On Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, host Keith Olbermann tried to link John McCain and other opponents of allowing gays to serve openly in the military to anti-gay extremists like the American Family Associations Bryan Fischer, who has claimed that Adolf Hitler and other Nazis were homosexuals. Olbermann: "Why is this former presidential candidate siding with opponents of repealing Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell who now claim it could lead to an all-gay army, an all-gay army like the kind they claimed Hitler had? ... John McCain is marshaling his own resistance to the Senate amendment, inexplicably siding be with right-wing fringe groups who are attempting to out-homophobe each other to prevent historic progress for gay Americans."
But Olbermann also tried to lump more mainstream conservative groups like the Family Research Council in with extremists, and seemed to agree with guest and columnist Dan Savage when he claimed that "Hitler treated gay people the way these right-wing bigots would like to treat gay people":
DAN SAVAGE: Hitler treated gay people the way these right-wing bigots would like to treat gay people, gay soldiers the way these right-wing-
KEITH OLBERMANN: Mm-hmm.
SAVAGE: -bigots would like to treat gay people and gay soldiers. They were driven out of the armed forces. They were locked up in concentration camps, and they were murdered.
Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Thursday, May 27, Countdown show on MSNBC:
KEITH OLBERMANN, DURING COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:18 P.M.: And why is this former presidential candidate siding with opponents of repealing Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell who now claim it could lead to a all-gay army, an all-gay army like the kind they claimed Hitler had?
OLBERMANN, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:41 P.M.: The latest argument against repealing Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell is that Hitler’s army was 100 percent gay. Why is John McCain siding with people who believe this crap?
OLBERMANN: It still faces a full vote in the Senate, but tonight the Senate Armed Services Committee has voted 16-12 to repeal the 17-year-old ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military. Fifteen Democrats joined by Republican Susan Collins of Maine in favor of repeal, 11 Republicans along with the Democrat, Jim Webb, of Virginia voting against it. The House expected to vote tonight or possibly tomorrow. Either way, Speaker Pelosi telling reporters today, quote, "The votes are there." But in our number one story, before Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell becomes "Don't Remember It, It's History," John McCain is marshaling his own resistance to the Senate amendment, inexplicably siding be with right-wing fringe groups who are attempting to out-homophobe each other to prevent historic progress for gay Americans. Dan Savage joins me in a moment. First, the New York Times reports that the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, solicited and received letters from the chiefs of four branches of military calling for the vote to be delayed until after a Pentagon review. That's after the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs already had endorsed repealing the law.
A new CNN poll out this week indicates nearly eight in ten Americans and nearly 60 percent of Republicans favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military, 60 percent of Republicans. Speaking for the minority opinion, Family Research Council, Peter Sprigg. He told reporters, yesterday, quote, "Protected class status for homosexuals would make victims hesitant to report assaults and make commanders hesitant to punish them for fear of appearing homophobic." According to Mr. Sprigg, "The most common type of homosexual assault is one in which the offender fondles or performs oral sex on a sleeping victim." Cliff Kincaid of the America's Survival Group, also of Accuracy in Media, warns of an Army of cross-dressing Corporal Clingers. His group also produced a ten-minute long YouTube video which warns, "Disease-tainted gay blood threatens our troops ... open and active homosexuals in the military could result in the spreading of deadly HIV-tainted blood throughout the ranks. And when all else fails, there's always the Hitler card. This is Bryan Fischer from a group called the American Family Association.
BRYAN FISCHER, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION, CLIP #1: Hitler himself was an active homosexual.
FISCHER CLIP #2: -soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual soldiers basically had no limits in the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whoever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Storm Troopers, the Brown Shirts were male homosexuals.
OLBERMANN: We got a bonus tonight, see the audition tape of the guy who finished second to Glenn Beck. Joining me now, as promised, the author of The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage and My Family, columnist Dan Savage. Good evening, Dan.
