Can we possibly have a sane debate over Chuck Hagel’s nomination?

It’s now been confirmed that the President plans to nominate from GOP Senator Chuck Hagel as his next secretary of defense.

Hagel’s trial-balloon nomination has been on a rocky road these past few weeks as gays, and the over-the-top-supporters of Israel, expressed concern about his possible nomination (well, gays expressed concerns, certain Israel supporters went bonkers).

First the gays and Chuck Hagel

I do a detailed walk-through of why gays are concerned about Chuck Hagel in this earlier piece. In a nutshell, Hagel was a pretty big anti-gay bigot when he was in Congress. Of particular concern were Hagel’s comments about President Clinton’s recess appointment of Jim Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg.  Hormel, you see, was a g-a-y, and Hagel was vewy vewy concerned.

The Omaha World-Herald reported in 1998: “Ambassadorial posts are sensitive, Hagel explained. ‘They are representing America,’ he said [in an interview]. ‘They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.’”

Log Cabin Republicans' ad against Chuck Hagel in the NYT.

Log Cabin Republicans’ odd ad against Chuck Hagel in the NYT raised some questions.

The lead gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, and Hormel himself, both expressed concerns about Hagel’s nomination.  Both then kinda sorta changed their mind after, one assumes, they got phones calls from Hagel, senior administration officials, and/or both bearing promises and/or threats.

As we learned in the past few days. the issue of gays in the military is far from over – repeal was only the beginning.  So it’s a legitimate concern gay rights advocates have as to whether Senator Hagel is no longer an anti-gay bigot.  And I’m sorry, he was.  I’m all for forgiveness, but first we need contrition.  And Chuck Hagel’s recent statement about this issue didn’t do much to assuage those concerns:

“My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.”

1.  They were more than “insensitive.”  They were bigoted.  They were vintage Jesse Helms.

2. Those anti-gay comments “do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record.”  Um, Hagel’s public record on gay rights is abominable.

Hagel’s HRC ratings while in the Senate:

110th Congress: 20
109th Congress:  zero
108th Congress: zero
107th Congress: zero

Let’s look at the 110th congress, when Hagel suddenly discovered one gay civil rights measure he could support. The only “pro-gay” policy that Hagel supported was international AIDS funding, which isn’t gay at all.

The “totality” of Chuck Hagel’s record on gay civil rights is pretty awful.

I’m willing to believe that the man has changed in the past two years (though it seems awfully opportune). but I’d like some proof, or at the very least, a convincing explanation. We’re received neither.

Then there’s Israel and Chuck Hagel

I received this tweet this morning in response to my earlier story about Hagel.  It’s illustrative of part of the campaign against Chuck Hagel’s nomination.

Screen Shot 2013-01-06 at 1.27.36 PM

Mind you, my earlier story about Hagel hardly showed support for the man.  Here’s my supposed “support” for Chuck Hagel that this guy is complaining about:

I think concerns about Hagel are justified.  His mea culpa is welcome, though insufficient.  Hagel’s comments in 1999 weren’t just “insensitive,” they were bigoted to the level of Jess Helms.  As for “the totality” of Hagel’s record, I’m unaware of Hagel being a serious gay rights advocate in the totality of his record, but-for the Hormel comments. I think whoever crafted Hagel’s apology didn’t do a sufficiently good job with it.

Not very supportive, is it.

But when one is discussing Israel – even if, like me, you’ve been a longtime supporter of Israel, and have been criticized for not being as sympathetic to the Arab/Palestinian side of the debate – a certain crowd will mark you as the anti-Christ if you are deemed to be insufficiently genuflecting to Tel Aviv when pondering America’s overall national security.  That’s why, even when I write a column critical of Hagel, and mention in the column that I’ve always been pro-Israel, I am instead too pro-Hagel, and not just a hater of Israel, but a hater of all Jews.

And that, sadly, is at least a part of what is happening to Chuck Hagel over this nomination.  And why the entire issue is now giving me much greater pause than it did before.

Check out part of the reason they’re upset with Hagel over Israel:

He also has complained about the influence that Israel’s supporters exert on members of Congress, telling writer Aaron David Miller that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”

And? I worked in the Senate for a pro-Israel Senator.  I’ve met with both representatives of AIPAC and senior American Jewish leaders who came to lobby my office about Israel. (I also got to meet with Yitzhak Rabin, which was definitely a highlight of my time there. The man’s English was incomprehensible, but he scootched over and had me sit with him on a small bench for one person in packed room, since there were no other seats available. My boss glowered at me as I sat next to the Prime Minister of Israel. It was a pretty cool moment.).  And I was given strict orders by my bosses – unlike any I’d been given in my five years working for a US Senator – to bend over backwards to be nice to these particular lobbyists because, I was told, they had a ton of money and were hugely powerful.  It impressed me greatly.  To the point where I now, routinely, when discussing my views on the strategy of gay rights lobbying, make the point that gay rights advocates need to replicate the NRA and the pro-Israel lobby, in terms of the raw power they’ve amassed, their willingness to use that power, and the fear they instill in American politicians.

Hate them? I want to be them.

So I’m sorry, but can we please stop playing this little game where it’s okay to acknowledge that the NRA intimidates “a lot of people here,” that Big Pharma and Wall Street and the insurance lobby do the same (as do gay rights supporters – we intimidate a lot of Democrats, and a growing number of Republicans, and I’m all for it), but when we acknowledge the obvious success of the pro-Israel lobby, suddenly you’re an anti-Semite and an un-friend of Israel.

I have no idea if Chuck Hagel should be confirmed.  I still have concerns about his stance on civil rights.  But these kind of knee-jerk, heavy-handed arguments by supposed defenders of Israel serve only to continue pushing people like me further away from them, and Israel.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • http://twitter.com/nilbud Sean O’Nilbud

    I couldn’t care less about Jews but I despise Israel.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Oh, now i get it. Sorry I wasted my time on a far-left loon.

