LOVE the "I love you Bill!!!" while justifying DADT.)

douche bag!

Posted by: Chris | Aug 14, 2009 3:40:28 PM

Chris: Just so we're all on the same page: Lane didn't write this post. He blogs at HuffPo. Or you can find him on twitter @tlanehudson.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 14, 2009 3:48:45 PM

I've had a chance to read Lane's article and President Clinton's response.

IMO, President Clinton is right. We failed to provide the support for President Clinton's effort to allow gays to serve in the military. I remember the time well and very much appreciated President Clinton's efforts on our behalf. President Clinton took a lot of grief over DADT then and Hillary Clinton took a lot of grief over DADT during the last election.

President Clinton may not be a fierce advocate for gay rights as President Obama is, but President Clinton kept his campaign promise and made a real attempt to lift the ban. President Clinton deserves our respect and appreciation as a friend who stuck his neck out for us.

Posted by: Owen | Aug 14, 2009 7:09:58 PM

They really should have set aside some time to open the floor up for questions. While it probably wasn't the best form, I do have to applaud Lane for exercising the strength of his convictions, and screaming out. I think that we all deserve answers to those questions. It was also particularly gracious of Bill to spend time addressing the question. And, as it turned out, also a bit fortuitous that Lane asked those questions at the time that he did.

We can all say what we want about Bill Clinton's Presidency, and the fact that he could have vetoed those two bills. But they were both passed by veto proof majorities, and would still have been voted into law, with or without his signature. And, I don't think that we would be in the place where we are today without President Clinton breaking the proverbial ground, as it were.

Even though DOMA and DADT were not in any way we had hoped for at the time, at least the conversation began. And at that time in our history, public opinion was wholly stacked against us. Today, because of Clinton's efforts, and the effort of a hundreds of others, we are seeing public opinion swing toward favoring us.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Aug 14, 2009 8:25:36 PM

You were rude. Don't try to justify it.

Posted by: Kb | Aug 15, 2009 10:18:13 AM

Kb, I think you should address your "rude" comments to Lane Hudson, the "rude" individual who actually screamed out the questions.

Or, if you are suggesting that any of us are being rude for voicing minimal support for Lane's outburst, then I, personally, will happily be called rude. I, at times, am rude, and obnoxious, and condescending, and snide, and probably a dozen other distasteful things. Some times you've got to be rude. ACT UP was exceptionally rude, and they kept news of the AIDS epidemic on the front pages of newspapers for years. You could say that colonial Americans were rude when they dumped tea in Boston Harbor - along with a few other more choice words.

Bill Clinton isn't our enemy. He did stick his neck out for our cause, and did suffer as a result. But even he, after the first blush, appreciated that Lane blurted out his "rude" questions. If Clinton doesn't think that Lane was rude, then who are you to judge.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Aug 15, 2009 2:17:19 PM

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