Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Richardson To Make OR Look Bad on Lehrer Hour Tonight

Update, 5/9 1015AM--
From the comments, a request on catching the interview: go here for the transcript, audio, or streaming video...

Oh swell--PBS viewers nationwide will be treated to the Charge of the Light-Headed Brigade:
State Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, is scheduled to appear on the PBS television program “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The show airs on OPB, Channel 10.

Richardson is no fan of gay rights and drew criticism last month for saying it was a sorrowful week that saw passage of the gay-rights bills along with the Virginia Tech shooting. Comparing that massacre to gay-friendly legislation set off a storm of criticism for the Medford-area conservative.

Did Richardson repeat that comment for the NewsHour? Tune in to find out.
Not likely, but I'd say the chances of him leaving a positive impression on most Lehrer watchers is probably nil. If you want to read Richardson's press release announcing the gig {pdf} it doesn't say anything controversial, but it does note that interviewer Lee Hochberg is a veteran of the NW beat for over 20 years at the show, so assumedly he's well aware of Richardson's public viewpoints. If Dennis doesn't repeat the "tragedy" line, I would hope Hochberg reminds him of it. We'll see.

One other thing the release mentions is that this isn't the first time Richardson has taken up the discriminatory position on a national public affairs show; here's the transcript of his stint on Hardball in 2005 with Andrew McDonald, who was helping to engineer CT's civil unions at the time. (In a bizarre coincidence, one of the other guests on Hardball that day was none other than Jim Lehrer!) A couple of snippets for your enjoyment:
MATTHEWS: Mr. Richardson, one of the problems that your side has in this is that young people my kids‘ age are totally against discrimination. When you talk to kids in their teens now, they say, what‘s the problem with gay people getting married? They don‘t even get what you‘re talking about. Do you know that?

RICHARDSON: I understand, because, at their age, they don‘t have the experience that older people do as far as what is good for society and what is not.

We have in Oregon reciprocal benefits, a bill that will give benefits to couples regardless of their sexual orientation. Why should there be additional benefits given based on what people do and just carving out additional benefits based on their sexuality? That doesn‘t make any sense. If it‘s fair, it‘s fair for couples regardless.

MATTHEWS: So, in other words, if two brothers live together, two brothers live together in perpetuity, they never get married and they stay together, two sisters stay together, they would have the same rights as two same-sex lovers, in other words?

RICHARDSON: Absolutely. If it is fair for two people, why should it be based on their sexual orientation?


MATTHEWS: Representative, is that a way of avoiding and countenancing gay relationships? It sounds like your proposal is a way of not getting your hands involved in saying, yes, we agree with this kind of relationship.

RICHARDSON: Well, the majority of Americans have said what traditional marriage is. Those that are in favor of civil unions are saying, we want marriage by a different name. And you‘re not going to convince either side that they ought to give in to the other side.

The reciprocal benefits merely focuses on those things, those items that are fundamental fairness, issues like decisions at the end of life or inheritance or ownership of property, visitation in the hospital. These are issues that should be provided for couples regardless of sexual orientation.

MATTHEWS: All right, Senator McDonald, you‘re a strong advocate. I think you‘re stronger on this show than the issue is in the public. But if this was the only debate, you would be winning it. [emphs mine]
Yeah, you know the old saying: If you're not down with gay marriage at 20, you have no heart, but if you're not against it at age 40...!