  • ezpz

    “You seem to be obsessed with the fact that Hagel voted for the Iraq War but are somehow pissed at Obama for opposing it while in the state senate.”

    No, I’m not pissed at Obama for opposing it; I’m pissed that he LIED about opposing it when it was safe AND popular for him to run as the anti war candidate. He exploited the war fatigue felt by the nation because of Bush/Cheney’s long dark years (of which Hagel was a part). It was pure Machiavellian demagoguery.

  • ezpz

    Please point to one senate vote that substantiated his being against anything military. I don’t care what he says. I look at the voting record. And if you do find such a vote, look at how many voted yea on it, because often, senators or representatives will cast a conscience/political vote when they know a bill will pass without their vote.

    And as for being “obsessed”, project much? You repeat your talking points, which are not rooted in reality, ad nauseum.

    “The current Defense Secretary also voted for the Iraq War and defended it as recently as a few months ago.”

    And? Talk about senseless rambling, I’m not a fan of this defense secretary either. In fact, I don’t care for most of 0bomber’s cabinet members/appointments because I don’t care for him.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    No, I don’t have a clue what you’re saying. You seem to be obsessed with the fact that Hagel voted for the Iraq War but are somehow pissed at Obama for opposing it while in the state senate. It doesn’t seem to matter to you that Hagel opposed the Iraq surge, opposes our endless presence in Afghanistan, wants nukes cut 80%, etc. The current Defense Secretary also voted for the Iraq War and defended it as recently as a few months ago.

  • ezpz

    lol. I think you understand what I’m saying. You just don’t like it is all.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    No, it’s not. It’s just more rambling.

  • ezpz

    My point is: talk is cheap, especially when it’s belied by his senate votes.
    Is that a little ‘clearer’ for you?

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Unclear what your rambling point is. Sorry.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    LOL! Click a down arrow isn’t an apology for your bigotry, little one.

  • ezpz

    TBogg is a major obamabot who will defend just about anything he does.

  • ezpz

    “Um” – he criticized the Iraq war AFTER he voted for it. Easy to do when public opinion starts to sour on a once popular endeavor, just like it was easy for 0bama to run as the anti war candidate when he didn’t have to vote on it because that vote happened before his stint as senator. As far as attacking Iran, MANY have been critical about that, including Israelis.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Um, he stood up to the entire Republican caucus in criticizing the Iraq War and opposing the surge. More importantly, he has been extremely critical of an American attack on Iran, which the Israel-firsters are panting for.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    LOL! Yeah, that outlandish “with me or McCarthyite” idiocy is exactly how people like you destroyed the New Left. Congrats.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    With Mehlman, he has an enormous amount of pro-gay work to have to do to ever have it outweigh his central role in the 2004 campaign. But to his credit, he is doing good work fundraising in marriage equality fights these days.

  • Ford Prefect

    OK, I get it now. You’re a Right-Wing Authoritarian Follower. Otherwise known as a McCarthyite in another generation. Thanks for playing!

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yeah!!! Slam somebody who disagrees with Likud with the “anti-Semite” label, while its still has a few milligrams of meaning left in it. Sorry, dear, but when people like you use attack words, all they mean is “deign to question His Warmongering Majesty, Benjamin Netanyahu.” It’s an effort at bullying. Don’t try to bully gays. We have a lifetime of standing up to bullies who are a lot more threatening than a snot-nosed Likud propagandist.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    LOL!!!! Talk about a straw man. Either one must support the raving warmongering of Netanyahu or one must be an Iranian sympathizer? LOL!!!! So much for all those Israeli citizens who will be voting against Likud this month. I guess they’re all Iranian sympathizers. Perhaps Netanyahu can round them up as enemy agents and put them in camps. Hey, there are still some remaining parts of the West Bank that haven’t been effectively annexed by illegal settlement yet. Maybe the camps can be put there.

    Go away, Likudist troll.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I agree that it is possible to find relevant connections between many issues and any cabinet member’s job. But I give far more weight to the use-of-force issue for two reasons. First, many of the things you mention are actually not within the discretion of the Secretary but are imposed by law by Congress, (see abortion; enemy combatants), or are controlled by presidential order, (see affirmative action). Second, the next Secretary is going to be under enormous pressure from the Israel-first crowd to start an American war with Iran. Hagel has not only been very skeptical of the idea but, I think, has the high profile and the strength to resist that pressure. He bucked the entire Republican conference on the Iraq surge. The potential alternatives are largely unknown Pentagon staffers.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Still lacking the basic character to apologize for your disgusting bigotry against people with developmental disabilities? That you find the outrage “mock” tells us so much about the depth of your clueless bigotry when it comes to people with disabilities. What a little pig you are.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I’m well aware, dear, that Likud is in a coalition with that vile bigot Avigdor Lieberman and the whole lot of stark, raving mad settler lunatics.

    Good luck smugly lecturing us gay folks about how right-wing evangelicals are not anti-gay. The arrogance of you people is just amazing.

    I’m also aware that AIPAC whores for whomever runs Israel. We know that it’s mantra is “Israel, right or wrong.”

  • Skeptical Cicada

    We’ve clicked on your comment history, hon. We know you’re nothing but a propagandist for Likud. Go away.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I find it amusing how Likudists fail to recognize how offensive their clumsy efforts to exploit sexual orientation in pursuit of their warmongering. Honey, we don’t need a bunch of Likudists who just tried to shove Mitt Romney down our throats to tell us what is good for gays. You people manifestly do not give a damn about gay rights.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Thank you for illustrating the rather comical way that AIPAC et al. have clumsily tried to exploit gay folks in pursuit of Likudist warmongering. Yes, yes, dear, we heard that same nonsense when you all were ordering us to side with ADL in its bizarre demand that all Muslims be labeled terrorists and be forever barred from Lower Manhattan. Sorry, but we don’t share your burning hatred for Muslims or feel a surge of elation at every IDF killing of a Palestinian.

