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Reply #2: Not saying I disagree with your position. But I will offer this as counter [View All]

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rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-10-13 05:41 AM
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2. Not saying I disagree with your position. But I will offer this as counter
But for other progressives, concerns over Hagel have nothing to do with Israel. They have instead expressed two unrelated objections: (1) back in 1998 -- 15 years ago -- Hagel voted against James Hormel as Ambassador to Luxembourg on the ground that Hormel, as Hagel put it, was "openly, aggressively gay" (for that concern, see Barney Frank, who completely reversed himself on Hagel from two weeks ago, and Rachel Maddow); and (2) Hagel is a Republican, and Obama should nominate a Democrat in order to show that Democrats are capable of running the Pentagon and military policy (see Markos Moultisas and Daily Kos).


When it comes to LGBT equality, 1998 is a different universe. Virtually no prominent Democrats (let alone Republicans) supported marriage equality back then, or even equal rights for LGBT citizens. In fact, Hagel's comment came only two years after the overwhelming majority of Democratic Senators voted in favor of the truly odious and discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act -- including Joe Biden, Patty Murray, Pat Leahy and Paul Wellstone -- which was then signed into law by Bill Clinton. That law not only defined marriage as between a man and a woman, but barred the federal government from issuing any spousal benefits -- immigration, tax, death benefits -- to same-sex couples. If you're going to judge politicians by how they felt about LGBT issues 15 years ago, be prepared to scorn almost every national Democratic Party hero you have as a bigot.


So yes: like virtually every prominent politician in both parties, Chuck Hagel had primitive and ugly views on gay issues back in 1998. But shouldn't the question be: does he still hold these views or, like huge numbers of Americans, have his views evolved since then? Hagel has apologized for what he said, an apology which Hormel accepted, graciously noting: "I can't remember a time when a potential presidential nominee apologized for anything ... Since 1998, 14 years have passed, and public attitudes have shifted -- perhaps Senator Hagel has progressed with the times, too." Moreover, Hagel last week also vowed that he is "fully supportive of 'open service' and committed to LGBT military families."


The openly gay foreign policy insider, Steve Clemons, has known Hagel for years, and two weeks ago wrote in the Atlantic that "Chuck Hagel is pro-gay, pro-LGBT, pro-ending 'don't ask, don't tell.'" Beyond his policy views, Clemons recounted personal incident after personal incident that completely negates the accusation that Hagel now harbors bigotry toward gay people.

Given how progressives assess other politicians, why should Hagel not be forgiven or at least be given the benefit of the doubt? Look at what Democrats are willing to forgive and forget. They swoon for Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, who in 2002 voted to authorize George Bush's attack on Iraq, surely a far worse offense than Hagel's ugly comments about Hormel. They overlook Biden's obnoxious 2006 comments about Indian-Americans and Obama's patronizing and sexist use of "sweetie" to dismiss a female reporter in 2008. They adore the top Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid, who opposes a woman's right to choose. They even forgave long-time Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd for his past membership in the Ku Klux Klan. Where does Hagel's 1998 comment rank with those bad acts?


I'll be honest... I don't want Hagel or any Republikkan chosen
But for conversation purposes I throw this out
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