Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Harriet Hagel - We thought Chuck Hagel was wrong. Now we know hes unqualified, too.
National Review Online ^ | February 1, 2013 | Daniel Foster

Posted on 02/01/2013 11:47:33 AM PST by neverdem

‘Shaky.” “Struggling.” “Awkward.” “Not impressed.” “Unresponsive and bumbling.” “Disaster.” These are some of the words used by observers left, right, and middle to describe Chuck Hagel’s appearance before the United States Senate yesterday.

They might be underselling it. Hagel attempted to contextualize his comments about the intimidating “Jewish lobby” by noting that that was only time he used those words “on the record.” Later, in response to a challenge from Senator Graham to name one person or one “dumb” government policy negatively influenced by Jewish intimidation, Hagel drew a blank. When asked if he stood by an Al Jazeera interview in which he agreed with the characterization of the United States as “the world’s bully,” Hagel split follicles by noting that, “My comment was it’s a relevant and good observation. I don’t think that I said I agree with it.” He answered a question about his vote against designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group by claiming it would have been unprecedented to call an arm of “an elected, legitimate government” terrorists, “whether we agree or not.” An hour or so later, White House press secretary Jay Carney dodged a question about whether the president agreed.

Hagel also ran afoul of the president — and perhaps of his wits — when he said that he “support[ed] the president’s strong position on containment,” rather than prevention, of a nuclear Iran. Later, after being handed a note, he said “I misspoke and said I supported the president’s position on containment. If I said that, I meant to say we don’t have a position on containment.” But this wasn’t quite right either, as pointed out by Senator Carl Levin (D., Mich.). “We do have a position on containment, and that is we do not favor containment,” Levin said. “I just wanted to clarify the clarify.”

Mr. Hagel best summed up his eight hours ordeal when he assured his interlocutors that “if confirmed, I intend to know a lot more than I do.”

To be fair to the man’s plight, I’ve gone through my own flip-flops and perambulations on the Hagel nomination. At first I thought him so ill-suited to the job, and so widely understood to be so ill-suited to the job, that president Obama could hardly appoint him. When the president went ahead and appointed him anyway — perhaps as an act of second-term-honeymoon defiance in the face of the preemptive implosion of the Susan Rice nomination to State — I admitted my mistake:

It appears as though the Editors of National Review Online – not to mention yours truly — were too hasty in concluding last month that “Chuck Hagel is definitively not the man who should be the next secretary of defense. And considering the problems it will create for the Obama administration should they nominate him, we trust he won’t be.”

Because it now seems clear that Barack Obama will get Chuck Hagel as his next secretary of defense.

But I availed myself of an escape hatch, the kind they teach you about on day one of Pundit School:

Things could still change, of course. Confirmation hearings could bring new information to light. Hagel could damage himself in testimony. Or a unified Republican caucus could mount a filibuster.

[Steps through hatch.] Things have changed. The confirmation hearing has brought new information to light. Hagel has damaged himself in testimony. And a unified Republican caucus might just mount a filibuster (Ted Cruz, for one, is already talking about placing a hold on the nomination).

In short: Before, there was a big cross-section of the foreign-policy center and right that thought Hagel unwise. Now there may be an even bigger cross-section realizing he’s unqualified. It’s too early to say how badly Hagel’s performance has damaged his chances for confirmation. [Constructs another escape hatch.] My guess is it’s now slightly better than a 50/50 proposition that he gets in.

But perhaps more interesting than what his performance tells us about Hagel is what it tells us about Obama. It was clear before the hearing that the president saw in Chuck Hagel somebody who shared his (let’s be charitable) studied neutrality on the Israel/Palestine dispute, his skepticism about the desirability of American power projection, and his desire to trim a “bloated” defense budget. Mr. Obama thought he was getting a kindred spirit, more in line with his views, and in a better position to enact them, than just about any nominee he managed to retain in his first term. And a Republican to boot. But it now seems like the White House may have been so in love with Hagel’s measurables that it forgot to look at the video tape, to anticipate (obvious, heavily telegraphed!) lines of attack, and to coach Hagel through effective responses. There is simply no other way to explain the former senator’s performance today.

