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« The company one keeps | Main | Let them eat paint »

Oct 30, 2007


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Alan Cone Bulluck

She realized all of this and became passionate a month after she said she was not going to seek the nomination and a few weeks after an openly gay man announced that he would seek the nomination?

Democrats are desperate.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Democrats in this state are hypocrites. And pathetic.

A "fresh voice" in Washington? Are you kidding?

Dave Dobson

If venom from people who'll never vote for her is a good sign, she seems to be doing OK so far.

Dr. Mary Johnson

The issue is not "venom". The issue IS (don't you love that word?) does this politcal party practice what it preaches?

And the answer is CLEARLY no.


How is saying, "hypocrites," and "pathetic," not venomous?

Dave Dobson

So, you're saying, as soon as a gay guy runs for office, no other Democrats should challenge him, because we're so pro diversity? That's pretty ridiculous. What about Obama vs. Clinton? Oh no! The forces of affirmative action will surely detonate and create a rift in space-time. That's just weird.

Likewise, if you're saying Hagan is only running because the other guy's gay (and I can't even figure out what the reasoning there would be) then I think you're completely off base, or projecting, or both.


gay... schmay... meaningless junk. I really dont care why she is running. A Dem for our State Senate running on "fiscal responsibility" raises a red flag in my mind. But I will see what her voting record is as an individual.

I really dont see myself voting for a Dem but I am no Liddy fan. Never have been.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Again, Dave. Venom's not the issue (although I say what I mean and mean what I say). And like Mick, I'm NO FAN of Liddy Dole. But Hagan's about face (clearly and quickly backed by the state's Democratic "establishment" ala Jim Hunt) REEKS of hypocrisy.

I mean, get real. The party powers-that-be clearly believe that "the gay guy" (your venomous words, not mine) can't possibly win in North Carolina. So they've got to put up someone else. Fast. That's pathetic.

"Pro-diverstiy"? Yeah. Sure.

Ed Cone

It seems reasonable to ask if the Democratic party establishment would have been satisfied with Jim Neal as its only option if Neal was not an openly gay man.

My guess is: No.

He's never held elected office, his name recognition is nil, and as a recent re-transplant to NC he gives up leverage on a key issue, Dole's carpetbaggery (note the opening line of Hagan's video, "North Carolina is my home...")

Are some North Carolina Democrats discomfited by Neal's sexuality, for reasons of realpolitik or prejudice? Sure.

(I thought Anglico had a very good answer in these comments the other day to the trolling question, "Why do Democrats hate gays?" His answer: "For the same reason Republicans do.")

Neal is not entitled to the nomination because he's gay, any more than being gay rules him out.

I don't believe that Kay Hagan is motivated in the least by homophobia. I've always been impressed by her, and I look forward to seeing what kind of campaign she runs in the primary, and what kind of campain Neal runs.

After that, well, we'll see.

Dole is a disappointment. I thought her resume and connections would make her a star in the Senate and that she might do a lot of good for North Carolina, but that hasn't happened, as pretty much eveyone I speak with, Dem or Republican, agrees.

Does that mean she'll lose? Not necessarily. NC has not elected a Democratic Senator in a presidential election year since 1968. She's got $$$ and name recognition. And November '08 is a long way off.

Dave Dobson

If you consider "gay guy" to be some sort of insult, then I think that clarifies where you're coming from pretty well.

I'm surprised that nobody's mentioned the now-clear evidence that Hagan and the Democrats are hatefully bigoted toward graphic-designers. Or that homosexuals hate graphic designers, or would it be that graphic designers hate homosexuals? Now I'm confused.

cara michele

Mary, I admit that my first thought was that North Carolina Democrats went looking for another candidate because they were concerned that Neal's sexuality would be a liability in the race against Dole. Of course, as Ed suggests, there could be any number of factors involved here, and Hagan's decision to run may have nothing to do with Neal's sexuality. But even if it does, is that hypocrisy, or is it just politics? Political campaigns are about getting candidates elected.

The Republican Party has recently been known as the party of social conservatives and family values. And yet, many Republicans are lining up behind Rudy Giuliani as their candidate for 2008. I keep hearing that he's the only one who can beat Hillary. Is that hypocrisy, or is that politics?

And is that any different than state Democrats looking for an alternate candidate because they're concerned that an openly gay candidate can't win here? (If indeed, that's what's actually happening.)

Elizabeth Wheaton

Ed: Right, right and right again.

