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A Petty Decision by Obama
Townhall.com ^ | January 9, 2013 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 01/09/2013 5:13:45 AM PST by Kaslin

It's official. President Obama has named former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as his nominee for secretary of defense. Hence, we may be in store for the worst defense secretary nomination fight since George H.W. Bush's failed appointment of Sen. John Tower (R-Texas) more than 20 years ago.

The interesting question is, why? Why waste the political capital? Why pass over more qualified candidates who would sail through confirmation, including Michele Flournoy -- who'd be the first female defense secretary?

The most ridiculous answer is among the mainstream media's favorites: bipartisanship. According to Politico, the choice "appeals to Obama's bipartisan spirit." The Washington Post, in a front-page news story, says that "Hagel's successful nomination would add a well-known Republican to the president's second-term Cabinet at a time when he is looking to better bridge the partisan divide, particularly after a bitter election campaign."

What is particularly bizarre about this talking point is that it often appears in articles that go on to talk about how tough and grueling the nomination battle will be thanks to strong Republican opposition. So which is it? Is it a bridge across the partisan divide? Or is it an "in-your-face" nomination (South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's words) aimed at eliciting a fight with Republicans?

At least from the perspective of nearly everyone on the right, it's the latter. Whether it's payback for the scuttled non-nomination of Susan Rice to be secretary of state or whether it's simply of a piece with Obama's efforts to divide and conquer the GOP that were on display throughout the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, the consensus in much of conservative Washington is that Obama is making this nomination at least in part out of spite.

Indeed, that's one major reason Hagel has so many unlikely friends these days. Hagel -- never overburdened with too heavy a reputation for insight, knowledge or humility -- is loathed, with ample justification, by many foreign-policy hawks, Israel supporters and neocons (those are overlapping but hardly synonymous groups, by the way). He is arguably the most prominent opponent of sanctions on bad actors in the Middle East. He's heaped scorn on those who'd take a hard line with Iran. His geopolitical acumen is of the sort that fails to shine even in the comment sections on blogs. The Iraq war, for example, was according to Hagel a war for oil.

And Hagel's views on Israel are, to be generous, hard to reconcile with those of the man who successfully campaigned for president just a couple of months ago as a staunch friend of that country. Even if Hagel's gaffe about the perfidious influence of the domestic "Jewish lobby" was accidental, his coolness to Israel is hard to dispute. For instance, when Palestinian suicide bombers were tearing the country apart in 2002, Hagel insisted in an op-ed article that this was the time for Israel to "take steps to show its commitment to peace."

For some, the thinking seems to be that if the Hagel nomination is a thumb in the eye of the neocon crowd, it must be worth it. David Greenberg writes in the New Republic that many "liberals are bending over backward to praise Hagel, in effect saying they would prefer an archconservative male mediocrity to a liberal female rising star." Why? Because punishing Hagel's enemies is worth a potentially lousy defense secretary.

This spirit results in some really batty arguments for Hagel's confirmation. For instance, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen writes that the "chief" reason Hagel should be confirmed is that doing so "will provoke a serious debate on what constitutes real friendship toward Israel." Even if you agree with Cohen's barmy views of geopolitical "friendship," Hagel's got real problems if this is the best case for his nomination.

The Defense Department faces imminent cuts, Chinese and Russian nationalism are ascendant, the Middle East is becoming even more destabilized and theocratic, and we're still at war in Afghanistan, but Hagel's chief qualification is that he'll be a great conversation starter? Wow.

The coming nomination fight will undoubtedly focus on the strength of the case against Hagel. But the real indictment of Obama's pick is the weakness of the case for Hagel -- and the pettiness of the pick in the first place.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: chuckhagel; dod; foreignaffairs; nomination; safetyandsecurity

1 posted on 01/09/2013 5:14:04 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Because Obie is a punk? A street thug?

Just a guess...

2 posted on 01/09/2013 5:16:37 AM PST by gov_bean_ counter (Hope and Change has become Attack and Obfuscate.)
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To: Kaslin
"The interesting question is, why? Why waste the political capital?"

Because he can't "waste" political capital. His supporters, especially in the media, will support anything he does. Anything. And his detractors won't. He knows that so he'll whatever he wants at any given time. There's no downside.

3 posted on 01/09/2013 5:17:11 AM PST by circlecity
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To: Kaslin

Obama’s first choice was the Blind Sheik, who
refused to change parties for Obama.


4 posted on 01/09/2013 5:18:17 AM PST by Diogenesis (Vi veri veniversum vivus vici)
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To: Kaslin

Hagel is an antisemite. That’s the be all and end all for Obama.


