President Obama is expected to name former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his nominee for Secretary of Defense. Naturally, Republicans will pull out all stops to block Hagel’s appointment because…well, because he is Obama’s nominee.
Chuck Hagel is a Vietnam veteran who earned two Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in combat. He still carries some of the shrapnel in his chest. He is chairman of the mainstream conservative American Council and Co-Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. He has served as a member of the Secretary’ of Defense’s Policy board as well as the Foreign Relations Committee. He is currently teaching at Georgetown University where he holds the position of Distinguished Professor in the Practice of National Governance at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. A moderate conservative who has seen firsthand the horrors of war, Hagel’s views on foreign affairs are consistent with those of George H. W. Bush and Colin Powell.
As expected the Republican drumbeat against Hagel has begun even though the former Nebraska Senator’s name has not yet been put into nomination.
An ominous sounding Mitch McConnell says that Hagel will have to answer some very tough questions regarding his support of Israel and his views on Iran’s nuclear program. This is the same Mitch McConnell who effusively praised Hagel’s “clear voice on foreign affairs” during a floor speech honoring Hagel’s retirement from the Senate.
Neo-con Lindsay Graham said Hagel will face a tough road to confirmation because: “he is out of the main street thinking on foreign policy issues…antagonistic against Israel…an in your face nomination by the president to all who are supportive of Israel.” Graham also sees Hagel as being soft on Iran. Keep in mind that Graham has never met a war he wasn’t willing to send someone else in to fight.
Once again, these objections are nothing but pure politics. Republicans believe that Hagel has been less than supportive of Israel…a definite “no, no” in Republican circles. However a review of Hagel’s voting record shows that he has been nothing but supportive of the Jewish state. He just believes that US foreign policy should not be dictated by the Israelis.
As far as Iran is concerned…Hagel prefers diplomacy and sanctions over bluster and bombs. Perhaps his years in Vietnam watching his friends die have given him a perspective of war that Graham and his neo-con war mongers can only dream about.
There is also a revenge factor to this opposition against Hagel…much like the events surrounding the Susan Rice nomination for Sec. of State.
Rice had served as Obama’s chief attack dog against McCain during the 2008 election. McCain’s vengeful vicious attacks blew up her nomination before it every got off the ground. Hagel, who originally supported the Iraq war, had the audacity to change his mind. He came to realize the horrendous mistake that the war was and said so publically. The GOP elephant has a long memory…and paybacks are hell.
So the president will nominate Hagel…and Hagel will wander up to the Hill where he will kiss some Republican ass. Then will come the long drawn out and senseless confirmation hearings where Republicans will spend more time making ideological speeches than asking pertinent questions. Eventually Hagel will probably be confirmed because who is going to say no to a decorated war hero with shrapnel in his chest.
Meanwhile a serious debate about debt and deficit sits idly on the sidelines. And while responsible gun control laws are ignored, 412 people have died as a result of gunshot wounds since the Sandy Hook tragedy.