|"Bobby" Eisenberg placed a four-column, below-the-fold|
ad in last Saturday's Omaha World-Herald supporting
the nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel.
Eisenberg's parents were early Warren Buffett investors.
(A $10,000 1956 preBerkshire-Hathaway investment
in Buffett Associates, Ltd is now worth about half a
I posed several questions to LCR about the funding and motive behind this ad.
In response, the group's Executive Director, R. Clark Cooper, confirmed that LCR did not pay for the ad out of its existing funds. Rather, he said, the ad campaign "is being funded by a number of donors". But he not only refused to identify any of those donors, but also has thus far refused to say whether those "donors" are from the self-proclaimed "pro-Israel" community and/or are first-time donors to LCR: in other words, whether these donors are simply exploiting gay issues and the LCR to advance an entirely unrelated agenda as a means of attacking Hagel.
As for why LCR would suddenly object to the anti-gay record of Hagel despite a history of supporting more virulently anti-gay Republicans, Cooper claimed that "LCR is particularly concerned about Chuck Hagel as a potential Defense Secretary because of the role he would play in continuing to oversee the implementation of open service of the military." But he did not respond to my follow-up inquiry about why, then, LCR endorsed Mitt Romney - who has long supported Don't Ask, Don't Tell and other anti-gay measures - as President.
Why would this group be so moved by concerns about a possible Defense Secretary's anti-gay record that they take out a full-page ad against him in the New York Times, but just three months ago endorsed someone who is at least as anti-gay for the position of Commander-in-Chief, which obviously has far more influence on such policies than a Defense Secretary?
What makes this all the more inexplicable is that, a couple of weeks before the LCR ad was placed, the very same R. Clark Cooper spoke out in praise of Hagel to the Gay City News:
At some point thereafter, LCR decided not only that Hagel must be publicly smeared as anti-gay and anti-Israel, but that the group just had to take an extraordinary and incredibly expensive step - a full-page ad in the New York Times - to do so. And then magically, the substantial funding for that anti-Hagel ad materialized.
"I recall working with Senator Chuck Hagel and his staff during the Bush administration and he was certainly not shy about expressing his criticisms. But despite his criticisms, Hagel voted with us most of the time and there was no question he was committed to advancing America's interests abroad. As for his nomination to be secretary of defense, it is well worth noting that Senator Hagel is a combat veteran who has hands-on experience in the field. The battlefield is not just theory for him."
While I agree with those who insist that a Hagel nomination would not meaningfully change administration policy, the goal of the anti-Hagel smear campaign is to ensure that there can be no debate and no diversity of views on Israel when it comes to top government officials.