Friday, December 21, 2012

Assault on Chuck Hagel from Left & Right

Jennifer Rubin says opposition to Hagel from both left and right presage an early end to his candidacy for SecDef.
Hagel’s fate was likely sealed today when the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which raised loads of cash for President Obama, called Hagel’s remarks “unacceptable” and suggested he’d have a hard time serving in government with his negative views of gays.

Frankly this sounds like the Democrats are now trying to off-load Hagel with tips to sympathetic journalists about his anti-gay record.

Meanwhile, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) makes a forceful statement in opposition to Hagel: “I have deep concerns about Sen. Hagel’s attitude toward Israel and his approach toward dealing with Iran. If President Obama nominates Sen. Hagel for Secretary of Defense, I intend to seek explanations regarding his opposition to sanctions, his support for negotiating with Hamas, and his view on America’s ongoing relationship with Israel.” It is no coincidence that in 2010 Hagel weighed in on Toomey’s Senate race in favor of Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), whose Israel record was roundly criticized. Toomey, I am certain, owes no Senatorial courtesy to Hagel.

Then Sen. Marco Rubio’s spokesman almost, sort of said he’d consider a hold on Hagel over his pro-Cuba views. (“Promoting democracy in Latin America is a priority for Sen. Rubio, and he’s put holds on other administration nominees over the issue. If President Obama were to nominate Sen. Hagel for a cabinet position, I’m sure we would have questions about Cuba positions.”) Is there any Republican who does not have serious concerns and would welcome the opportunity to bloody him up in a confirmation fight?
Jennifer, the answer is no.

It gets worse when dozens of Senate aides have come forward telling tales out of school about Hagel's inability to treat staffers with even a minimal amount of human respect. One story has the noble Senator yelling into a terrified aide's face that he's "fvcking stupid."

This is sad, because when I was Scholar-in-Residence at the Middle East Institute back in the day, Hagel would visit the HQ on N St., NW, without much todo and go to our conferences. He seemed to be the only member of the government seen in such venues.

Now, many fear that if he were appointed to Secretary of Defense, he would not know how to be deferential to many civilian staff whose seniority and knowledge of the ways inside the Pentagon's rings would have to be respected by any appointment Obungler makes.

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