5 posted on 01/09/2013 5:21:09 AM PST by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (Vendetta))
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To: Kaslin
nobama to the Republicans: Here, eat this!
6 posted on 01/09/2013 5:24:27 AM PST by upchuck (America's at an awkward stage. Too late to work within the system, too early to shoot the bastards.)
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To: circlecity
Because he can't "waste" political capital.

Agreed. Obama is certainly in a privileged position, with infinite political capital.

7 posted on 01/09/2013 5:27:08 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (Nothing will change until after the war.)
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To: Kaslin

Well, petty tyrants make petty decisions.


8 posted on 01/09/2013 5:29:30 AM PST by Marathoner (Our forefathers would be shooting by now.)
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To: upchuck

The Republicans, peering out from their hiding place in the tall grass, will overwhelmingly vote to confirm. That’s my prediction...


9 posted on 01/09/2013 5:30:32 AM PST by Russ (Repeal the 17th amendment)
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To: circlecity

I believe your post is really close.

Of course there is nothing Bi-Partisan about this pick.

There is nothing Republican about Chuck Hagel exceptthe party he chose to state that he belonged to.

It would have been hard for Obama to pick someone that is on a higher RINO scale than Chuck Hagel.

If he had picked Charles Manson the media would endorse it.


10 posted on 01/09/2013 5:33:19 AM PST by Venturer
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To: gov_bean_ counter

Good guess!


11 posted on 01/09/2013 5:33:21 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: Kaslin
Hagel is the bone tossed over the junkyard fence to occupy the dogs while Obama picks the lock to gain entry.

Watch for what he does while the stoopid Republicans are grandstanding the nomination.

12 posted on 01/09/2013 5:33:49 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (The trouble with the "masses" is that they never achieve the "m")
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To: upchuck
Here, eat this!

You got the "t" and the "s" backwards in "this".

13 posted on 01/09/2013 5:37:03 AM PST by Aevery_Freeman (The trouble with the "masses" is that they never achieve the "m")
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To: Kaslin

hitlery was the worst SOS — dumb as the day is long.

This guy is just equally bad.


14 posted on 01/09/2013 5:38:57 AM PST by freedumb2003 (MOLON LABE)
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To: Kaslin

It could have been worse..he could have nominated the lady mentioned in the piece as the first female secretary to show how inclusive his administration is...

Personally I’ll take a liberal Republican who was a grunt and decorated combat veteran over just about anyone else O would have nominated...


15 posted on 01/09/2013 5:39:19 AM PST by montanajoe
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To: gov_bean_ counter

you are far to kind towards this ass clown.


16 posted on 01/09/2013 5:39:19 AM PST by Joe Boucher ((FUBO))
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To: Joe Boucher
Well, I did read my devotional this morning.

which is having less and less of a shelf life these days when it comes to this cretin.

17 posted on 01/09/2013 5:41:56 AM PST by gov_bean_ counter (Hope and Change has become Attack and Obfuscate.)
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To: Kaslin
Hagel wast the Mullah’s pick
18 posted on 01/09/2013 5:43:32 AM PST by SMARTY ("The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. "Henri Frederic Amiel)
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To: Aevery_Freeman

Next Obama will float Krauhammer for ‘Sectary DaFence’...that will get the McCainiacs really hot and bothered.


19 posted on 01/09/2013 5:43:53 AM PST by iopscusa (El Vaquero. (SC Lowcountry Cowboy))
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To: Kaslin
Hagel wast the Mullah’s pick
20 posted on 01/09/2013 5:44:06 AM PST by SMARTY ("The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. "Henri Frederic Amiel)
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To: Venturer

You betcha they would


21 posted on 01/09/2013 5:48:06 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Hardraade

Plus that arrogant pos occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave has to reward him for having voted for him in 2008 and 2012


22 posted on 01/09/2013 5:51:25 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin
Obama is a petty, petulant child. You can bet this nomination is payback for him not getting his real choice, Susan Rice. Nothing Obama ever does is in the spirit of bipartisanship and to even hint at it makes any author lose credibility. It's Obama’s way or there's hell to pay. That's the little emperor's theme.
23 posted on 01/09/2013 5:55:57 AM PST by liberalh8ter (If Barack has a memory like a steel trap, why can't he remember what the Constitution says?)
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To: Kaslin
Obama being petty. What a surprise /sarc
24 posted on 01/09/2013 5:59:36 AM PST by mrsloungitude ( USMC Mom)
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To: Kaslin
Hagel was an enlisted man, as was I. Having seen poor leadership and been the recipient of stupid orders it was enlightening to work for General JJ Lindsay on his XVIII Airborne Corps Staff as his NCOIC (He was also my first Infantry Battalion Commander in the 82nd). This was because Lindsay was too a former enlisted man who received a battlefield commission on D-Day, and one morning I had the occasion to ask him why it appeared that his entire officer staff, to include one of the other two generals in the command group were former enlisted. To this he responded that having had to do police calls at Fort Bragg as a inductee and been on the bad side of orders, he felt that only those who had been led, and led by poor leadership would have the insight to issue orders that would be well thought and seen from the eyes of someone who actually was going to do the work.