Nor, if you ask vets on the Hill (or Twitter), is there much of anything to compare it with. I’ve heard Bork’s name mentioned a few times, but of course that’s way off base. Bork’s interrogators were more hostile and less decorous than Hagel’s, and Bork was well equipped to rebut them, while Hagel looked out of his depth. No, the closest comparison here is to a set of Senate hearings that never happened — those for Harriet Miers.

Like Hagel, Miers was nominated by a recently reelected president at the height of his powers. But that wasn’t enough. Critics across the ideological spectrum were offended not just by her slight résumé, but by the president’s seeming indifference — or even contempt — for both the institution of the Supreme Court and the norms of “advise and consent” that her nomination bespoke. As if the fact that she was his preference — and his friend — were sufficient to recommend her to an office of great moment.

Hagel’s résumé isn’t quite so thin. His personal chumminess with the president is not so obviously the prime force driving his nomination. But unlike President Bush, who was wise enough to let Miers withdraw before hearings could vindicate his critics, President Obama has let Hagel flounder so badly that Senate Republicans and Democrats alike should think carefully about just how much respect the president has for the Pentagon — or for them.

— Daniel Foster is NRO’s news editor.



TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: chuckhagel; hagel; obama

1 posted on 02/01/2013 11:47:40 AM PST by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: neverdem

“the president saw in Chuck Hagel somebody who shared his (let’s be charitable) studied neutrality on the Israel/Palestine dispute, his skepticism about the desirability of American power projection . . .”

I don’t think Zero has any problem with American power projection. He just wants to make sure it’s projected for the wrong purposes.


2 posted on 02/01/2013 11:53:18 AM PST by ModelBreaker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Harriet Miers for Secretary of Defense!!!


3 posted on 02/01/2013 11:57:39 AM PST by smoothsailing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Senator Jim Inhofe asked Chuck Hagel why the Iranians had endorsed his nomination for secretary of defense:

“Given that Iran, the people — I’m quoting right now from Iran — people of the Middle East, the Muslim region and North Africa, people of these regions hate America from the bottom of their heart,” said Inhofe. “It further said Israel is a cancerous tumor in the heart of the Islamic world. They further said Iran’s warriors are ready and willing to wipe Israel off the map. The question I’d like to ask you, and you can answer for the record if you’d like, why do you think the Iranian foreign ministry so strongly supports your nomination to be the Secretary of Defense?”

video here.... http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/senator-defsec-nominee-why-have-iranians-endorsed-you_699049.html


4 posted on 02/01/2013 12:03:31 PM PST by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

I have not seen any criticism of Hagel that actually called him stupid. I’ll do it, he’s stupid.


5 posted on 02/01/2013 12:04:34 PM PST by ozzymandus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

I have not seen any criticism of Hagel that actually called him stupid. I’ll do it, he’s stupid.


6 posted on 02/01/2013 12:04:52 PM PST by ozzymandus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nuconvert

Hagel began his reply with a flip remark and laughter. If I were Inhofe I would have stopped him right there and asked him why he finds a serious question and issue so amusing.


7 posted on 02/01/2013 12:08:45 PM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: ozzymandus

He hasn’t been called stupid, probably because he knows exactly what his views are and why he is the way he is.

He is truly a democrat, several steps lower than any RINO or whale$h!t.

He showed his true colors when he was first sent to the senate and told Nebraskans that he was there to represent his personal views and not those of Nebraskans who elected him.


8 posted on 02/01/2013 12:13:42 PM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
"EVERYONE in this (corrupt) Administration hates America and Israel, so
what difference does it make?"


9 posted on 02/01/2013 12:14:09 PM PST by Diogenesis (De Oppresso Liber)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Obama would look this stupid as wellif asked tough questions .


10 posted on 02/01/2013 12:17:56 PM PST by Huskrrrr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
The line between serious reporting and satire are becoming more blurred every day.
11 posted on 02/01/2013 12:23:14 PM PST by liberalh8ter (If Barack has a memory like a steel trap, why can't he remember what the Constitution says?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Ted Cruz, for one, is already talking about placing a hold on the nomination.

