In one of their more desperate moves, the neocons, who have shown zero interest in the plight of gay servicemembers in the past, decided to play the gay card. Some of them may even have shoveled money at the Log Cabin Republicans to get them to reverse position on the Purple Heart Republican (LCR won't tell who financed the Hagel smear ad in the NYT). But the reality is that Hagel has clearly evolved, which again offers an opportunity, not a threat:
The charges of Hagelian insensitivity to gay rights, based on several of past votes and one 1990s comment, have largely evaporated. Hagel, like most of the country, has “evolved” on the issue. If the question comes up in the hearings, it will be as a coming out party for acceptance of the gay rights revolution by the Republican establishment. Those who have been involved in the struggle will cheer, as indeed will many who have done no more than observe, often skeptically, from the sidelines.
It seems to me that politically-attuned gays, far from engaging in AIPAC-style smearing, should be thrilled to see a Republican military figure openly backing open gay military service as a nominee for defense secretary. He's a blow both to the neocons and the Christianists. Which, believe it or not, is why many of us supported Obama in the first place: a voice of reason against the fanaticism, utopianism and cant of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld years.
(Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) during a personnel announcement in the East Room at the White House on January 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama has nominated Hagel for the next Secretary of Defense and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan to become the new director of the CIA. By Alex Wong/Getty Images)