Senate confirmation hearings have begun for Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s pick for Defense Secretary, and the former lawmaker insists he’ll make ensuring equal treatment for all service members a “high priority.”
Responding to an inquiry from Sen. Mark Udall (D-O), Hagel said he supports the policy to allow military chaplains to perform same-sex ceremonies in states where they are legal. “All men and women deserve the same rights.”
Opposition to Hagel from Big Gay seems to be abating as he doubles down on his promise that he’s evolved from 1998, when he criticized the nomination of Ambassador James Hormel because Hormel was “aggressively gay.”
Use Your Mandate, a mysterious LGBT group still focusing on blocking the Hagel confirmation, has been questioned for its ties to Republican Party. Reports the New York Times:
Portraying itself as a gay rights group, [Use Your Mandate] has sent mailers to voters in seven states — including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Montana — and run television ads against Mr. Hagel in New York and Washington. It has sent out posts on Twitter questioning his gay rights record and asking, “Is this what we worked so hard for?”
Established gay rights activists have expressed skepticism about the group’s authenticity. It has no Web site and it only lists as its address a post office box in New York. But paperwork filed with the Federal Communications Commission link it back to Tusk Strategies, a bipartisan political group founded by Bradley Tusk, a former strategist for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York.
In an interview, Mr. Tusk would only identify its financiers as Democratic “gay and L.G.B.T. people who have been active in campaigns around the country.”
Yet federal records show that Use Your Mandate uses Del Cielo Media, an arm of one of the most prominent Republican ad-buying firms in the country, Smart Media, with clients that have included the presidential campaigns of former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah and Senator John McCain of Arizona; the 2010 Senate campaign of Christine O’Donnell, who was known for positions against homosexuality, in Delaware; and, as it happens, the Emergency Committee for Israel.
Boy, those Republicans will get into bed with anyone won’t they?