Thinking Clearly About Hagan and Neal

So much has been said and said again about the Hagan and Neal Senate situation that I felt it was important for me to put down, in one place, my opinion on the matter.

Let's start with the facts, nothing else. Here's the sequence of events:
1. DSCC recruits Brad Miller, Miller takes a pass.
2. DSCC begins recruiting Martin and Hagan.
3. Buzz develops around Martin, who becomes the DSCC's top choice.
4. Jim Neal announces his candidacy.
5. Hagan says she won't run.
6. Martin announces he won't run.
7. DSCC turns back to Hagan, who is interested in getting back in the race.
8. Neal visits the BlueNC community and acknowledges that he is, in fact, gay.
9. Hagan announces her candidacy.

Now, from these facts listed above, some have come to the conclusion that Hagan was pulled back into the race because party leaders feared that a gay candidate could not beat Elizabeth Dole. Obviously this can be nothing more than speculation, since we don't know what made Kay Hagan reconsider and get back into the race. Seems to me that there are a couple of possibilities here:
A = Hagan got back in the race because Jim Neal outed himself.
B = Hagan got back in the race because she sincerely had a change of heart about the best way she could serve her state.
C = Hagan got back in the race because, with Grier Martin out of the way, she could be the clear front-runner.

I’m willing to concede that A is entirely possible, but since there is absolutely no evidence to support the claim, I can’t accept it. Hagan would like us to believe B, and it’s possible that this is truly what happened. Only Hagan can know something like that. I suspect that the true reason that she got back in the race is a combination of B and C, but, again, we can’t know for sure.

So, since we cannot know exactly why Hagan made the decision that she did, we must base our conclusions on imperfect knowledge. My philosophy is generally to give all people the benefit of the doubt. Hagan is a distinguished, honorable public servant. She’s a loyal Democrat who has fought for working people, children, and seniors. I’m willing to accept her explanation because I don’t know her to be a bigoted or callous person. Ultimately, this comes down to how you think about the people involved, and perhaps how you think of the political system as a whole. If you’re like me, you think that the folks involved, like most politicians, are generally good (flawed) people trying to do the right thing. Ambitious, sure, but not by necessity amoral. If you believe that the people involved are simply cynical manipulators concerned only with personal prestige and power, you probably aren’t willing to give Hagan the benefit of the doubt.

Comments

I am willing to give Hagan the benefit of the doubt

that she is not bigoted, herself. However, I have worked this through my head every way I can, and can't come up with any other reason than she is/was manipulated by a cynical party machine that just doesn't see GLBT as part of any winning equation, unless GLBT is the population whose vote is being courted.

Should it matter at all? No, it shouldn't. None of this would matter at all in a perfect world. But it's not a perfect world. Yet.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

i have to disagree

Like I said, there are at least three possible reasons Hagan made the decision she did. We may all have our suspicions, but we can't say that it's impossible that Hagan made the decision for B or C. Thus, it's all about how you feel about Hagan specifically and politicians in general.

How do you distinguish cynicism from realism?

My friend lcloud wrote:


...a cynical party machine that just doesn't see GLBT as part of
any winning equation, unless GLBT is the population who
vote is being courted.

How do you distinguish realism from cynicism?

Heck, I heard Barney Frank - he's a wonderful gay US Congressman - on the radio yesterday saying that putting protection for transgendered persons into an anti-discrimination law that he's working on would doom the law. Is he cynical or realistic?

I understand the passion about Neal. I heard Neal speak and liked him a lot. But what evidence do we have that he could beat Dole?

Note: I'm not asking about what is "right" or what upholds our values, or whatever other criteria you might have for supporting Neal over Hagen. I want to know why you think that Neal could beat Liddy. I don't mean your feelings here (lots of feelings have been posted here already). I mean polling data, trends in other states, elections in NC counties and cities, anything that would count as actual signs that our populace is read to accept a gay male candidate over cuddly, sweet Liddy.

And thanks to phoenixdem for starting this thread.

-- ge

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
http://george.entenman.name

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
https://george.entenman.name

zabouti!!

(I just love to say that screen name!)

I think that Neal has an excellent chance of beating Elizabeth Dole.

For one thing, he really wanted to run - commitment goes a long way in running a race.