    Sorry, Likudist, but the U.S. military exists to protect Americans, mot for the personal use of that raving warmonger of an israeli prime minister, whose concern fir gay folks was so apparent in his vigorous effort to interfere with the American election to put that antigay bigot Romney in the White House. That little stunt ended this American’s silent endurance of the Israel-first garbage on our politics. I’m laughing at Netanyahu’s appearance at the U.N. with a cartoon bomb.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    No i rather clear understood your smug radicalism. It has been an unfortunate affliction of the antiwar movement sine the late 1960′s.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Correctly exposing your personal agenda is not a personal attack. And you can step down the hallway and tell that to your boss at AIPAC.

    I noticed that you lack the basic character to apologize for your disgusting use of the word “retarded.” Is disdian for people with developmdntal disabilities part of the AIPAC ideology, or is that your own personal bigotry?

  • patb2009

    I’m not sure what you mean by your donation figures, one must include in AIPAC the donations of people like Sheldon Adelson http://www.republicreport.org/2012/adelson-aipac-jet/ who are active in the organization and influence people.

  • rerutled

    When I came out to my parents, they changed their tune about gay rights, too. And that was certainly awfully opportune.

    I don’t mind people changing their tune about gay rights, as long as they become for them; and as long as that change is demonstrably sincere. Also, the sum total of the impact of their past opinions has to be acceptably small. For Hagel, all this appears to be true.

    But for Ken Mehlman? I don’t understand how anyone can stand to be in the same room as the guy who mounted the anti-gay re-election strategy of GW Bush in 2004 and rode the country to hell on it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Wrong,

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It never occurs to them that Jesus was a Jew.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Is this the old, some Nazis were innocent argument? Pope Benedict comes to mind.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That’s OK Zorba. I’ll be more than happy to go there in ‘spades.’

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Super troll stirs up the dust.

  • ezpz

    Edit: Great info, btw. Thanks for that.

    And as for the ‘use of military force’, he did vote for the Iraq misadventure before he (somewhat) spoke out against it. And while I don’t have his voting record in front of me, I would be very surprised if he voted no on ANY defense authroization, Patriot Acts, FISA, etc.

    As has been said, the Defense Secretary doesn’t set policies. That would be the president, and we can be sure that Obomber would not pick anyone who is not in complete alignment with his agenda.

  • ezpz

    Yes, anyone with a shred of integrity need not apply and WILL NOT be considered.

  • Zorba

    No, Superdust, it has not become “so standard in American English that it no longer carries that kind of offense it used to have.”

    Maybe it does to you, but not to most thinking, humane, and caring people. Do you also use the “n-word” just because a whole lot of people still use it?

  • Superdust

    also, has obama forgotten hagel voted in favor the clinton impeachment? though hagel’s dovish foreign policy has been extolled by some, it is certainly exaggerated. outside of that he is mostly a generic republican, which is fine but i dont see how that fits with obama’s status as a democrat. both brennen and hagel are considered very friendly with the arab and muslim states, as friendly as one can be in the US government. both would fit right in in the state department but are definitely outside the conventional as far as the military and intelligence wing goes.

    why obama wants to cause more drama in congress beats me. the US doesnt need this, there are plenty of intelligence candidates with real leadership experience to choose from. hagel has a history of resigning from posts when challenged.

  • Zorba

    Did I say anything whatsoever about Americans who support Israel? No, I did not. Speaking of who is “sensitive much.”

  • Superdust

    please explain how AIPAC blackmails, theats, and bribes politicians. AIPAC is made up of americans, AMERICAN CITIZENS. support for israel in the US is overwhelming. the “zionist” government of israel, having trouble couching your bigotry behind buzzwords? AIPAC has been subject to numerous failed witch hunts by the FBI and antaognists in the state department.

  • Superdust

    UH, is that a strawman i smell? lobbying is the most effective way americans can get their voices heard. however, america’s #1 lobbyist is of course the president. $$$$ does not buy votes. big oil has spent 200+ million dollars lobbying the federal government to open the keystone pipeline yet it hasnt yet. environment lobby is maybe 10-20 million a year. same goes for the pharm. lobby that spent 100+ million trying to stifle foreign support for AIDS-awareness and treatment in africa, because it would cut into their bottom line and profit margins.

    and if you havent noticed i dont capitalize much in general. if you feel like your views are common and held by like-minded individuals, feel free to lobby the government in your own time. iran has its own lobby, join that one.

  • Stev84

    What’s really interesting is that a lot of ultra-right-wing Christians are virulently anti-semitic, while also pretending to be pro-Israel. They hate Jews because “they killed Jesus”. It really seems like their primary motivation is to fulfill Biblical prophecies. They think that if they can take control of the “holy land”, Armageddon will happen and Jesus will return.

  • Superdust

    hey, so you are offended by words like retarded yet have no problem attacking me personally? grow up.

  • Superdust

    im trying to figure this out, war mongering? im sorry, i didnt realize the US was negotating with the taliban and al qaeda and not bombing countries every time a failed bomb plot is discovered in the US.

    obama is a war criminal compared to the most EXTRME israeli politician. exploting your sexual orientation, jesus are you high? israel is the only country where GAYS ARE NOT BURIED TO THEIR NECKS AND STONED IN THE FACE. israel’s policies and acceptance of homosexuality is not designed as some plot to gain supporters, it is merely a reflection of its status as a progress and open/free society.

    war mongering, that’s funny. please tell me if you know where your nearest bomb shelter is. do you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/zachary.smith.3914207 Zachary Smith

    After reading this: http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2013/01/07/pierce-on-hagel/ I’m retracting the term “jerk”. He’s still a crook, but definitely not the kind of ******* I thought he was.

