Skip to comments.Report: Chuck Hagel “likely” to be nominated as next Secretary of Defense
Posted on 12/13/2012 1:51:23 PM PST by SeekAndFind
His name's been kicking around for more than a week but the "likely" part is new.
BREAKING: Former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel likely to be nominated as Secretary of Defense
— Bloomberg News (@BloombergNews) December 13, 2012
NBC is hearing the same thing. Team O has been touting him for appointments since before The One was president, when Hagel was briefly rumored to be in the mix for VP. His name popped up again two years later as a potential successor to Dennis Blair as DNI. He's sort of the perfect Obama appointee: He's a centrist Republican, which burnishes O's phony above-the-fray post-partisan image, and he's known chiefly for harshly criticizing other Republicans, especially on Iraq. In fact, Hagel has the distinction of having voted for the initial invasion of Iraq and then later opposed the surge, which puts him squarely opposite the conventional wisdom on how well each of those ventures worked out. Nevertheless, I assume he'll sail through the confirmation process. The Senate tends to go easy on its alums when they’re up for a cabinet post, and if anyone’s inclined to come after him for being insufficiently hawkish, the fact that he served with distinction in Vietnam will give him plenty of cover. (He and McCain are good friends so don’t expect static from the hawk-in-chief.)
His biggest problem will be answering questions about his past criticism of Israel. For Obama, that’s a feature, not a bug, but for other Democrats who have to worry about re-election, not so much. The Washington Free Beacon was on it last week:
“It would be a very unwise and disastrous choice for U.S. policies and activities regarding the Middle East, said Morris Amitay, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)…
Hagels efforts to open up direct negotiations with Iran and its terrorist proxy Hamas have placed him at odds with the pro-Israel community and the majority of Congress.
His legislative record reads like an anti-Israel rap sheet, sources said.
Hagel has declined to sign multiple letters of support for the Jewish state and has balked when presented with opportunities to condemn Tehrans efforts to enrich uranium near levels needed to produce a nuclear weapon.
The Beacon followed up this afternoon by noting that he’s a member of the board of Deutsche Bank America despite Deutsche Bank in Germany being under investigation for having possibly evaded sanctions on Iran. That won’t stop the Senate from confirming him, but all of the above should add some exciting new nuance to U.S./Israeli military cooperation in O’s second term under Secretary Hagel.
Exit question: What does this signal as far as Obama’s choice between Kerry and Susan Rice at State? Presumably O’s willing to risk only one “difficult” nomination next year; Rice would be difficult, Kerry would not, but what about Hagel? I think he’d actually be relatively easy, his views on Israel notwithstanding, partly because he’s an ex-senator and partly because he’s a Republican whose chief point of alienation from the party is a war that most of the public now thinks was a mistake. He’ll say all (or most) of the right things about Israel in his confirmation hearings and probably get 75 or so votes, which means Obama can then go to the mat on nominating Rice. He’ll have already thrown the Republicans a bone, supposedly, by nominating one of their own at Defense, which will help buy him the public’s benefit of the doubt about being “reasonable” when partisan war breaks out over Rice.
Update: I see that the left is grumbling on Twitter that nominating a Republican (or rather, another Republican) for Defense sends the message that the GOP is the party of national security, to the point where even Democratic presidents have to cross the aisle to find a suitable appointee at the Pentagon. I don’t buy it. For one thing, Panetta’s been there for awhile now; for another, O himself has been sufficiently hawkish — ostentatiously so in the case of Bin Laden and the drone campaign and Libya — that Romney’s supposed national-security advantage in the last election was completely neutralized at best. It’s not Bob Gates who’s most closely associated in the public’s mind with Obama’s counterterror successes, it’s Obama himself. The White House has taken great care to make sure of that, and they’ve succeeded. So, from a purely political standpoint, who cares whether it’s an R or D at Defense if it’s O in the White House?
When Zero throws Israel under the bus, he can blame the GOP.
He is anti-Israel and a nasty piece of work who was sucking up to the Democrats last I saw him. He was a backstabber (GW Bush)
I suppose I should know this but I don’t so I’ll ask...is it reasonable for me to assume that Hagel’s a RINO? It’s hard to imagine any *real* Republican getting within a country mile of the OsamaObama Administration without a hazmat suit on.
Hagal is the VERY Definition of “RINO”!
The Senate could probably filibuster this appointment but that would require a GOP with some guts so it'll happen about the time Hell throws a kegger.
Not only a Rino, he is a major league anti Israel and anti US military a-hole.
There is a brite side (for me).
This will keep Chuck out of Nebraska for a few more years. We have a long tradition of electing people we really don’t want around to public office.
O’Bozo wants a Republican to blame for Pansy-fying and downsizing the military.
A McCain clone? They hate each other! Hagel blasted gramps in 2007 for being pro war. Hagel insinuated without comming right out and endorsing he was pro Obama. Hagel and Obama were friends in the senate and worked on nuclear weapons security. Hagel is definitely a RHINO but nothing like Gramps. This will shut gramps out of military no matter what committee he is on. This appointment is a big FU to John.
Somehow the Dems didn't get the memo when John Tower was nominated.
Actually, he is not a McCain clone. He is so left RINO, he makes McCain appear to be to the right of most of the posters on this site (only appears).
All I can say for Hagel is that he is better than Kerry for SecDef - which is why Kerry’s name was probably floated.
He may not be on John McCrazy's Christmas card list, but he's definitely an ideological clone. If anything, he's more wishy-washy than McBraindead.
This will be touted by Obamao as a bi-partisan action which is indicative of his non-partisan approach to gov’t, and unfortunately, most of the GOPE in the Senate will applaud that statement as true.
Screw them all. The GOP is dead to me. Until all of the entrenched GOPE die off, there is no hope of reviving the party in a Conservative mold. It is time to build, aggressively, a third party Libertarian Conservative coalition and party.
I do not disagree on wish washy, but when it comes to military they are very much opposed. This is why Hagel did everything but endorse Obama. Hagel came out during election and opposed gramps on Iraq. Also where was Hagel when Katrina happened? With Obama in Russia on a trip over security for nuclear weapons security. Gramps is all about military and him and Hagel are completely opposite here. Hagel prefers diplomacy and gramps not so much.
Leon Panetta himself was “once” a Republican Congressman representing the 16th District in California, back about 1973, but switched parties when he became “appalled” with the Republicans when Nixon had to resign over Watergate.
Chuck Hagel is another RINO who never had much party allegiance, much like former Florida Charlie Crist, who only recently changed from “Republican” to “Democrat”, probably one of the more honest actions he has undertaken in his career.
I kind of see a pattern here, the Current Regime reaching out for somebody who has SOME credibility for the job, and it just happens, most of them were at one time or another, associated with the Republicans in the past.
But of course, it was the party that left them, not the other way around.
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