The enemy of my enemy is my outreach

John McCain has expressed opposition to gays serving in the military, and he appears to have given considerable thought to the subject:

In an April 16 letter to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, McCain said, "I believe polarization of personnel and breakdown of unit effectiveness is too high a price to pay for well-intentioned but misguided efforts to elevate the interests of a minority of homosexual service members above those of their units.

"Most importantly, the national security of the United States, not to mention the lives of our men and women in uniform, are put at grave risk by policies detrimental to the good order and discipline which so distinguish America's armed services."

McCain, who voted in favor of "don't ask, don't tell" when it was enacted in 1993, concluded that "I remain opposed to the open expression of homosexuality in the U.S. military."

OK, for what it's worth (which is not much), I disagree with McCain on this issue.

Furthermore, I am not a McCain supporter, although I have grudgingly allowed that I would prefer him -- slightly -- to Mitt Romney. But let's hypothesize for a moment. Suppose that the McCain campaign decided that it needed to do "gay outreach" in states with large urban gay populations where the race was close. How would he do this? Most likely, he would hire someone to do what is called "outreach" to what is inexplicably called the lesbian gay bisexual transgendered "community."

Politics being what it is, it would be very tough for him to find any openly gay outreach coordinator with any political experience who agreed with his position on gays in the military. It might even be impossible.

For that matter, McCain has gone on record as being against gay marriage, and he has even supported Arizona's anti-gay-marriage initiative. I think it would also be extremely difficult for him to find a gay outreach coordinator who agreed with his position on that. But let's assume he found a gay political organizer willing to help his campaign anyway. It's not impossible; Bush got 25% of the gay vote, and there are gays who think defeating Sharia-supporting Islamofascists is more important than marriage licenses or open service in the military. Most of that 25% consisted of people who voted for Bush despite disagreements. Any gay outreach coordinator hired by McCain would most likely be running around trying to wrangle these votes, and it is almost a certainty that he or she would not be in agreement with McCain on the gay issues.

Does that mean that McCain could be said to hold the views of his gay outreach coordinator?

According to the logic of the people who are irate about McCain's hispanic outreach coordinator, apparently the answer is yes.

The question is posed thusly:

If John McCain supports securing the border, why does he embrace a campaign Hispanic outreach director who doesn't believe in borders....
Let's try rephrasing the question for the hypothetical gay outreach coordinator:
If John McCain supports healthy families and a strong military, why does he embrace a campaign homosexual outreach director who doesn't believe in these things, and who supports gay marriage and gays in the military....
The answer is that the coordinator's views are not necessarily those of McCain.

This is not to say that they might not be. It is perfectly legitimate to ask McCain about those views. Some open border critics seem satisfied that McCain's positions are not the same as his Hispanic outreach coordinator, and Victor Davis Hanson is an example:

I take McCain at his word that--once chastised on immigration--he will close the border. Ending illegal immigration, restoring fiscal sanity, cutting spending, and insisting on victory in the war are the essential issues, and on all he is far preferable to Hillary. There really is a difference between "suspension of disbelief" and "no substitute for victory." That is why a number of conservatives have and will continue to hold their noses and endorse McCain.
Mickey Kaus isn't so sure. He takes a very critical look at this Hernandez character (who looks terrible in the videos, btw), and says,
Imagine if Hillary Clinton (or Barack Obama) had an aide who ran around saying such things. Would it cause a controversy? Ask Lani Guinier!
(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

They might also want to ask Raul Yzaguirre. The former President of La Raza, the man is a real extremist I've criticized repeatedly, who likens the US English group to the Ku Klux Klan. No mere outreach coordinator, Yzaguirre is the Co-Chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

This is not to defend Hernandez, but Yzaguirre's views are way more extreme. And no one seems to be asking Hillary about him. (In that respect, I'd also note that Newsmax commentator Dick Morris is listed as a co-author of Hernandez's book, and no one seems to care about holding the supposedly anti-open-borders Newsmax accountable for that.)

Overall, I'm skeptical of guilt by association arguments. It's a bit like saying a blogger is responsible for viewpoints expressed by other blogger he might have linked, or even commenters. Especially in politics, and more especially in the case of political "outreach."

What is fair is to ask Hernandez what he thinks, and then ask McCain whether he agrees.

posted by Eric on 01.28.08 at 10:27 AM


Overall, I'm skeptical of guilt by association arguments.
Eric, I'm sorry, but I think you're reaching "a bridge to far" here.

Of course McCain is responsible for those he appoints, and of course we should use those appointments to make judgments about him, and how he will behave should he achieve the White House.

This is not "guilt by association." That would be a matter of assuming that if he were photographed with Tony Rezko, he had taken huge bribes from the man, or he shared Rezko's taste for possible criminality.

McCain hired the guy - whether he's paying him isn't the issue - Hernandez is working for him, with McCain's approval.

To say that McCain doesn't approve of Hernandez, or that his hiring somehow is no reflection on McCain is, frankly, unreasonable.

And saying that "nobody" is holding Hillary accountable for some of her hires, well, she could hire Herr Goebbels as her outreach coordinator, and nobody in the MSM would raise a peep.

But somebody should.

Bill Quick   ·  January 28, 2008 12:58 PM

I'm not saying that his hiring somehow is no reflection on McCain. Nor that a judgment shouldn't be made about the propriety of his hiring Hernandez or anyone hiring anyone else; only that his views are not necessarily those of McCain.

As another example, Justin Hart, an officer of the Lighted Candle Society, was was appointed to Governor Romney's Faith and Values Committee:

Lighted Candle advocates the following:

*Supporting civil litigation against producers and distributors of pornography
*Financing scientific research into the addictive nature of the disease
*Publishing information revealing the sources and effects of the scourge
*Providing help to those who have been harmed by the addiction or caught in its vice even now.

But Romney was a Marriott exec, and Marriott is accused of selling p0rn to hotel customers.

So, am I to judge Romney by the opinions of Hart, or by the actions of the Marriott?

I think it's better to ask Romney.

Eric Scheie   ·  January 28, 2008 2:25 PM

Having worked for the Marriott Corporation in various capacities for more than ten years, I can tell you that bringing them up is meaningless. Marriott is a corporation operated by a Mormon family, but it also serves coffee and has cigarette machines in its lounges, where alcohol is served in copious quantities. IE, using the corporate policies of the Marriott as some sort of indicator of Romney's beliefs is, um, irrelevant.

Keep in mind: Romney worked for the corporation. But Justin Hart (who spams me regularly) works for Romney. If Romney was not comfortable with Hart's views, he would not have hired him or, if ignorant of his views on hiring him, would fire him upon discovering the incompatibility of his views.

Let's move right to the lifeboat example: If Romney hired Goebbels to manage PR, would you claim that Romney did not share Geobbel's beliefs, even if he said he did not?

How would you logically justify that, then?

Bill Quick   ·  January 28, 2008 2:55 PM

I think Goebbels is heinous enough that hiring him speaks for itself -- and if done for the purposes of "Nazi outreach" such outreach is inappropriate. It would not matter whether Romney shared Goebbels' views.

However, I still wouldn't assume Romney shared Goebbels' views, but I would think his judgment was awful. (Which McCain's may well be in hiring Hernandez -- but that still does not mean he shares his views.)

I think it is very possible -- even likely -- that Romney does not share the views of Hart, but only hired him to get the anti-p0rn crowd to vote for him. That may be sneaky and underhanded, but it still does not necessarily tell me what Romney thinks about p0rn.

In politics, many of these guys are cynical enough to hire activists in order to wrangle constituency votes.

Suppose a candidate hired a PETA staffer to do vegetarian/Vegan/AR outreach. Would that make him a Vegan? I don't think so. But if I felt strongly enough about PETA, I might be fully justified in rejecting the candidate.

I think these things depend on the egregriousness of the person involved, and just as I don't think Hernandez is as bad as Yzaguirre, I don't think McCain is as bad as Hillary.

I admit, this can get frustrating for me. I can't stand a certain online news web site I consider bigoted and will not mention; it's one of my pet peeves. If you started writing for them, I might start to think less of your blog, even though I would know it was irrational and it would not be fair, for I can't charge you with responsibility for anything you don't say yourself.

(But OTOH, what if someone I respected suddenly declared he was a Scientologist? There is no absolute rule, which is why I am trying to stick with McCain and Hillary here.)

Eric Scheie   ·  January 28, 2008 3:27 PM

I think you are missing the point.

McCain has been extraordinarily weak on border security issues for the past decade. He has only recently claimed to have "learned his lesson". We have only his word on this... there is no body of legislative votes to back up this new claim. He then goes out and hires an open-border advocate as his Hispanic outreach coordinator, thereby immediately undercutting his new found immigration position!

It would be different if he had a long track record of strong support for tight border security, then this hire could be seen as a sort of "olive branch" to the Hispanic activists; but with his long history of amnesty support, that assertion rings false.

Its not a matter of guilt by association... its a case of birds of a feather.

Face it. He is squarely in the corner of the multinational corporations and their desire for a nearly borderless world.

stevieray   ·  January 28, 2008 8:13 PM
phandra   ·  January 29, 2008 3:53 AM

Eric, turn it around. Hernandez is a committed "one North America" amnesty-open borders advocate.

Why would he work for McCain? What do you think he believes McCain's policies and positions will be?

Bill Quick   ·  January 29, 2008 9:51 AM

I don't know whether Hernandez thinks McCain agrees with him or not, but he strikes me as a bit of a self-aggrandizing huckster who may be in it for himself. It's possible that he thinks McCain agrees with him (and it's possible McCain does even though he denies it). He may also think that if the election is close and McCain wins, he'll be able to claim that he did it by winning over Hispanics who'd otherwise have voted for Hillary. Then (depending on his core motivations) Hernandez could escalate his ideological demands or make a pitch for more power.

It's pure speculation on my part. McCain may have told him that he agrees with him. Then again, he might not have. Or he might be letting surrogates like his daughter drop hints.

Eric Scheie   ·  January 29, 2008 10:27 AM

I like drmbuster actually - it do dirty job for me.
The URL is [url=][/url]. Works fine for video freaks.

JohnPrist2   ·  February 2, 2008 1:32 AM

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