The positions he stated during his live-blog session here were what won me over, not his orientation.

When Gordon asked him about his top 3 priorities, he told us he really had 5:

I've got 5 not 3: restoring Protecting our nation and its freedoms, fiscal reponsibility, health care for all Americans, protecting our environment and restoring government accountability to the voters who elect and pay the freight for the elected reps.

Sounds good so far.

When asked about his sexual orientation and if a gay man could get elected in NC, his response was;

I'm not running this race to lose. I'm not running to make some social statement. I'm running to lead in the Senate for the voters in NC-- something Senator Dole has not done.

When people meet me, they'll see beyond the labels and into my character.

Besides the excellent dismissal of the non-issue of his orientation, he has a clear idea of what his job will be when he's elected, and knew exactly who to jab at.

On energy;

We have no choice-- as a state and a nation-- to move with a sense of urgency to make up ground and move forward with lightspeed to address the assault on our environment which this Administration has ignored. Our state and its natural resources and incredible and are treasure we can't lose-- and that's one battlefront which has been ignored.

On representative government:

I will visit every corner and every county of this state. I'm not a politician guys-- I'm running after every vote. When I win, I will represent every voter and citizen of this state regardless of whether they supported me or not.

That's the right thing to do. It's what I believe a good leader should do.

On public financing:

As someone who's done a lot of fundraising, I've always referred to political dollars as "the dirty underbelly of democracy." It's repugnant the amount of money required to mount a national campaign-- which I'll do-- but it's gotta change. Public financing across-the-board: the only way to take dollars out of the equation. This is an election, not an auction.

On the veto of S-CHIP and health insurance:

I think it's absolutely repugnant, appalling and if anything-- the best example of why Senator Dole is OUT OF TOUCH!!!!

We have 120,000 kids in NC who were abandoned by her vote which represent less than 1/2 of the 270,000 kids with no heath insurance.

EVERY child, man and woman in this state and this country should have access to affordable health care. Or nation-- our core values-- are under assault by an Administration and those who prop it up-- when a sick American goes bankrupt b/c they're sick.

i don't think a candidate could more closely match the priorities I would set myself.

That's why I support him.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Barney Frank and ENDA

Heck, I heard Barney Frank - he's a wonderful gay US Congressman - on the radio yesterday saying that putting protection for transgendered persons into an anti-discrimination law that he's working on would doom the law. Is he cynical or realistic?

I love Barney Frank - if for nothing else than the way he smacks Patrick McHenry around from time to time. But eliminating the transgendered from ENDA so it can pass would be like saying "blacks have the right not to be discriminated against -- except in these particular situations. There are some times when political expediency does not justify gutting a law, particularly one protecting different classes of people. I believe Frank is wrong on this.

So maybe he's cynical and realistic - but he's also wrong.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Barney Frank

is great and very very smart. I've also heard him put Patty in his place. I loved it.

Lovex7

Sorry, lcloud. Didn't know

Sorry, lcloud. Didn't know you were going to post the same thing.

Lovex7

Yay! You're here!

Hiya!

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Lurk

Yeah, I've been lurking. Can't stay away and comment too much tho'. I think it is funny that the DSCC is messing up their pants.

Lovex7

Isn't it to be expected, though?

Hope Mom is well.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

They blew it

all the way around. They (they meaning Chuckie and Harry) think we are a bunch of yokels down here.

Mom is doing physical therapy five days a week. We are going to bring her home for the day on Thanksgiving... it is also her 93rd birthday. Her youngest son comes to see her once a week and you know that perks her up.

It's hard for me to criticize my own party in print, but I see some others have no problem with it. This is my two cents worth.

Lovex7

Oh....I have no problem with it

I don't even try to be fair.....and that's not fair...I know. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

not a problem!

glad to see you around!


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I'd be willing to consider this:

I suspect that the true reason that she got back in the race is a combination of B and C, but, again, we can’t know for sure.

were it not for some of the comments I read when this subject was discussed on Dailykos the day after Jim was here, where one skeptic proclaimed (paraphrasing here), "If you think a gay man can win in North Carolina you're naive as hell. I guarantee the Democratic Party is scrambling right now to come up with someone else."