    My apologies to Mr. Hagel for the J word.

  • Superdust

    i think the word retarded has become so standard in american english that it no longer carries that kind of offense it used to have.

  • Superdust

    uh, yes it is. about 70% of all money donated in federal elections goes to democratic candidates. AIPAC annual budget is about 2 or 3 million, and campaign donations (which is from AMERICAN CITIZENS) is about 5 or so million during each election year – that includes congress, president, and state legislature. jstreet gives almost 100% of money to democrats.

    so no, it’s not an enormous amount of money compared to most lobbying groups. AIPAC has 11 lobbyists i believe. there are over 15,000 registered lobbyists in D.C.

    generally, the success of the israeli lobby is woefully overstated. US relationship with israel is multi-faceted, and runs the gamet between the military, state department, economy, and intelligence agencies. most in israel would prefer a military treaty opposed to foreign military aid, but it is a fair alternative and substitute. the fact is the basic platforms of AIPAC aren’t particularly controversial and for the most part agree with US foreign affairs. certain key issues like settlements and peace process have remained unchanged in the US.

    the UK spends more money on lobbying in the US, about 9 million a year. some muslim states, like the UAE, have even higher budgets – and these are FOREIGN COUNTRIES with little to no supporters in the US.

    i remain quite puzzled how any LGBT can have such weird views on israel considering it is the only country in the middle east that not only recognizes the rights of gays, including gay marriage done outside of the country, but also has openly-gay politicians serving in the knesset. meanwhile, right next door gays are being stoned to death, or homosexuality remains a capital offense.

    it’s just weird, really weird. self-hating gays?

  • Superdust

    call a spade a spade. you want to villify millions of americans who support israel, yet express mock outrage over uses of words like “retards?” sensitive much?

  • Superdust

    well, considering israel is a coalition government it is silly to label any administration as “right wing” or “left wing.” unlike the US, where one party tends to dominate the executive and legislature, and the president has the ability to bomb other countries without the consent of well…anyone, each israeli government is made up of various parties with different political philsophies. in order for any leader to maintain power it has to COMPROMISE with supporters and opponents or the govenrment falls a part. this is why most governments in israel dont last very long.

    LIKUD has a PLURALITY, no party ever has a majority in the knesset, or it is very very rare. AIPAC doesnt have any affiliations with a single party in israel, and will generally promote the interests of israel vis-vis american supporters regardless fo which party is in power. AIPAC is made up of 100,000 american citizens, liberals, democrats, and conservatives. and not all evangelicals are anti-gay.

  • Zorba

    Thanks, K.! I really think that way too many people fling this term around, without realizing how hurtful and obnoxious it is.

  • Sweetie

    That’s the same Obama who joked about killing kids with drones in front of an audience that clapped and laughed with warm appreciation.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Very Like!

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    “lobbying is critical, how else are americans supposed to get their voices heard?”

    Serious, dude, do ya actually believe that an Iraqi war vet living under a bridge in a cardboard box has the same lobbying power as AIPAC? How fair is that?

    And BTW, shouldn’t a true patriot capitalize the word American?.

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    Enter the baggers… stage right!

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    “AIPAC is run by democrats and liberals”

    No its not; it’s being run by money… enormous amounts of it.

  • Ford Prefect

    1) You rather completely missed my point. Sure he’s “competent,” but it means nothing in terms of policy. It’s just a kabuki about personalities and nothing more. As such, I don’t really care if he gets confirmed or not. In the end, it means next to nothing. If it’s not him, it will be someone else. The policy will remain consistent, no matter who gets the parking space.

    2) If you have to use phony agit-prop (the incubator-like genocide story the US made up to justify intervention) to make a case for something, then perhaps you should revisit your usage of the word “fringe.” Perhaps you are not aware when you are being propagandized.

    3) I don’t know how Bush’s FP came into this, but okay, there’s almost no REAL difference in the two. Only the personalities are different. Take John Brennan’s promotion to CIA. This illustrates that with THIS administration, if one commits war crimes, one is promoted… while if one exposes war crimes, one goes to prison. Obama is in fact much harsher on legitimate whistleblowers than even Bush was. It’s a FACT. Obama’s “surge” in Afghanistan was an unmitigated failure and his pushing into more and more countries in which to wage war surpassed Bush by the end of 2010.

    Both administrations essentially share the same priorities. The differences are so minor as to be “differences in style.” I can say this because Obama wants to slash away at Social Security while actually increasing the War Budget. Given the fact DOD is in many ways bankrupting our society, it’s hard to imagine an administration more reactionary than that without invoking Godwin’s Law.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Only a fringe radical could fail to see any difference between the Bush and Obama foreign policies.

    Thinking that the world would have been such a better place with a million Libyans slaughtered in a Benghazi genocide is what I’d call blinkered.

  • Zorba

    Thank you, S.C. I have a huge problem with people who fling around the term “retarded” when discussing anything they do disagree with. It is an obnoxious term and is, as you said, dehumanizing towards the developmentally disabled.

  • Zorba

    Can people please stop using the term “retarded” in response to views they disagree with? (Or the term “retard,” for that matter.)
    As a retired teacher of the developmentally disabled, this really grates on my one remaining nerve. Just stop. It calls into question every other expressed opinion that you have.
    Thank you.

  • cole3244

    sane debate, are there republicans involved, yes, then no.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “were he not too honest to win Republican primaries.” WTF?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well done!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Cheney’s relationship to Halliburton when he was vice-president.” Like starting a war and enriching his family with blood money for generations?