As one who has had a tiny bit of experience in Democratic Party politics in Guilford and Randolph counties, I would take your explanation of the Neal factor one step further. He has, to my knowledge, never been active in party politics, here or anywhere else.

I assume the NC Dems admire his courage in stepping forward to challenge Dole as much as I do, but I know that the party leadership would much rather have one who is tried and true as the candidate in such a prominent election. And I'll wager that the Republicans would feel the same way.

It has absolutely nothing to do with one's sexuality, hair color or style of dress. It has everything to do with party experience.

I look forward to the Hagan and Neal primary campaigns. From what I know of both of them it will be run with the kind of respect and fairness we rarely see in politics these days.


I don't think too many folks are fooled by whatever reasons are given for Hagen to be a candidate.

What's the the real reasons that caused her to change her mind?

There are several answers to that that are way too obvious.

I can't see this as being a good career move for Kay Hagen.

Ed Cone

Over at Blue NC, there is some criticism of the Democratic Party -- "Democrats vs progressives" was my headline on a previous post.

And there is also some breast-beating here from a handful of commenters who would not vote for Hagan or Neal under almost any imaginable circumstance.

I wonder if the circumstances and speculation around Hagan's choice will matter to the vast majority of possible Democratic voters, most of whom have yet to hear of Jim Neal or his candidacy.

My guess: No.

Hagan will need to reach out to people who are suspicious of her personally. I think she will do that very effectively. And if she gets the nomination, it's hard to see anger at the national and state DPs staying the hands of voters fed up with Dole and the Bush-era GOP.


"'s hard to see anger at the national and state DPs staying the hands of voters fed up with Dole and the Bush-era GOP."

It's hard to see either of the Dem candidates standing any sort of a reasonable chance at winning the general election.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Call me "liberal", but I personally think "gay" should be irrelevant, Dave. "Gay guy", "gay girl", it's simply demeaning to categorize people by who they love, or what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms.

"Party experience" matters little to me. I care about honesty and integrity - something I have not seen much of at any level - from either party.

And Elizabeth, I was not aware that there is ANY effective Democratic party politics in Randolph County.

The CA

Ed, I suppose the question "why do you hate America?" is always inherently a trolling question.

Did you ask Hagan why she changed her mind about running all of the sudden? Nobody is being fooled by the change of heart. Neal comes out, Hagan changes her mind. The reasons she gave you for running existed before Neal came out and before she said she wasn't going to run. I don't think she's a homophobe, but I think the party locally and nationally freaked out when Neal came out and didn't want a gay candidate to be the party standard bearer in this senate race. I think it was pragmatic for reasons that go beyond North Carolina politics, but completely hypocritical.

I think the message is we like gays. We are tolerant of gays. We just don't want to be identified as the party of gays. There are just too many rednecks in North Carolina who will go to the polls on election day solely to defeat a gay candidate for Senate and that will be bad for the party ticket down the line. I think that is exactly the thinking of the Democrats and that is why they coaxed Hagan into running after she already said she wasn't.

To use one of Britt Whitmire's favorite expressions, you can't polish that turd.

Dave Dobson

Here's what doesn't make sense to me. If she thought the race was hopeless before and still does now, there is no conceivable reason for Hagan throw herself on her sword just to keep a gay person off the ticket. That just doesn't add up - she's been through enough elections and done enough in office to make it clear that she's in it for the job, not for some bizarre social statement or sacrifice-fly grand party strategy.

The CA

How do you explain the change of heart with the timing of Neal's disclosure? A better question is if she thought it was hopeless a month ago, why does she suddenly believe it's not? Nothing has changed except for Neal coming out.

I think you are being naive, while others are simply trying to provide cover.


Hagen may have gotten in the race, in part, because Grier Martin decided that he would not. What I heard or read elsewhere (can't remember where) was this:

Charles Schumer, who has the job of recruiting Democratic candidates for the '08 Senate races (a job Dole had for the GOP in '06, along with fundraising.. how'd that go for you, Liddy?) wanted Martin.

Hagen saw the handwriting, or took the hint or whatever. But Martin ultimately decided he wasn't ready for such a big step. So Hagen got back in. I can't understand why anyone thinks that is a big deal, or how that could possibly make her a hypocrite. There's certainly nothing desperate about it.

Democrats (and many other North Carolinians) would like to see the senior senator retire to her home in the Watergate. '08 looks like a pretty good year for it to me. Ed points out that NC has not elected a Democratic Senator in a presidential election year since 1968. But there'll be no Nixon '72 or Reagan '84-type GOP landslide to give her a helping hand in this election. The GOP candidate at the top of the national ticket may end up winning in NC (although I certainly hope not) but I suspect that Dole won't have any long coattails to ride on. She'll have to win it herself. I've seen Hagen in action in the NC Senate. She can hold her own.

I respect Mr. Neal's desire to serve our state. If he can make a convincing case as to why he should be elected, he'll get my vote in the primary and a lot of other people's votes, too. Otherwise, I expect to see Hagen v. Dole... and it'll be fun to watch.

The CA

The problem with that theory is that Hagan and Martin both announced they weren't running the very same week. Anyone who thinks they didn't converse beforehand about whether either was going to run is also being naive.

And why did Schumer want Martin over Hagan? Do the Democrats hate women, too?

Ed Cone

Pearce argues that Schumer liked Martin's military background.

He also makes the same point I did in a previous comment: It's not like Neal was the ideal candidate before he outed himself. Maybe he'll prove himself a star. Fine by me if he does, but he doesn't have some special claim on the nomination because he's gay.

And as I said before: "Are some North Carolina Democrats discomfited by Neal's sexuality, for reasons of realpolitik or prejudice? Sure." You can no doubt include some national Dem strategists in that as well.

The crocodile tears of people who would not vote for Hagan or Neal, or who back a party that is actively opposed to gay rights, are of no great interest to me.

But it's a fact that tensions between progressives and Democrats over gay issues exist, and have for some time.

The CA

I would rather be in a party that is upfront about their positions than one based on hypocrisy, and I am not that interested in apologists and people trying to make excuses for same. Anybody with any common sense and honesty (key word there) knows that Hagan's decision was driven by pressure from the national and local Democratic Party out of fear of having a gay man on the top of the state ticket and the effects that might have down the ballot. Anything else is just lying and propaganda to cover this up.

Dave Dobson

Fascinating, Sam. Would you mind providing any actual evidence for these smears, or do you and Miss Cleo just know the hearts of all Democrats?


This naive, dishonest, lying propogandist who lacks common sense stands by his post, thank you.


"I would rather be in a party that is upfront about their positions than one based on hypocrisy" -- CA

Say what? The party of Foley, Vitter, Craig and Privette? You'll be quitting the Republican party then, right? I mean, to stay would just be downright, what's the word? Hypocritical?

The CA

Look what happened to those guys, Roch. Look at my posts on all of those guys. Who said they should resign? I did. Now contrast that with how Democrats treat their liars and hypocrites. We also aren't dealing with specific instances of conduct by individuals, rather the hypocrisy of an entire party.

The facts and the timing and every other argument put forward and the flaws in same speak for themselves. Hagan says she won't run. Martin says he won't run. Neal comes out. Hagan immediately reconsiders. Nothing has changed about Dole. Hagan knew Martin wasn't going to run. All the excuses fail. Now you can be honest about it, deny it, or lie to cover it up. Just don't get on my ass for stating that I believe it is hypocrisy. You don't have to agree, but you will not change my mind. Reserve your anger for the anti-gay hypocrites running the Democratic party. The case for hypocrisy is much stronger than the case against it.

As I said before, there are those who are naive and those who are simply trying to provide cover.


"The party of Foley, Vitter, Craig and Privette?"

Another day, another name to add to the list: Washington State Rep. Richard Curtis.

The CA

Add another party to the list: NC Democrats.


CA, I don't think it's hypocrisy. I think it's politics, pure and simple. Maybe the two (hypocrisy and politics) are close-cousins, but they're not identical twins.

Kay Hagan is a fundamentally good person, though a bit too business-friendly for my tastes. She sized up the situation, heard from the Establishment, and decided she could win the primary. Fair enough.

But to take that next step and say Neal had nothing to do with her decision is absurd. If it didn't, she's either terribly naive or dumb. And from all I know, she's neither, She's smart and shrewed and successful at what she does. She just should have been straight about her assessment of the situation.

My issues with Democratic Party leadership are different. They're operating too much like Republicans to suit me. The day Neal came out, big dogs in Raleigh put out the word "don't start writing checks . . . there will be another candidate."

You might say I'm jealous of you. The Republican Party kowtows to its extremists. The Dems? Not so much.

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