Is Chuck Hagel a stalking horse for Michele Flournoy for Secretary of Defense?
And does he know it?
The Washington Post‘s editorial board is the latest group to jump on the God, please, not Chuck Hagel bandwagon:
FORMER SENATOR Chuck Hagel, whom President Obama is reportedly considering for defense secretary, is a Republican who would offer a veneer of bipartisanship to the national security team. He would not, however, move it toward the center, which is the usual role of such opposite-party nominees. On the contrary: Mr. Hagel’s stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, fall well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term — and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him.
Interestingly, the word ‘Israel’ appears nowhere in that op-ed – but the name “Michèle Flournoy” did. Flournoy was a former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy who was rumored to be in the running for SecDef in 2008. Obviously, that didn’t happen – but it’s interesting on how she’s now being quietly touted as Barack Obama’s Plan B. Which would normally be a problem for Obama, except that by now everybody in politics has pretty much internalized that Good Secretary of Defense pick = Republican. If the GOP simply can’t tolerate Obama’s token Republican choice, then, well, that frees him up for the candidate that he wanted*. A historic candidate, no less.
And, honestly? Chuck Hagel would be a bad choice. A really, really, really bad choice; at the very least, he’s got some bad ‘uns going to bat for him right now. As I said four years ago: we could do worse than Flournoy. I mean, I’d prefer a proper Republican in the Secretary of Defense spot, but then I’d also prefer a proper Republican in the Presidential one, so we are working with limited options here.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Or, at least, the candidate that Barack Obama can plausibly claim to have retroactively wanted all along.