  • Ford Prefect

    The funny thing about the way this kabuki works is that Liberals can be relied upon to support a very Right-Wing Republican, just to piss off the Ultra Right-Wing Whackaloon Brigade, even though US foreign policy is still totally dominated by Neo-Cons and their Neo-Liberal sidekicks. Isn’t that the real point here? It releases Obama from having to come up with a Democrat for SECDEF in the first place, which might invite a broader discussion of US War Policy.

    Realistically, would Hagel be a competent secretary? Sure, no doubt about that. So would a bunch of other people. And if he gets in, we can expect him to carry out the very same pro-Israel policies the administration has already written up. Isn’t that the real issue here?

    All this is just a stupid side-show. We’ll still have more wars and their number will continue to increase, not decrease. The issue is the Policy, not who implements it, and we already know the policy direction includes a likely very messy intervention in Syria and something involving Iran.

    If he’s confirmed, we’ll still see continuation of the same blinkered policies we saw before. But at least he’ll be competent at them.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Fair enough. The Defense Secretary sets policy for handling discrimination issues (LGBT, women), access to abortion and contraception for military women, whether the military adheres to and promotes conservation and anti-pollution measures, and whether foreign combatant prisoners (or those merely swept up) are treated fairly under the Geneva Conventions or are dropped into a no-justice black hole somewhere. He’s also been against set-asides in budgets for woman- and minority-owned subcontractors, and if there’s one thing the Defense Dept does, it’s contract out buckets of project money.

    All I’m saying is you asked how he’s conservative — and my response is he’s been straight down the line conservative, except for immigration and use of military force. That’s it. And it does matter because advising on use-of-force issues isn’t the only thing SecDef does in running his massively overfunded and oversized department.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zachary.smith.3914207 Zachary Smith

    I’ve been looking around for more on this story, and found a few items which might be of interest.

    At the Informed Consent site Juan Cole predicts Hagel won’t have any problems at all in the Senate, and he supports the nomination.

    At Asia Times Online – http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/OA08Ak01.html – Jim Lobe has a long piece detailing the problems Hagel’s nomination will present to AIPAC: they’re damned if they oppose him and damned if they don’t. In fact, some bloggers I read suggest BHO has baited a trip for the Israel Firsters.

    So it looks to me like AIPAC is using proxies to try to derail Hagel. One fellow whose blog I try to check at least once a week is listed in my Bookmarks as “Israeli Nutcase”, and he’s frothing at the mouth on this one. :)

    http://warsclerotic.wordpress.com/

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Your second paragraph is just beginning to get at the crux of my question, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. What, for example, does bankruptcy reform (or, for that matter, immigration reform) have to do with Defense Secretary? Really, use of force is just one issue of no greater moment in a Defense Secretary appointment than CAF’s rating? Come on.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Lifetime rating of 84% from the American Conservative Union and A & B grades from the National Taxpayer’s Union (both conservative outfits). Voted for the Patriot Act and for the Bush tax cuts, against McCain-Feingold. Virulently anti-gay remarks in the 90s, and a consistent anti-gay voting record in the Senate. Rated 0% by NARAL for a consistently anti-choice voting record. Rated 11% by NAACP for his anti-affirmative action positions. Voted yes on the recent bankruptcy law changes, making it harder for individuals to discharge debt, and no on removing the off-shoring tax subsidy. Voted in favor of increasing drug crime sentences. Against habeas rights for Gitmo prisoners, and voted against requiring the CIA to report on interrogation techniques.. In favor of school vouchers, and against increased education funding. Rated 17% by CAF on energy issues, and 0% by the League of Conservation Voters. Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition for his ‘pro-family’ voting record.

    So on the use of force he’s not conservative, nor is he on immigration policy. But the head of the DoD makes a great many policy decisions affecting the men and women serving under him, and what I see is a conservative ideologue with just two heresies from current GOP hyper-conservative dogma. ‘On the Issues’ labels him a libertarian-leaning conservative.

    (Sources: Wiki and ‘On the Issues’ http://www.ontheissues.org/senate/chuck_hagel.htm )

  • Skeptical Cicada

    LOL! Yes. I don’t recall Hagel conducting a homophobic media tour of a submarine to show how supposedly disruptive “homosexual” sailors would be.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    One click on your name reveals your sordid comment history as a rabid propagandist for Likudism.

  • dcinsider

    Sam Nunn? Make’s Hagel look like Melissa Ethridge.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Too damned conservative on what? On use of force, he’s not conservative at all.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    The Likud lobby is the collection of anti-gay evangelical Christians, right-wing neocons, and Netanyahu-rubbberstamping Jews of both parties.

    By the way, your use of a slur against people with mental retardation is disgusting. What are you, a 12-year-old child?

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Sorry, but I’m not rewarding AIPAC’s disgusting effort to exploit my sexual orientation for its warmongering ends.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I’m getting tired of AIPAC exploiting my sexual orientation in its bigoted crusade against Muslims. I support Hagel.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Actually, if you want to sail through the confirmation process, what you should do is declare your undying loyalty to Benjamin Netanyahu.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I support Chuck Hagel because I refuse to allow AIPAC to exploit gay rights for its warmongering ends.

    It was not our groups that first raised the Hormel issue. John glosses over that fact. The Hormel quote first appeared as just one item on a diverse hit list of talking points that was obviously circulated by neocon Netanyahu-worshipers. This would not be the first time they have presumed to exploit gay rights for their own warmongering ends. They have recently developed a strategy of trying to use gay rights to undercut progressive support for Palestinian self-determination. Yet these would be the very same neocon Netanyahu-worshipers who cared oh-so-much about gay rights that aggressively pushed to stick Mitt Romney in the White House. These people don’t give a DAMN about gay rights. Dredging up the Hormel comment was nothing but a tool in their never-ending crusade for Netanyahu and war. I powerfully resent that exploitation of gay rights.

    There is zero chance of Hagel restoring “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” And while much remains to be done on benefits for military spouses, I don’t see Leon Panetta rushing to address that either. Those things are obviously being controlled from the White House, and they are doubtless on hold pending the Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of DOMA.

    What Hagel will do, however, is look very critically at the Netanyahu stampede to war with Iran. And he strikes me as somebody with the guts to stand up to warmongering bullies. That is exactly what we need in the position of Defense Secretary, and I don’t feel John’s need to placate rabid AIPAC warmongers on that point.

    Given the context–the profoundly offensive effort by Romney-supporting neocon warmongers to exploit gay rights–I stand in support Hagel for Defense Secretary. This is, first and foremost, a question of war and peace; not one of gay rights.

  • MyrddinWilt

    If you support Netanyahu you are not a liberal.

    AIPAC used to be run by democrats. But they are only in it for their own status. Its not about Israel its about showing how much power they have.

    They prefer Republicans because they are 100% about pandering.

  • Don Chandler

    I don’t want to go there either.

  • B00Z

    Lobbying is certainly critical when done in a manner that does not involve bribes, blackmail, and donations to representative’s campaign funds. AIPAC has certainly been accused of all of the above and also, by extension represents the interest of the Zionist government of Israel.

  • patty

    maybe its time for a military spouse to contribute to the conversation. as the wife of a career air force member, my husband and i are both thrilled with his nomination. back when the military was asked to “surge” into iraq, hagel was loudly and vehemently against it. he looked at what was happening over there and turned against the iraq war early. while we were asked time after time to deploy for a conflict we should never have entered it meant more than you will ever know to realize that someone in congress was speaking out for us. the first time i heard him speak in opposition to the war on the floor of the senate, i cried. the most important responsibility of the SecDef is to represent the military members that the country decides to send into harm’s way. he was one of us and shed blood for this country in another insane war. my husband and i are both democrats but we have admired hagel for many years and it is beyond my wildest dreams that he is the president’s choice.

    i trust he will bring a needed dose of reality into our blind support for israel which is way overdue. afa the gay issue, i’m happy, but not really surprised, that repealing dadt has transitioned so smoothly in the military community. public opinion on the issue has changed remarkably in a short amount of time and i am positive that sen hagel will continue the transition and be strongly supportive of it.

  • Jim Olson

    He’s going to get nothing done anyway. The Republicans have decided to embrace their identity as the Party of No.

  • Jim Olson

    Aren’t all politicians that at their core?

  • Jim Olson

    We have long since lost the ability to have a sane discussion about any nominee, any issue, or any political matter in this country. We are run by special interests, corporate interests, political interests and by the idea of “screw you, I’ve got mine”. The sooner this country realises that it is dead, and rotting from the head down, the better it will be for all of us; the last vestiges of sanity can regroup into smaller, more manageable political units, and the rest of the former United States can become the third-world banana theocracies or corporate oligarchies that they want. I say the sooner the better.

  • http://twitter.com/sipples Timothy Sipples

    If the Hagel reports are true, it’s now the second time President Obama couldn’t find a Democrat to nominate for Secretary of Defense. (The first time was when he kept Robert Gates.) He didn’t look very hard. Michele Flournoy would be a superb Secretary of Defense, and she’d likely sail right through her nomination. Apparently if you have aspirations for senior military leadership President Obama would advise you to become a member of the Republican Party.

  • Naja pallida

    If it were my choice (Dog forbid), I would have gone with Ashton Carter, the current Deputy Secretary of Defense. He’s not well known, he’s one of those people who just goes about doing his job without a lot of fanfare. But he was nominated by Obama and was confirmed by unanimous consent. He’s qualified, knows the job, and best of all – doesn’t carry a political albatross. I think the main problem is that people expect high profile nominations, and lots of drama, and Obama is happy to play right into that. I don’t believe for a single second that he thinks that Hagel is the best man for the job. He just sees is as something politically expedient. He can drum up some drama, and make Republicans seem like a bunch of squabbling wolverines, willing to even eat one of their own just to try and take something relatively meaningless away from Obama.

  • JD234

    After just reading Glenn Greenwald’s essay on Hagel, the ambivalence of this one is wonderfully refreshing. Yes, it really is a hard call, pragmatically. Personally, I don’t forgive people I know for being bigots in 1998 (unless they’ve apologized not just in words but in actions). So Hagel, personally, I still think is a shtunk . But hey, life today seems to be about voting between center-right and far-right. Is Hagel less far to the right than who might replace him? I don’t know, not being an expert on this. But that’s really all that matters. At least, for who we vote for / support for office. But as writers and commenters, it’s also worth keeping the human judgment in the mix, even if it makes no pragmatic difference. And by that logic, he was a long-term bigot and deserves nothing. If only desert were what determined success, alas…

  • ezpz

    Sorry, I didn’t see your comment when I posted a similar one, albeit not as ‘brief’ as yours, lol.

  • Superdust

    what is the likud lobby? AIPAC is run by democrats and liberals, not conservatives. pretty sad if people are supporting hagel because of his retarded views on israel.

  • Superdust

    AIPAC is not representing a “foreign country.” aipac doesnt have financial or political relations with a foreign government. lobbying in congress is one of the most scrutinized and watched over elements in the entire government. allowing any individuals access to representatives is taken very seriously.

    lobbying is critical, how else are americans supposed to get their voices heard? AIPAC is run by and made up of US citizens. if US citizens loved the palestinians and muslims so much there would be muslim lobbying groups with milions of american supporters, no?

    btw, there is virtually no watch dog on what politicians do in their off-time. hagel sits on chevron, an international oil company im sure he has many buds in muslim oil nations. is that not a risk to our security?

