Sunday, May 20, 2007

I was disturbed by something that a fairly liberal Democrat very close to me said yesterday. He was willing to vote for Chuck Hagel, should he run, because he was "anti-war" and because he was concerned that a Democrat couldn't win the presidential election. After I jammed my eyes back into my head, I made an effort to explain some of Hagel's other positions, but it didn't seem to make a difference. So, I did some research and emailed him the following (this is a partial list; the bold emphasis is mine):

  • 90% conservative voting record; 95% support of Pres. Bush. (Dec 2006)
  • Voted YES on confirming Samuel Alito as Supreme Court Justice. (Jan 2006)
  • Voted YES on confirming John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. (Sep 2005)
  • Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition
  • Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)
  • Voted YES on Bush Administration Energy Policy. (Jul 2003)
  • Rated 0% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
  • Rated 87% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Rated 36% by the NEA, indicating a mixed record on public education. (Dec 2003)
  • Rated 12% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
  • Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)
  • Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
  • Voted NO on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on reforming bankruptcy to include means-testing & restrictions. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted NO on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on school vouchers in DC. (Sep 1997)
  • Voted YES on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress. (Mar 2006)
  • Voted NO on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity. (Mar 2006)
  • Voted NO on funding for National Endowment for the Arts. (Aug 1999)
  • Rated A by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Voted NO on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted NO on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada. (Jul 2002)
  • Voted NO on allowing patients to sue HMOs & collect punitive damages. (Jun 2001)
  • Voted YES on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Apr 2001)
  • Voted NO on including prescription drugs under Medicare. (Jun 2000)
  • Voted NO on increasing tobacco restrictions. (Jun 1998)
  • Voted NO on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 rather than $6.25. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on killing an increase in the minimum wage. (Nov 1999)
  • Rated 8% by the AFL-CIO, indicating an anti-union voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Nov 2005)
  • Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq. (Oct 2002)
Some of Hagel's positions may have changed, others not so much. The obvious point I was trying to make was that before voting for someone, before trusting someone, to become president of the United States, it might be wise to check out what effect his other positions might have on you and so many others.

I had a similar conversation in 2004 with a student who was about to vote for the very first time. He was a self-described liberal, but felt we had to "win" the war in Iraq. He was voting for Bush. And there wasn't a thing I said that could convince him otherwise. He simply wasn't interested in hearing the truth about how we got into the war, or about any other issue, despite the fact that he strongly disagreed with Bush on everything...except "finishing the job in Iraq" and "protecting our troops". All he heard, all he could repeat, was the Repug theme. It was pretty scary.

Irony: I live in the L.A. area. You know, home of the crazy left-coast Hollywood elite liberals? The first of these 2 convos was with a Hollywood writer/producer. The second was with the son of a behind-the-scenes Oscar-award winner, and was already working as a film editor himself. Sometimes I hate irony.