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as you can read in Frank Bruni's New York Times column, titled Principle Over Politics

Bob Kerrey might not be our cup of tea.  Certainly on financial issues his approach is one with which most here might take issue.

When Bruni found out that Kerrey was speaking about gay marriage he sought an interview, which Kerrey's staff tried to prevent but the candidate overruled them.  Here are two key paragraphs from the column, with words from Bob Kerrey:  

“What I usually say is, ‘Let me talk to you about the issue of homosexuality,’ ” Kerrey said over a drink here Saturday night. And then he indeed talks to voters about it, telling them that people are born the way they are and deserve a full complement of civil rights, including the right to marry. It’s that simple.

“People who are opposed to it are going to have to be explaining to their grandkids: why, why, why was that the rationale?” he said. “We’re going to be embarrassed in 25 years.”

I had not known that Kerrey voted against the Defense of Marriage Act.  Bruni reminds us that among those voting for it were Joe Biden.

Later in the column we read

Gay marriage isn’t his primary issue. I just happened to hear that he was mentioning it frequently and gave him a call, during which he said that any commitment to social justice compelled advocacy of gay rights. He told me that he often asks voters: “Do you think anyone in his right mind would choose to be gay in Nebraska?
I have an acquaintance who served with Kerrey in the Seals, where Kerrey won his Medal of Honor.  This acquaintance would go through hell and back for Kerrey.  He has no doubt of the man's courage - who could, other than a Republican chicken-hawk - and his willingness to stand for what he believes is right, regardless of the cost to him.

Kerrey is unlikely to win the seat from which Ben Nelson is retiring.  That he has been willing to take it on has required Republicans to spend some resources that that might otherwise have gone to more competitive races.

Of greater importance, Kerrey is reminding us that there is value to politicians willing to stand on principle.

Let me close as Bruni closes, with his two short final paragraphs:  

He knows that he has politically risky positions, including his longtime support of abortion rights, but said, “I think I can be the kind of senator who would make Nebraskans proud.”

If they value principle and valor, there’s no doubt.


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