  • ezpz

    Forget Israel. Forget his homophobia or whatever you want to call it. He should not be considered; his name should NEVER have even been floated as a trial balloon for this reason alone:

    “…The Hill (www.thehill.com/news/012903/hagel.aspx) has confirmed that former conservative radio talk-show host and now Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel was the head of, and continues to own part interest in, the company that owns the company that installed, programmed, and largely ran the voting machines that were used by most of the citizens of Nebraska.

    Back when Hagel first ran there for the U.S. Senate in 1996, his company’s computer-controlled voting machines showed he’d won stunning upsets in both the primaries and the general election. The Washington Post (1/13/1997) said Hagel’s “Senate victory against an incumbent Democratic governor was the major Republican upset in the November election.” According to Bev Harris of http://www.blackboxvoting.org, Hagel won virtually every demographic group, including many largely Black communities that had never before voted Republican. Hagel was the first Republican in 24 years to win a Senate seat in Nebraska.…”

    I know the term honest politician is an oxymoron, but this kind of conniving dishonesty is simply staggering. That 0bama would even consider him is beyond reprehensible.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0131-01.htm

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2004/03/diebolds-political-machine

    http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Articles/Landes_Ambush.htm

  • Superdust

    this is a pretty lame evaluation of hagel, and im getting tired of this AIPAC IS EVERYWHEREW111!! nonsense. the presence of this elusive israel lobby that runs our government is becoming a very tired trope. polls consistently show support for israel is overwhelming among the electorate. no amount of lobbying can drive so much support, AIPAC budget is a few million annually and has 35 employees. oh man, scary.

    yet it is made up of 150,000 american citizens. btw, AIPAC is largely a democratic outfit, not republican.

    hagel’s experience is weak. yes, he is a military veteran. that is not enough to justify an appointment to the top spot in the DOD. he has shown absolutely no class in regards to foreign policy, and for the most part seems to be following the footsteps of the carter agenda.

    oh yeah, and he sits on the boards of chevron and other oil companies that are in bed with the muslim states. well that certainly explains his dubious views on israel and bigoted thoughts on gays.

  • Guest

    All of this is valid. And the guy’s an opportunist. On the other hand, he’s an opportunist who’s shown some inclination not to stand always in line to drink the right-wing kool-aid. Question is, is there anyone else who has some knowledge of the ins and outs of the defense budget who has any chance of being confirmed by the Senate — and who wants the job in the present climate? I don’t know. The guy who’s appointed is ultimately answerable to his boss, who’s riding pretty high in the eyes of the public right now. Don’t know what to think. And, in the absence of a real alternative * * *

  • nicho

    There’s not one Democrat qualified to be Defense Secretary? Not one? Why are we rewarding the traitors in The Party of No?

  • Naja pallida

    Seems to me that as long as we’re talking about Israel, and his cowardice on gay rights in the military, we can’t even have a serious discussion about Hagel within our own little bubble. We should be talking about what he has done that actually qualifies him for the top job at the Pentagon. I, personally, just don’t see it. What I do see are plenty of reasons why he shouldn’t have the job:

    He voted for both Bush tax cuts that he knew we couldn’t afford, one an unprecedented move during active wars, which shows a complete lack of understanding of how wars are funded. Then, despite his later opposition, he voted for the Iraq war. On that same note, he went along with budgets that hid the actual cost of the wars from the tax payers. He voted for the Patriot Act, as well as expanded warrantless wiretapping. He voted for Bush’s missile defense pipe-dream. He voted to create the giant red-tape bureaucratic boondoggle and taxpayer money black hole that is the Department of Homeland “Security”. He has also consistently been in favor of steadily increasing the defense budget every year. And while disparaging Guantanamo in general, he was voting against giving the prisoners held there the right to a fair hearing, thus essentially codifying indefinite detention without charge. Oh, and he also voted for the all but useless Mexico border fence. You can even go back as far as the Reagan administration, when he was deputy administrator of the VA, and chose to resign instead of standing up for veterans to the director who wanted to make cuts to veterans benefits.

    Maybe it’s just me, but to me his career bespeaks of profound level political cowardice. Yeah, he’s been involved in a lot of things, many of them foreign relations and Pentagon-related, but what mark has he really made? The most he’s done on behalf of the military is stand up to the Bush administration in a few op-eds and whenever the cameras were interested, and then resign from Congress without actually seriously attempting to do anything about it. Most likely because he was afraid of being primaried from the right and/or otherwise drummed out with the purging of the moderates.

    Surely there was a better choice out there.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL uh, ok.

  • DonS

    You expected maybe a pacifist. Get real. You get nominees from the president you have, not the president you want.

  • DonS

    I’m not so sure it’s unfortunate. I’m no big fan of Hagel, but he does not seem to be interested in extending Pax Americana all over the globe and that’s a huge plus.

  • DonS

    I’ll limit my comment to quoting John “So I’m sorry, but can we please stop playing this little game where it’s
    okay to acknowledge that the NRA intimidates “a lot of people here,”
    that Big Pharma and Wall Street and the insurance lobby do the same (as
    do gay rights supporters – we intimidate a lot of Democrats, and a
    growing number of Republicans, and I’m all for it), but when we
    acknowledge the obvious success of the pro-Israel lobby, suddenly you’re
    an anti-Semite and an un-friend of Israel.” j

    and commenting that that is a prescient observation, and good to hear. I’ll extend to note that the “Israel Lobby” and it’s subsets, are representing a foreign government and should have been made to register as agents of foreign governments a long time ago.

    I’ll risk to comment further that with the rapid slide to the extreme right wing in Israel these days, being anti” that is only sensible. The reasonable and moderate Jews (there I said the word) have been intimidated into silence along with our Goyim brethren.

  • MyrddinWilt

    I think the answer is no and that the GOP and AIPAC left Obama absolutely no choice. They decided to make the nomination of Hagel a test of the power of the Israel lobby or more precisely the Likud lobby. The point was to show how powerful they are. Once they did that, Obama had to nominate Hagel or look weak.

