Although President Obama nominated former Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, to be his next Secretary of Defense three hours ago, two conservative groups are already out in opposition: one a gay rights organization, the other a pro-Israel group. Below is a television ad produced a few weeks ago by the Emergency Committee for Israel that aired on cable stations in the Washington, DC market:
The same group also purchased the domain name ChuckHagel.com to criticize Hagel for supposedly being too soft on Iran and Syria and weakening the U.S. relationship with Israel. ECI says it seeks to “provide citizens with the facts they need to be sure that their public officials are supporting a strong US-Israel relationship.” It’s board includes Bill Kristol, a prominent neo-conservative and editor of the Weekly Standard.
The Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative gay rights group, highlighted Hagel’s past problems with the gay and lesbian community in a full-page ad in today’s Washington Post. Gay rights groups are drawing attention to a comment made by Hagel in 1998 disparaging then-President Bill Clinton’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, James Hormel, as “openly, aggressively gay.” Hagel has since apologized for the remark as “insensitive,” but the Log Cabin Republicans seek to tie Hagel’s comment in a larger anti-gay and lesbian framework, including his prior support for “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act.