Of course it's not proof, but it ain't no far-fetched conspiracy theory, neither. :)

But...as maddening as something like this is, we have to get past it here at BlueNC. If folks here want live blogging by candidates at this site to be on everybody's list of "Things I need to do", we need to address a broad spectrum of issues and do so with objectivity in mind.

We have a unique opportunity to explore issues as well as people here, and give the voters a little more than a sign in a yard or a 30 second expensive and flowery tv commercial to base their choices on. If we want a more in-depth analysis of politics (and I know we do), it needs to start here. If we can't do it in this (progressive) environment, it probably won't happen.

Really?

You're basing your interpretation of this situation on a post or comment on Daily Kos? Really?

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracts. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Do you really think that's my only reason?

I guess I should have said, "among other things..." to avoid any veiled attempt to subjectively categorize my commentary as naive. which, I might add, is one of the things I hate about many of the comments at Dailykos...

The reason I mentioned that obtuse individual's comments was to highlight what many people were already thinking but wouldn't say outloud, and how it's extremely unlikely that Neal's sexual orientation did not generate a lot of backroom damage control behavior by the powers that be.

What crossed your mind when you became aware that Neal is gay? I'm not trying to set you up with that question, I'm just trying to show how dubious the argument, "His being gay had nothing to do with it" comes off.

Interesting question, Steve.

I didn't know Jim Neal was gay, even though I had talked with him for an hour the Monday before he live-blogged. When I finally found out, I had three immediate thoughts.

1. Wow. That's an interesting turn of events.

2. I wonder if Jim Hunt knew about this when they talked, and when Jim Hunt apparently offered encouraging words of support. (I doubt he knew.)

3. I wonder how long it will take for the Big Boys to drum up a primary opponent.

Within 48 hours after Neal came out, the whisper campaign cranked up. The word on the street was clear: "Don't start writing checks to Jim Neal. There will be another candidate."

And now I've become a civil rights activist!

Go figure.

I'm not sure that this discussion will prevent

candidates from live-blogging.

I think that this is an important discussion to have, as uncomfortable as it is to have.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Any candidate, Republican, Democratic or Libertarian

is welcome here.

I've extended a personal invitation to Senator Hagan, and her campaign manager she would "let the Senator know." I hope she says yes.

Live-blogging at BlueNC is a chance for Kay to introduce herself to 6000+ political activists, many of whom are deeply committed to unseating Elizabeth Dole. It's hard to imagine that she wouldn't want to take advantage of that opportunity.

Dang! Still no good arguments that Neal can win.

I like Neal fine. And I've loved Barney Frank ever since I heard him speak at UNC way back before he was even gay! ;-)

If you want me to vote for Neal in the primary, convince me that no Democrat can beat Dole, and then I'll vote my heart (depending on what I learn about Hagan, of course).

But if Hagan can beat Dole, but Neal can't, then I want to have Hagan running (and vice versa, of course).

And much as I love all BlueNCers, the fact that we like him is just no evidence of electibility. Sorry.

Just so you don't feel bad, Linda, I'm writing down Zabouti again so that you can say it real loud!! ;-)

-- ge

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
http://george.entenman.name

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
https://george.entenman.name

George

But if Hagan can beat Dole, but Neal can't, then I want to have Hagan running (and vice versa, of course).

There's no way to answer this question. Which forces us to fall back on principles. Neal's the progressive in this race, no question about that. If he can beat Hagan, he can beat Dole. That's how I look at it. And that's why I'm supporting him. Plus, equally important to me, it's become a civil rights issue. Bob Geary summed it up nicely.

Huh?

How is Neal "the progressive in this race"? On which issues is Neal more progressive than Hagan? Considering the fact that Hagan's been in the race for only a couple of days now, we don't even know with a lot of specificty what she's running on. We know she doesn't think highly of the war or the President's SCHIP veto. And she has a fine progressive record in the General Assembly. So, how is Neal more progressive than Hagan?

Two things

1. The NC Senate led the charge on tax cuts for the rich in the last session.

2. Kay was ranked along with all the Senate Republicans as officially "business friendly" by NCFREE.

That first issue alone should be enough to give you pause if nothing else does.

BlueNC and Hagan in the Pilot

Scott Mooneyham writes a pretty good article: Gay Candidate Faces Plenty of Obstacles

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

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