ASK THE REPUBLICANS.

ASK THE REPUBLICANS. So now John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton have all been asked, with varying results, whether they agree with Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace�s assertion that homosexuality is �immoral.� Much ink has been spilled on their answers. But I haven�t seen that the leading Republican candidates for president have been asked the question, and I�d be interested to hear the results.

Mitt Romney would probably give a full-throated �You betcha!� -- fervor of the converted, you know. McCain, I�m guessing, would hem and haw in a pathetic and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to signal to the conservatives that he�s on their team without sounding intolerant. But what about Rudy? The guy who dresses up in drag, has plenty of gay friends, and used to march in the annual gay pride parade in New York? He�s obviously not going to say homosexuality is immoral. But if he dodges, it ought to be just as big news as it was for Hillary.

This is hardly the only uncomfortable question the Republican candidates are likely to face. I�m waiting for the day when someone stands up at one of his town meetings and asks John McCain if he is born again. For McCain -- an Episcopalian -- the answer is �no,� but in a Republican primary, that�s the wrong answer.

But back to the immorality question, the interesting dynamic here is that Democrats generally believe, correctly or not, that their candidates are all perfectly fine with homosexuality, but are too politically cautious to say so (with the exception of Edwards, who gave the right answer the first time he was asked). Republicans, on the other hand, probably aren�t quite sure what their candidates actually believe. So why doesn�t somebody ask them?

UPDATE: Ah, see the first comment for some answers.

--Paul Waldman

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