Just some things to keep in mind:
- Chuck Hagel has a problem with Israel. Specifically - and as per the, um, National Jewish Democratic Council - Chuck Hagel has a real problem with supporting Israel over the terrorist groups that have been trying to destroy Israel within my lifetime, and probably yours as well. It was reported that American Jewish leaders gave administration staffers an earful about this Thursday night; the President should keep that in mind. And that Hagel's views on Israel are NOT mainstream.
- Chuck Hagel tried to stab SENATOR-ELECT Deb Fischer (R) in the back. Via Pejamn Youzehzadeh's new site (check it out) comes a reminder that, just before the election, Hagel went to Nebraska to try to torpedo the election of Deb Fischer to the US Senate by flashily endorsing Bob Kerrey. This was, of course, unsuccessful (as National Review noted, Hagel isn't exactly a native Nebraskan anymore; as I'll note, neither is Kerrey); but the fact that it happened should serve as an indication that there is no need to give Chuck Hagel any more of a pass on issues than you would any other creature of the Obama administration.
- Chuck Hagel wants to drastically change policy on our national defense. As in, he wants to drastically cut our nuclear arsenal. How this stance will jibe with the Obama administration's stubborn resistance to missile defense (the reduction of nukes assumes a vigorous missile defense system) is theoretically still up in the air, but presumably Chuck Hagel really, really wants to be Secretary of Defense.
- Chuck Hagel tried to stab Senator Pat Toomey (R) in the back, too. Hagel endorsed Joe Sestak for that Pennsylvania Senate race - allegedly largely over Israel policy, as well.
- Chuck Hagel advises a bank allegedly under investigation for violating sanctions against Iran. The Washington Free Beacon broke this one yesterday: to be fair, Deustche Bank is currently denying everything about said investigation, including the fact that it exists. It did not, however, deny that it had bought itself a former US Senator for its executive board. It's what's legal that's the crime, huh?
- There are whispers of election fraud in Chuck Hagel's past. Keywords: "Hagel, American Information Systems." I mention this not because I believe those rumors; but because I want to see the conspiracy theorists on the Left squirm a little when they contemplate that if Hagel gets nominated they're going to have to fall in line and support him anyway. Which the Left will still do, of course - but at least this way they can do it with gritted teeth.
There's more, but it largely gets into all the reasons why liberal Democrats should be unhappy at the Chuck Hagel pick. But let's be honest: there's no point in me bringing those points up, for two reasons. First, it'd be blatantly self-serving (that last bullet point above was merely a self-indulgence). Second, it won't matter anyway: progressives gelded themselves for the greater glory of Barack Obama long ago. So if he requires them to back Chuck Hagel, they will do so. Obediently, comprehensively, and with no real backtalk. Which, of course, is all that anybody ever really expects or requires or even desires out of them in the first place.
But let's get back to the point: there is no reason for the GOP to get behind Chuck Hagel. He is on the wrong side of various critical foreign policy issues, the man has been a Washington insider for some time now, and Hagel has spent the last two or three election cycles trying to curry favor with this administration by going after our own party's candidates. If he wants to be a Democrat - no: an Obaman - creature that badly, Chuck Hagel should go ahead and admit it; but there's no reason for us to pretend that the man is anything except a too-ambitious Beltway Bandit who wants to comfortably finish his career with a plum posting in the Imperial Court.
Because I'll tell you this: if we had elected a Republican President in '08 or November, Chuck Hagel would be trying to suck up to him, too.
Moe Lane (crosspost)