Well, yes, I would certainly not want to have a homophobic autocrat heading up the Pentagon at a time when we've just made it safe and acceptable for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
But, come on, that remark was 14 years ago. Many people have gone through rather major transformations in attitude since then. Do we know that he has not? He has apologized for those remarks, saying they were insensitive. It's true, that could be merely a convenient and necessary prerequisite to the nomination, rather than a change of feelings and attitudes. But we shouldn't just decide that's all it is; give him a chance to elaborate on it, including how he would handle the issues of gays in the miliatry. I'm sure not all of the generals who oversaw the sensitivity training and implimentation of DADT repeal were ardent friends of gays and lesbians 14 years. ago.
Here's why I would like to have him in that office. He give the impression of being a realist and an independent thinker, one who would forthrightly tell the President, and everyone else, what he thinks. He is not an idealogue, either as a hawk or a dove. He initially voted for the Iraq war but fairly early became one of the most highly placed critics of the war, including the Bush escalation. He does not kowtow to the American-Israeli lobby; rather, he would take a realist position on the Middle East conflicts. Here's what he has said in response to criticisms about his attitude toward Israel:
"I'm not an Israeli senator. I'm a United States senator. . . . I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel. . . ."People who know and have worked with him over the years say that this is partly his principles and partly that he does not sugar-coat his views to conform to media-friendly messages. He speaks bluntly and honestly. He is the antithesis of the kind of politician who will tell you one thing for its effect, and then do the opposite behind your back.
John Kerry at State and Chuck Hagel at Defense would make a strong team -- both with experience in the senate on foreign affairs and defense matters. Both serious men with a world view that trumps partisan parochialism. That's exactly what we need.