LCR Member Hammers Group Over Hagel Hypocrisy

Berin Szoka, a gay Republican who has been a longtime supporter of the Log Cabin Republicans, hammers the group and says he’s no longer involved with them after their hypocritical stance on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary while endorsing many Republican candidates with strongly anti-gay agendas.

Shortly before Christmas, in response to gay advocates, Hagelpublicly apologized for his comments — and added that he “fully supports” openly gay servicemembers. The nation’s largest gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, and largest gay servicemembers’ group, Outserve, applauded Hagel’s apology — as did Hormel himself, even endorsing his nomination. Yet in a second full-page ad run Tuesday in the Washington Post, Log Cabin calls Hagel’s apology “Too Little, Too Late.”

Keeping the controversy over Hagel’s comments alive gives some Democrats a convenient excuse for opposing Hagel: Can he be trusted to implement repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?” That reform is one of the few wins progressives can claim from a president they see as disappointingly “center-right.” So it’s the perfect wedge issue for attacking Hagel’s left flank while rallying conservatives — provided it comes from the right messenger: gay Republicans.

Craven as that is, it’s even more of a stretch for Log Cabin, which hasn’t exactly been tough on gay rights. Mitt Romney opposed DADT repeal, marriage equality, employment non-discrimination and essentially every other gay issue Log Cabin stands for — yet Log Cabin still endorsed him, albeit in a “qualified” way. Now they oppose Hagel, who’s said he’s “fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families” — the only gay issues a secretary of Defense actually handles. That bizarre double standard will frustrate what should be Log Cabin’s top goal: encouraging Republicans to improve on gay rights — precisely as Hagel’s done.

Log Cabin’s Romney endorsement declared that “building a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party requires Republicans reaching out to Republicans.” Apparently, that tolerance doesn’t extend to Republicans who believe that, in foreign policy, discretion is the better part of valor. That’s why I’ve quit Log Cabin, an organization I’ve been involved with for a decade and whose annual D.C. holiday party my partner and I used to host.

It seems to me, though, that this kind of thing is inevitable. If you’re gay and you publicly support a party that has made anti-gay bigotry a central part of its agenda for decades, cognitive dissonance is bound to happen. You can’t support gay rights and the Republican party at the same time without contradicting yourself repeatedly.

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  • slc1

    Look folks, the opposition to Hagel from the right, particularly the neocons, has nothing to do with gay rights, Israel, Iran, Cuba, or military cutbacks. It purely get even time for them because Hagel had the temerity to oppose the Iraq war after voting to authorize it.

  • jeremydiamond

    Andrew Sullivan has been calling for the identity (or identities) of the financial strength behind the LCR anti-Hagel ads. I’m curious myself.

  • Dennis N

    Welcome back to the world, Mr. Szoka. I see you have just crawled out of a cave and must have missed the 5 years Mitt Romney was running for President, and the time a few short months ago when the LCR endorsed him.

  • The real reason neocons oppose Hagel has nothing to do with gay rights. It’s because he probably won’t support the number one thing on their wish list right now: bombing the shit out of Iran.

  • Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    So, Rich Gays for Low Taxes on Rich Gays [and, um, not murdering rich people or gays, please?] has made it clear that progress on issues of equal rights with respect to sexual orientation is irrelevant if you aren’t in a position to lower taxes on rich gays, and if you are in that position, lowering taxes is far more important than said equal rights?

    Shocked. Shocked I am to find a priority on cash rather than equal rights existing in this establishment!.

  • Francisco Bacopa

    Are the Log Cabin Republicans even for real? Seems like they exist only so other conservatives can say “See, some of my best friends are gay.”

  • demonhauntedworld

    Somebody needs to write a follow-up to Greta Christina’s fantastic “Why Are You Still A Catholic?” piece entitled “Why Are You Still A Republican?”

  • jnorris

    I am happy for the Hagel nomination. Pres Obama needs people around him who speak their minds. But given the incompetence shown by Republican Tea Party senators, I don’t hold much hope for Hagel as his competence is a threat to the Republican Tea Party Hive.

  • Michael Heath

    jnorris writes:

    I am happy for the Hagel nomination. Pres Obama needs people around him who speak their minds. But given the incompetence shown by Republican Tea Party senators, I don’t hold much hope for Hagel as his competence is a threat to the Republican Tea Party Hive.

    The primary opposition to the Hagel nomination is not Tea Party Senators but neo-cons along with Senators Lyndsey Graham and John McCain. I have little doubt the tea baggin’ Senators will vote against a Hagel nomination if they’re told to do so, but it should be pointed out where the leaders of the opposition lie.

    Pat Buchanan’s latest newspaper column on this topic did an excellent job revealing the defective arguments used by Mr. Hagel’s primary opponents; especially their absurd claim that Mr. Hagel’s views our outside the mainstream.