You might consider that speculating about a candidate's sexuality would be off limits in the responsible media. Yet that's just what happened on MSNBC this morning.
Chuck Nice is a comedian, after all, so perhaps his comments should be taken with a grain of salt. Even so, the panelist on today's "Morning Joe" twice ventured into territory that would normally be considered verboten.
Brad Luna of the Human Rights Campaign was the phone guest, discussing the presidential candidates forum that his homosexual-rights group conducted yesterday. Without endorsing Hillary, he did single her out for favorable mention.
HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR OF MEDIA RELATIONS BRAD LUNA: Hillary does have a certain comfortableness with the issues and with our community. Obviously this is somebody you can tell has had a lot of contact discussing the issues, has thought about them for a number of years, and I do think that her sincerity and her genuineness came across last night.View video here.
MORNING JOE PANELIST CHUCK NICE: Are you saying that Hillary Clinton is bi-curious?
LUNA: I'm not second-guessing anyone's sexuality.
Nice might have been thought to have made an off-the-cuff comment. But soon thereafter he returned to the theme.
Mika Brzezinski began by waxing enthusiastic over the Dem field.
MSNBC NEWSREADER MIKA BRZEZINSKI: You know, you've gotta love the diversity on every level in this campaign. I mean it's really exciting in some ways.
GUEST HOST TUCKER CARLSON: But there is not a gay candidate.
BRZEZINSKI: There is not. But we are definitely opening doors.
CARLSON, addressing himself to Nice: Why do you cock your head to the side?
NICE: What? When I go like this?
NICE: That is like, "come o-n-n-n."
CARLSON: You know, it's kind of a quizzical look.
NICE: Yes, it is a quizzical look. It's like, you know why? Because I've dealt with this, where you're seen as sympathetic to a particular group, it's because you have some ties to that group. So whenever I hear people talk about how completely understanding and sympathetic Hillary Clinton is to gay issues, we all know that it's been kind of floated out there that she may have had experience in that area.
Mika can be heard in the background uttering a disapproving: "Oh, come on."
Imagine the reaction from liberal quarters if, say, a Fox News host/panelist made similar comments: the howls of protest, the allegations of homophobia, the demands for firing. Yet Luna seemed to react with equanimity to Nice's "bi-curious" question. Stay tuned.