How I wish we could clone Ted Cruz (and Trey Gowdy, too)

12 posted on 02/01/2013 12:27:46 PM PST by JPG (Stay strong.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


13 posted on 02/01/2013 12:28:29 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


14 posted on 02/01/2013 12:28:41 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


15 posted on 02/01/2013 12:28:48 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


16 posted on 02/01/2013 12:28:58 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


17 posted on 02/01/2013 12:28:58 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


18 posted on 02/01/2013 12:29:05 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


19 posted on 02/01/2013 12:29:04 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


20 posted on 02/01/2013 12:29:04 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


21 posted on 02/01/2013 12:29:04 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


22 posted on 02/01/2013 12:29:04 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


23 posted on 02/01/2013 12:29:10 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr

Obama just looks stupid.....period!


24 posted on 02/01/2013 12:29:15 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: basil

Well—I wanted to make myself perfectly clear!

(I can’t figure out how that happens once in a while......)


25 posted on 02/01/2013 12:31:18 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: basil

Basil? You ok? That looked like it hurt... ;-)


26 posted on 02/01/2013 12:34:08 PM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Alex. I will have World History for 20.


27 posted on 02/01/2013 12:47:37 PM PST by dancusa (Lets be nimble, Lets be quick, Make Barrack history on November sixth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ozzymandus
"I have not seen any criticism of Hagel that actually called him stupid. I’ll do it, he’s stupid."

HA, HA, HA!

28 posted on 02/01/2013 12:54:29 PM PST by hummingbird
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Dead Corpse

I think most of you will be happy to know that I am buying a new computer next week. I have a rare “bad” Mac—so the Apple store is giving me a great deal on a new one.

Sorry for the multiple posts in the meantime. I don’t know what triggers them, but it’s been a problem for a long time, now.


29 posted on 02/01/2013 1:08:30 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Dead Corpse

I think most of you will be happy to know that I am buying a new computer next week. I have a rare “bad” Mac—so the Apple store is giving me a great deal on a new one.

Sorry for the multiple posts in the meantime. I don’t know what triggers them, but it’s been a problem for a long time, now.


30 posted on 02/01/2013 1:08:40 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Dead Corpse

I think most of you will be happy to know that I am buying a new computer next week. I have a rare “bad” Mac—so the Apple store is giving me a great deal on a new one.

Sorry for the multiple posts in the meantime. I don’t know what triggers them, but it’s been a problem for a long time, now.


31 posted on 02/01/2013 1:08:40 PM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

I like the line I saw yesterday....He certainly won’t be asked to bring the potato salad to the Mensa picnic.


32 posted on 02/01/2013 1:13:45 PM PST by Cyber Liberty (Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Where was Graham during Kerry’s questioning?

Must have been first in line to kiss his ass.


33 posted on 02/01/2013 1:26:33 PM PST by Venturer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ozzymandus
I have not seen any criticism of Hagel that actually called him stupid. I’ll do it, he’s stupid.

He reminds me of a movie. I think Peter Sellers was in it.


34 posted on 02/01/2013 1:33:17 PM PST by COBOL2Java (Fighting Obama without Boehner & McConnell is like going deer hunting without your accordion)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Just like the Chicago murder rate and the pending bankruptcy of Illinois, the MSM never draws a connection between Obama and these political disasters.

Susan Rice was clearly Obama’s first choice for SecState, but was forced out by the Conservative blogs before she was nominated.

Now, Chuck Hagel, Obama’s fellow traveler on support for Iran, the Islamic Brotherhood, anti-Israel terror groups, and anti-Zionism.

The political damage for Obama?

Zero, as always.

35 posted on 02/01/2013 1:59:30 PM PST by zeestephen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: basil

No problem basil. Your posts are normally worth reading more than once in any case... :-)


36 posted on 02/02/2013 7:10:51 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Dead Corpse

How nice of you to say that! You’ve made my day!


37 posted on 02/02/2013 8:10:06 AM PST by basil (basil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson