Continuing my streak of posting stories after they’ve dropped off the blog news cycle, My Left Wing explains why Hagel is still a right-wing nut, even if he’s anti-Bush. Being an anti-Bush right-wing extremist isn’t particularly hard; I had no trouble writing the Dominionist Presidential candidate in my novel as someone who hated Bush on the grounds that he’s a conservative of convenience.
A lot of people seem to admire Hagel for his ‘truth to power’ moments, but they are not backed up by anything at all. Chuck Hagel may talk a good game, but his votes reveal him to be the reddest of Republicans.
Let’s begin with his social policy record. You can question how NARAL ranks politicians on their votes, but Senator Hagel’s 0% rating from them should make it clear he is actively anti-choice. On the issue of embryonic stem cell research – something such dyed-in-wool conservatives as Nancy Reagan and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) support – Hagel voted against the bill when it came up for a vote in July. He voted for a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. He voted for the effort to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004 (he skipped out on the vote in 2006). With many of our soldiers wounded in Iraq, caring for our veterans is a matter of social policy – but despite being a veteran himself, Hagel voted against a bill that would’ve increased spending for Veteran’s Affairs by rolling back some of Bush’s tax cuts.
On economic policy, Hagel is no better than most of the Republican Party: he votes to cut taxes for the wealthy, while neglecting the rest of us in the meantime. He voted for Bush’s 2001 tax cuts. He voted for Bush’s 2003 tax cuts. He voted for Bush’s 2005 corporate giveaway to energy companies. On the flip side, he voted against a straight-up bill to increase the minimum wage, which has been stuck at the same level since 1997 and has served to decrease its purchasing power by nearly a dollar in inflation-adjusted terms. Sure, he may have voted for a raise later on – but only when it was attached to further cuts in the estate tax. When the economy was in worse shape in 2004, Hagel voted against an extension in unemployment benefits. The guy’s a true Republican when it comes to economic matters – help the rich, screw the poor. I’m sure he’s proud of his record supporting an administration that has run up the biggest non-inflation adjusted budget deficits in history (and in the top 5 when adjusted for inflation).
(Hat-tip to Avedon)