Note: This expands on LeftofU's original post.
Thanks to some sharp sleuthing at BlueNC, we seem to have caught Kay Hagan being less than honest about her reasons for running for the Democratic senate primary, after very pointedly declaring she did not intend to run.
Hagan was quite specific about why she wouldn't run:
“I’ve done a lot of searching on this,” Hagan said. “I feel very good with where I am in my political career, and I enjoy what I’m doing.”
Jim Neal announced he would run on Oct. 5th, and Hagan made it plain she would not on Oct. 9th.
It would seem that the Democratic Party, perfectly willing to have no candidate to run against Dole just a few weeks earlier, was now very upset at the prospect of a gay man representing the party in a run against Dole. And while Mike Easley was happy to play a game of Jim? Jim who?
no one in the press had the nerve to ask him or Hagan whether this was the reason for the change of heart.
Update: Three cheers for Mark Binker who DID in fact ask an impolite question.
Before, she said, "I was looking at the best interest of 160,000 people here in Guilford County." But recent events in Washington, she said, convinced her that she "can really best serve the people of North Carolina by being a fresh voice in Washington."Did the fact the one other entrant in the Democratic primary, Jim Neal,acknowledged he was gay have anything to do with your re-entry in the race, either in your own decision making or the motives of those who urged you to run?
"That had absolutely no bearing on Kay Hagan's decision," she said.
It therefore fell to some scruffy and rude blogger to ask the question.
Why did you reverse yourself on running for the U.S. Senate? Did party officials ask you to run because they did not believe an openly gay candidate could win against Dole?
To which she responded:
I decided to get in this race when Elizabeth Dole voted against the SCHIP program. On a personal level, I couldn’t believe she’d leave kids without insurance and on a professional level, I knew we in the legislature would have to AGAIN pick up where Washington’s fallen short. North Carolina deserves someone who advocates for them first and foremost.
Notice the difference in her answers? Notice how she completely avoided answering the direct question the second time around? Notice in the first interview the creepy reference to herself in the third person? Gee, didn't Bob Dole used to do that?
Anyway, Hagan claims in one interview that nameless recent events in Washington are her reason for changing her mind. In the second, she specifically states that it was Elizabeth Dole's S-CHIP vote that was the key issue.
This time line raises interesting questions. Taking Hagan at her word that she entered the race to protect the poor children of NC from their callous treatment at the hands of Dole, why did she initially say, with considerable conviction, she wasn't going to run, despite the fact that she knew Dole voted against the S-CHIP program as recently two weeks before? I mean if the plight of the little children bothered Hagan so much, you would think that her Oct. 9th statement about not entering the race would not have been so categorical.
It seems to me that the evidence points to a less savory and more cynical reason for changing her mind, and that is she was pushed into it by the Party Machine in order to dislodge a gay man.
Pam Spaulding lays out more evidence of the DSCC's complicity in the matter, specifically that their web site mentions Hagan prominently as Dole's challenger, with Neal an "also running".
Add to this Hagan's refusal to answer questions from North Carolina's top blogger on LGBT issues, and it pretty much clinches the question. Rather than stand up for a core constituency, the NC Democratic Party and the DSCC are prepared to sabotage a qualified candidate for senate because he's gay.
Now before some of the more "pragmatic" crowd lecture me about being "realistic", let me ask a question. Does anyone care to speculate what the reaction from North Carolina's African American population would be if the same tactic were use against a black candidate? Can you see the party pretty much abandoning a race to the GOP, but as soon as a black man filed for the seat, they immediately "persuaded" a white candidate to run against him, while the party leaders professed complete ignorance?
Despite this deceit, Hagan, the state party and the DSCC expect gays and lesbians to loyally shell out their vote and their money to unseat Dole. Perhaps Hagan can explain why this should happen when Dole's position and theirs are functionally the same?
And while we are on the subject of the differences between Hagan and Dole, the state senator took the opportunity to answer a question I didn't ask her when she was professing her concern for the children of NC.
And let me say this – a lot of people have misinterpreted my position on SCHIP, and a lot of people, quite frankly, have said I’m “Elizabeth Dole lite” about this.
If I were in Washington, we would not have had to choose between health insurance for kids and taxing our tobacco farmers. People seem to assume the bill had to be written that way, but it didn’t, so it is a false choice to ask whether I would have supported the bill that was voted on. I would have tried to find an alternative funding stream, I would have made noise and lobbied my colleagues. I believe I would have been effective, but if I were not, and the bill remained as it was, I would have, of course, voted to provide health insurance to our state’s neediest children.
First off, any time you hear a politician talk about "tobacco farmers", you need to realize they are really talking about cigarette companies.
Second, Hagan uses the typical dishonest ploy of equating taxes on smokers as a tax on farmers. You can argue its the same thing, but its not.
Third, what was Elizabeth Dole's reason for voting against S-CHIP?
She argued that the proposed $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program should not be paid for with an increase on the tobacco tax.
"It's all being done on the backs of one state's economy," Dole said. "A 156 percent increase in tax on tobacco and all related aspects affects 255,000 people. Why should one state be paying for something that affects 50 states?"
She said she supports better health care for children, but not the recent bill.
"I think any elected official saying they were for that provision ... they just really don't get it in terms of how much it would hurt the economy," she said.
By economy, she means the economy of RJR, Philip-Morris and Liggett & Myers.
Anyway, here we see the difference between Hagan and Dole. Dole will sacrifice anyone, including children, to her masters peddling death to the public. Hagan, however, draws the line at placing children on the altar of corporate profit, but only if there is absolutely no other choice.
For North Carolina tobacco farmers, and by that I really mean Big Tobacco, Hagan is, in fact, the better choice in the long run. Dead children can't be enticed to smoke cigarettes, which means a loss 30-40 years of profit per kid, if a smoker dies in childhood.
And THAT is the real difference between Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan.