It must be tough to be a U.S. Senator from a place like Nebraska, yet still have the silly desire to decide issues based on fact. It’s just about as red as a state can be and still not be south of the Mason-Dixon line. Its voting patterns suggest a population primarily made up of people who can tell you the names of the entire starting offensive line of the Cornhuskers football team, but who cannot have an intelligent conversation about the U.S. Constitution.
Into this stepped Republican Chuck Hagel as a U.S. Senator whose occasional flirtations with political moderation would get him into trouble with voters back home, including his now famous departure from GOP political orthodoxy when he offered the flagrantly obvious observation that the Iraq war was always about oil and not about Saddam Hussein nor Al Qaeda nor weapons of mass destruction.
That comment alone is probably fueling much of the right-wing ire being directed at Hagel in his bid to become the Obama administration’s next Secretary of Defense.
Hagel’s less enlightened positions on LGBT rights issues while in office — including his support of DOMA and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) — were disappointing, but not surprising from a senator from so retrograde a state. But he no longer has to appease conservative Nebraska voters, and his subsequent apology for his more homophobic positions seems believable.
Which only partially explains why normally leftward LGBT political groups in Washington — including ones that fought vociferously against DADT — are supporting Hagel and the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) are buying full-page ads in national newspapers opposing the nomination.
The Atlantic magazine ran an article Jan. 7 purporting to sort out the reasons why LCR has decided to expend so much political capital (and huge sums of mysteriously acquired advertising funds) to oppose Hagel. Run under a headline “Why the Log Cabin Republicans Won’t Forgive Chuck Hagel,” I expected the article to — at the very least — answer questions about, you know, why LCR won’t forgive Chuck Hagel.
No such luck, however, since one passage in the article exemplifies the stupidity of ever trying to decipher LCR’s motives for doing just about anything that involves criticizing someone else’s motives around LGBT rights issues.
“So why then are the Log Cabin Republicans the outlier here?” asked reporter Ben Terris in The Atlantic. “[LCR interim director Gregory] Angelo says of course he wished more gay rights groups would align themselves with him and oppose Hagel, but their decision not to is just proof that the gay community is not monolithic in its views.”
Thanks for clearing that one up for me.
One hopes that Terris knew how stupid that sounds as he was writing it. I lose respect for anyone who talks about LGBT viewpoints being “monolithic” because it’s clear they either have no idea what they are talking about, or are hiding something else behind such banalities. In the case of the LCR, as is usual, it appears to be the latter.
I cannot say what they are hiding.
Perhaps they are hoping that none of us will notice that they are criticizing Hagel for the very sins they looked past in endorsing Mitt Romney for president.
"It really is the spirit of the bizarre," wrote Rick Jacobs, chair of the Courage Campaign, in a Jan. 7 piece in the Huffington Post. "Here they are spending money from we don't know where for a full page ad after they have endorsed Mitt 'It Gets Worse' Romney. There's a lot of nonsense going on here."
Indeed there is, including the closer look that is needed regarding where the money is coming from for the anti-Hagel ads. Full-page newspaper ads in major American dailies don’t come cheap, especially ones in the Washington Post and New York Times.
We might be able to glean a bit of a hint from two facts: First, the New York Times ad did not attack Hagel on his positions on LGBT civil rights, but rather on his positions on Iran and Israel that do not jibe with the preferred positions of America’s far right wing. Second, the LCR’s anti-Hagel positions are in complete lock-step with the most fringe elements of today’s national Republican Party.
Something very wingnutty is driving and paying for the LCR’s latest foray into tea bagger territory, and they are working awfully hard to hide what it is.
Finally, it should be noted that on they day I was writing this the LCR took out a full-page ad in The Hill newspaper critiquing the GOP for its positions on same-sex marriage — again, despite its having endorsed an anti-marriage candidate for president.
Whomever is pulling LCR’s strings, it’s clear they thought opposing Hagel was worth a full-age ad in the New York Times. LCR thought marriage was so important they took out a full-page ad in a local DC political paper.
We all have our priorities.