The only good I can see in Hagel is that he too has seen poor leadership and hopefully that one single facet of his heading DOD if it happens is that he knows grunt work. As for his politics, I could not disagree more as I served two years in Tel Aviv at the American Embassy and support that country for several reasons, one of which is Western Civilization; that other is that our Stock Market is very inter-connected with stocks well represented in the Jewish State.

25 posted on 01/09/2013 6:12:29 AM PST by Jumper
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To: Kaslin
According to Politico, the choice "appeals to Obama's bipartisan spirit."

It's just effing laughable - the man has no more bipartisan spirit than he does humility or respect for The Constitution.

26 posted on 01/09/2013 6:14:03 AM PST by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: Kaslin

Obama’s intent is:
1) to further divide the Republicans against themselves;
2) to pretend to reach across the aisle, justifying blatant partisanship when the Republicans reject it;
3) to put Republicans in a position of negativity again, using up their energy on a sideshow.

At this juncture, Conservatives have no national leader, no strategy, no agenda — and it shows. Obama enjoys competent handlers running his Presidency as a political campaign, and an adulational “news” media eager to play along. Until we close the “figurehead gap”, Obama and company will eat our lunch, with dire results for the nation.


27 posted on 01/09/2013 6:28:24 AM PST by Chewbarkah
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To: Aevery_Freeman
You got the "t" and the "s" backwards in "this".

I wuz trying to be kind :)

28 posted on 01/09/2013 6:45:04 AM PST by upchuck (America's at an awkward stage. Too late to work within the system, too early to shoot the bastards.)
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To: Kaslin
Obama’s Cabinet choices indicate that he is the one not willing to accept that he has a mandate from his election. He understands well that those who voted for him are ignorant and he purchased their votes through false promises of wealth distribution and other ridiculous lies. There will be nothing to distribute except unfunded money printing. What really keeps him awake at night is his inferiority complex fueling his hate for the patriots of liberty and the constitution both of which negate his lethal ideology. He can’t resist any opportunity to throw into the present national crisis of leadership his pathetic nominations of obvious hacks. Political operatives who have already proven their unacceptability. They represent Molotov Cocktails of political terror thrown only to further destabilize the Republic of the United States
29 posted on 01/09/2013 7:05:25 AM PST by Postnbeam (Obama Cabinet Nominations are Political Molotov Coctails)
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To: Jumper
The only good I can see in Hagel is that he too has seen poor leadership...

You must referring to Trent Lott.

30 posted on 01/09/2013 7:24:23 AM PST by pepsi_junkie (Who is John Galt?)
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To: Aevery_Freeman

You’ve got that right!

This is just a game to Nobama. He practices the street hood “in yo face MoFo” intimidation, but will fold when confronted with a worthy opponent. May I suggest Ted Cruz?


31 posted on 01/09/2013 8:19:35 AM PST by X-spurt (Republic of Texas, Come and Take It!)
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To: X-spurt

I guess on the plus side...nobama didn’t nominate his commie pals, Ayers or Dornan.


32 posted on 01/09/2013 9:22:42 AM PST by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: Kaslin

Occams Razor applies here. Obama selected Hagel because they are sympatico where the “the jews” are concerned.


33 posted on 01/09/2013 9:32:06 AM PST by jwalsh07
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To: hal ogen

Do not put them past him.

This bunch really likes to “crank us up” with FU’s like BiteMe’s hinting nobama will outlaw 2nd Amendment by EO. They know that will never get by, but it really pisses us off just to hear it, that’s how subtle intimidation works.

I won’t be the least surprised when nobama starts giving the bird to his dem friends too.


34 posted on 01/09/2013 10:33:27 AM PST by X-spurt (Republic of Texas, Come and Take It!)
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To: gov_bean_ counter
Because Obie is a punk? A street thug?

"I'll take 'street thug' for $800, Alex."

35 posted on 01/09/2013 12:44:15 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: montanajoe
Personally I’ll take a liberal Republican who was a grunt and decorated combat veteran over just about anyone else O would have nominated...

Granting you his decorated service as an enlisted man, nevertheless what should be in the foreground here is the reasoning behind Obama's nomination of him, and what Obama intends by it, and what he intends Hagel to do, if he's confirmed. What are Obama's policies that Hagel will execute, and what are the politics of the nomination? That's the point.