DAN SAVAGE, COLUMNIST: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Can you, I know this is, it's like asking people to explain, I don't know, mythology or something, but could you explain how Hitler who had people murdered for being gay, also had this all-gay army that did his murdering done for him in between their assaults on straight soldiers who were surprisingly sound sleepers?
SAVAGE: It’s inexplicable. It's a big lie. Hitler treated gay people the way these right-wing bigots would like to treat gay people, gay soldiers the way these right-wing-
SAVAGE: -bigots would like to treat gay people and gay soldiers. They were driven out of the armed forces. They were locked up in concentration camps, and they were murdered. And so this guy decides particularly the Brown Shirts on the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler disbanded the Brown Shirts and had their head, Ernst Rohm, murdered, leader who may have been gay. Hitler was not an active homosexual. Hitler was married to a lovely female, Eva Braun, and had a very strange relationship with her. But there’s no evidence, none whatsoever, that Hitler was a homosexual, active or otherwise. This is a measure of their desperation. They're losing the battle. That’s why they’re trotting out all of these really appalling and easily disproved lies.
OLBERMANN: Are you ever surprised at the lies or how absurd they are or the venom that comes from these groups of idiots?
SAVAGE: No. Whenever they're on the verge of losing culturally, the outcome, you know, the most appalling, bigoted statements. We've been hearing this sort of hyperbole for 40 years, 30 years, back when the first gay and lesbian civil rights laws were being enacted, we heard that, you know, we couldn't let gays and lesbians be teachers, and we had Anita Bryan in Florida, the Briggs Initiative in California, and we couldn't let gays and lesbians be teachers because they were crude and they were going to recruit your children. All of that is not true. These laws have been passed. There aren't gay teachers out there recruiting or raping your children. There won’t be gay soldiers out there recruiting or raping other soldiers. HIV positive people can’t serve in the armed forces. There will not be HIV positive blood on the battlefield. Soldiers are required to wear what they're required to wear. So there aren't going to be an army of Corporal Clingers, although that would terrify, you know, our opponents in al-Qaeda and Afghanistan if we did send an army of Colonel Clingers over there.
OLBERMANN: Is there something you think specifically about gays serving in the military that these people don't like? Or is it, as you're suggesting, this is like a timeline in which wherever they encounter the gay, these bizarre straight people, presumably straight people, who knows, have to overreact just because this is the latest battlefield, no pun intended.
SAVAGE: Well, first, that's a really great point. Who knows who’s lifting these people's luggage, these folks who are so paranoid about people being felated in their sleep. I’d like to know what’s going on in their heads. I think they're projecting, some of them. Whenever they're on the verge of losing, they trot out these desperate nightmare scenarios, and they really are on the verge of losing the last two final issues when it comes to gay rights, which is service in the military and marriage. And increasingly, the country is ever more supportive of full marriage rights for gays and lesbians, perhaps not using the word "marriage," perhaps civil unions as in the United Kingdom, but full marriage, full civil enfranchisement for gay and lesbian citizens. And military service for gay and lesbian citizens. We're seeing the end of official government discrimination against gays and lesbians, and it's really sending them over the edge.
OLBERMANN: Briefly, if 60 percent of Republicans say it's fine by them, why is John McCain doing this and why is he on the side of these nut bags?
SAVAGE: John McCain is doing this to appease the Tea Party whack-a-doodles in Arizona and to, you know, run to the right and appeal to the hard, crazy, bat crap conservative right that is tossing incumbents, ancient incumbents, like McCain, are particularly at risk. And this is just a crass political move on his part. He said during the election, the very recent election that he lost, that if the heads of the military service supported the end of DADT, he would support it, and now he doesn’t. The man is a liar and the last dishonest man.
180 on this issue is appalling and transparent.
OLBERMANN: Agreed. Dan Savage, columnist and author of The Commitment, many thanks as always.
SAVAGE: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: That’s Countdown for this, the 37th day since the Deep Water Horizon oil spill began. I’m Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.