Actual Politicians Respond to ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star’s Comments About Genitals

Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin lament the reality TV star’s inability to speak his rather weird mind.

(L-R) Willie Robertson, Phil Robertson and Si Robertson of Duck Dynasty attend the A+E Networks 2012 Upfront at Lincoln Center on May 9, 2012 in New York City.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Dec. 19, 2013, 5:30 a.m.

Ap­par­ently, if you’re a politi­cian and have the chance to weigh in on the scan­dal sur­round­ing a real­ity-tele­vi­sion star who said, “It seems like, to me, a va­gina — as a man — would be more de­sir­able than a man’s anus,” you don’t miss that chance.

Duck Dyn­asty star Phil Robertson has been in­def­in­itely sus­pen­ded by A&E over his ho­mo­phobic com­ments to GQ magazine. Some more high­lights from that in­ter­view:

Start with ho­mo­sexu­al be­ha­vi­or and just morph out from there. Bes­ti­al­ity, sleep­ing around with this wo­man and that wo­man and that wo­man and those men. Don’t be de­ceived. Neither the adulter­ers, the id­olat­ers, the male pros­ti­tutes, the ho­mo­sexu­al of­fend­ers, the greedy, the drunk­ards, the slan­der­ers, the swind­lers — they won’t in­her­it the king­dom of God. Don’t de­ceive your­self. It’s not right.

In a state­ment Wed­nes­day, A&E said it was “ex­tremely dis­ap­poin­ted” by Robertson’s re­marks. But, for one reas­on or an­oth­er, sev­er­al high-pro­file Re­pub­lic­ans are now com­ing to Robertson’s de­fense.

“Free speech is an en­dangered spe­cies,” Sarah Pal­in wrote on Face­book on Wed­nes­day night. “Those ‘in­tol­er­ants’ hat­in’ and tak­ing on the Duck Dyn­asty pat­ri­arch for voicing his per­son­al opin­ion are tak­ing on all of us.” Pal­in’s “in­tol­er­ants” doesn’t refer to the guy who went off on gay people to a ma­jor Amer­ic­an magazine. It seems to refer to A&E for sus­pend­ing him.

But it’s not just Pal­in. “Phil Robertson and his fam­ily are great cit­izens of the State of Louisi­ana,” said Gov. Bobby Jin­dal in a state­ment Thursday. “The polit­ic­ally cor­rect crowd is tol­er­ant of all view­points, ex­cept those they dis­agree with.” He goes on:

I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine in­ter­views or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it of­fens­ive. But I also ac­know­ledge that this is a free coun­try and every­one is en­titled to ex­press their views. In fact, I re­mem­ber when TV net­works be­lieved in the First Amend­ment. It is a messed up situ­ation when Mi­ley Cyr­us gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets sus­pen­ded.

We’re really al­most done with this year, but why not get one last men­tion of Mi­ley Cyr­us in a ser­i­ous press state­ment from a guy who has con­sidered run­ning for pres­id­ent? It’s also our re­col­lec­tion that Mi­ley Cyr­us’s twerking nev­er said any­thing about how gays are doomed to etern­al dam­na­tion. And, as Josh Barro writes at Busi­ness In­sider, “No clause in the First Amend­ment es­tab­lishes a right to star in a real­ity show on A&E re­gard­less of what you say to GQ about va­gi­nas and anuses.”

Duck Dyn­asty def­in­itely has a whole lot of fans. But this really seems like a situ­ation where it’d be best for politi­cians to de­lete those press state­ments be­fore blast­ing them out.

Up­date (11:01 a.m.): Ted Cruz chimes in be­cause sure why not.

Just pos­ted to the Cruz cam­paign’s Face­book page:

Free Speech Mat­ters

The reas­on that so many Amer­ic­ans love Duck Dyn­asty is be­cause it rep­res­ents the Amer­ica usu­ally ig­nored or mocked by lib­er­al elites: a fam­ily that loves and cares for each oth­er, be­lieves in God, and speaks openly about their faith.

If you be­lieve in free speech or re­li­gious liberty, you should be deeply dis­mayed over the treat­ment of Phil Robertson. Phil ex­pressed his per­son­al views and his own re­li­gious faith; for that, he was sus­pen­ded from his job. In a free so­ci­ety, any­one is free to dis­agree with him—but the main­stream me­dia should not be­have as the thought po­lice cen­sor­ing the views with which they dis­agree.

And, as PC en­for­cers of­ten for­get, tol­er­ance is a two-way street. Here’s what Phil him­self had to say about ac­cept­ing and lov­ing every­body:

“I my­self am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll un­til I hit rock bot­tom and ac­cep­ted Je­sus as my Sa­vior. My mis­sion today is to go forth and tell people about why I fol­low Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teach­ing is that wo­men and men are meant to be to­geth­er. However, I would nev­er treat any­one with dis­respect just be­cause they are dif­fer­ent from me. We are all cre­ated by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of hu­man­ity. We would all be bet­ter off if we loved God and loved each oth­er.”

Un­like Gov. Jin­dal, the Texas Re­pub­lic­an at least isn’t bring­ing the first amend­ment or Mi­ley Cyr­us in­to this.

Up­date (11:25 a.m.): And now the pres­id­ent of the United States of Amer­ica

Ap­par­ently, People Magazine asked the pres­id­ent about “Duck Dyn­asty” in an in­ter­view that’s in the mag’s latest edi­tion, but not yet fully on­line. The ques­tion­ing seems to have come be­fore the scan­dal. TIME‘s Zeke Miller tweets out the de­tails. 

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