And none of it looks good.

36 posted on 01/09/2013 12:55:27 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: lentulusgracchus
Exactly. Hagel was picked to provide cover for further eviscarization of the military because BO thinks he can do it better than an avowed Marxist in his own party. It's that simple.
37 posted on 01/09/2013 2:29:53 PM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: lentulusgracchus
Exactly. Hagel was picked to provide cover for further eviscarization of the military because BO thinks he can do it better than an avowed Marxist in his own party. It's that simple.
38 posted on 01/09/2013 2:30:17 PM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: lentulusgracchus
What you or I think should be in the foreground is irrelevant. There is no one that you or I think should be picked for Defense Secretary that would stand a chance of Obama nominating.

In my view an enlisted combat veteran serving as Secretary of Defense in this administration is about as much as anyone could hope for.

39 posted on 01/09/2013 3:50:08 PM PST by montanajoe
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To: Kaslin

>>>>The interesting question is, why? <<<<<

Here’s the answer from the lips of Lenin:

“Deepen [and] exacerbate existing problems, crises, [and] differences, and if they don’t exist, create them or convincingly claim that they exist... and profit [politically, ideologically and even financially] the most from them in any way you can, and, in the resulting chaos, blame our enemies for the whole thing.”

Obama was correct when he announced in 2008 that change had come to America. It’s a slow-motion version of what the Bolsheviks did in Russia. His actions are designed to enflame and antagonize, and with each response, power is concentrated with the left.

There’s no need for a Reichstag fire when dozens of smaller blazes are set across the landscape. No budget. Contradictory statements. Laws with hundreds of pages, followed by thousands of regulations. Stoking racial animosity. Fast and Furious. Gay marriage. Trillion-dollar coins. Raising taxes on the rich, which means everyone paying payroll taxes. I could list dozens more things that are promoted and proposed to confuse, anger, or deflate the feelings of the American people. And while everyone is looking elsewhere, power is consolidated.

God help us.


40 posted on 01/09/2013 9:05:23 PM PST by redpoll
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To: Kaslin

How can a state that elects Tom osborn also elect Hagel and Kerry?


41 posted on 01/09/2013 9:30:35 PM PST by Terry Mross (Liberal people who hate me read my posts. It drives them nuts. hee hee)
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To: montanajoe
There is no one that you or I think should be picked for Defense Secretary that would stand a chance of Obama nominating.

That's no reason to roll over for Barky and let him have what he wants. (He's a bottom, anyway.)

In my view an enlisted combat veteran serving as Secretary of Defense in this administration is about as much as anyone could hope for.

Two of the three great tyrants foretold by Nostradamus were enlisted veterans -- one Corsican corporal and one Austrian. Don't settle, agitate. Never give someone like Obama what he wants.

42 posted on 01/09/2013 11:10:04 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: jwalsh07
Occams Razor applies here. Obama selected Hagel because they are sympatico where the “the jews” are concerned.

I'll file that as an interesting minority report .... you may be right at least in part, since Obama's continuing thrust in his foreign policy has been to disengage from Israel, throwing them to the wolves in slow-motion, while loudly protesting the opposite. I have no doubt he's working to re-create the Caliphate. If that Caliphate is to incorporate an intact Hijaz, then by implication Israel is to be destroyed.

43 posted on 01/09/2013 11:16:44 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: lentulusgracchus
I don't buy your argument. I don't get my shorts in a wad over political gamesmanship. The politicians of both parties are self interested fools none of which deserve to be elected to any office. I know it makes most here feel better to “agitate” but I think its a waste of time. The fact is policy in this country is decided and elections are won by what the folks in the middle think.

The GOP lost an election they should easily have won by relying on “agitating” their base for the four years Obama had been in office and never once offered the electorate anything more than opposition to Obama...ABO was as stupid an idea as any political party in history has run on.

Folks can tell themselves anything they want but the bottom line is that the GOP lost the election. Obama won and if he can make appointments and policies that make the right furious he will do so. He knows the greatest weapon he has is the ability to make the right look like fools to the folks in the middle that actually decide where this country is headed.

I wont play that game....

44 posted on 01/10/2013 12:35:55 AM PST by montanajoe
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To: Venturer

Republicans have a persistent advantage in perceived support for a strong defense. Obama wants to kill that.

Just as LBJ and Kennedy put in Robert Strange McNamara, knowing that RSM was having an affair, so they could dump him when ever they wanted. That way any intervention of the president into military operations could be blamed on RSM.

And was.


45 posted on 01/10/2013 12:42:16 AM PST by donmeaker (Blunderbuss: A short weapon, ... now superceded in civilized countries by more advanced weaponry.)
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