    As with the Rice nomination, the smear campaign began before a decision was made. We really don’t know whether Obama wanted Kerry or Rice, but having been bounced out of a choice on one nomination, the President had to draw the line at a second defeat.

    Israel has changed since Rabin was murdered by a settler trying to prevent a two state deal. The assassin succeeded. Right now there is absolutely no prospect of a two state solution. Likud has no interest in one and neither does Hamas.The only reason people keep talking about it is that pretending that a two state solution will happen in the future allows US supporters of Israel to not feel bad about the fact that non Jews are at best second class citizens, most are not citizens at all despite having actually been born there.

    The whole idea of Zionism required double think from the start. Adherents had to convince themselves of an obvious nonsense, that taking land from the Palestinians and establishing a ‘Jewish state’ there was possible without resort to what we now call ethnic cleansing and without making non-Jews second class citizens.

    Netanyahu’s coalition allies are outright racists. They talk about ‘transfer’ in public and genocide in private.

    Why should the US give such a country a single dollar in aid, let alone the lions share of the aid budget? One thing is clear: Israel should not be choosing members of the US cabinet.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    When anything less than putting Israel’s foreign policy interests ahead of America’s is equated with rabid anti-Semitism? Likewise simply pointing out that the pro-Israel lobby is very powerful in U.S. politics? And criticism of Hagel’s anti-gay positions is misconstrued with supporting him and being an anti-Semite? No, it’s not possible to have a sane debate with such people, because it’s already devolved into ridiculous accusations of Jew-hating for anyone whose opposition to Hagel isn’t driven 100% by his mild criticisms of Israel.

    Funny thing though? Obama and the Dems don’t fear us LGBTs. Yet our entire elected government quakes in fear of the pro-Israel lobby. For that reason alone, I personally put Hagel’s chances of being nominated and confirmed at less than 50%. It all depends on how revved up they get.

  • Don Chandler

    There are a lot of American Jews that don’t support Netanyahu or war in Iran. Do they “hate Jews”? No. They might believe that Netanyahu is pursuing a bad strategy for Israel. Jimmy Carter got a lot of flak recently for comments in a recent book. Yeah, it’s lobbyists. I like honest rhetoric. Fox News is not honest rhetoric and they lost bigtime. Gays have been winning with rational arguments in courts. No need to lie. Who will ask question on behalf of gay interests in the upcoming Hagel confirmation?

  • http://www.facebook.com/zachary.smith.3914207 Zachary Smith

    My brief opinion: Hagel is a dishonest right-wing jerk who is about the best we can hope for from the likes of BHO. I’ve a gut feeling his nomination will be a deliberate stick-in-the-eye of a certain “****** little nation” in the middle east, and one which is long overdue. I’m sick and tired of the ‘wag the dog’ crap which has been going on since the time of the Texas Torturer.

    Finally, here is why I used the term ‘dishonest’ to describe Hagel.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0131-01.htm

    His election to the US Senate was nothing but ‘dishonest’.

    But again, we won’t get a better candidate from BHO.

  • Fireblazes

    Nelson Mandela is by far the better choice.

  • http://twitter.com/Scytherius Jonas Grumby

    No.

  • RepubAnon

    You took the words right out of my mouth. These are the elected representatives of people that seriously think President Obama is a Muslim socialist from Kenya – and think that living a delusion changes reality.

  • Ninong

    I don’t have a strong position on Chuck Hagel one way or the other but I do have a strong position on President Obama not letting the GOP push him around anymore! If Obama wants Hagel, then he should nominate him and the Senate will confirm him.

    As far as Hagel’s HRC rating is concerned, he was the senator from Nebraska!!! What did you expect? He would never have been elected to the Senate in the first place if he was pro-gay rights in Nebraska! I don’t like my Democratic senator’s positions in support of Big Oil but she represents an oil state. At least her positions on gay rights are okay.

  • nicho

    Sam Nunn? That corporatist homophobic pig? Yikes!

  • nicho

    Exactly. When was the last time we had a “sane debate” in Washington about anything? The GOP drifted into CrazyLand decades ago — and it’s been downhill ever since. Once the Teahadists showed up, there was no chance of sanity at all.

  • Indigo

    He’s a suitable choice to please the Blue Dogs and Obama’s a Blue Dog. Can you stop that? No. Should he be nominated? No, but that’s the Dogs for you. He’ll be strong on defense and even stronger on offense, rattling drone bombs and ferreting out Middle Easterners who are obviously implicated in nefarious doings just like the military has done for the past ten years. We can’t have Eternal War without Eternal War-mongers. That’s the only thing the White House is looking at.

    Prove me wrong, Barry. Withdraw his name and put somebody sensible in charge. Somebody we don’t know about who warned you about Petareus would be a good choice. You know who that is.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    A skunk is not a zebra.

  • Guest

    We can have a sane debate over this nomination, in which all of the legitimate concerns are ventilated and addressed, including his record on gay rights and his refusal to be intimidated by the Adelson lunatic fringe that wants to oursource our foreign policy to the Likud, but only on one condition: Harry Reid and the Democrats have to stop pussyfooting around and ram filibuster reform through the Senate — now. There is simply no point in pretending that any agreement with the Republicans is possible on this, and, if it’s not done now, the issue is lost for another two years — promising one debacle after another in Congress for the next two years. And, it should go without saying, filibuster reform doesn’t mean filibuster elimination. It means chopping the device down to size to that it can only be used in extremis as intended, and not as a routine veto by a disgruntled minority that doesn’t represent the will of the American people. Yes, I know, supposedly “negotiations” are continuing on reform measures. Anyone who believes negotiation with the kinds of hostage-takers who populate the Republican ranks in Congress is possible can buy a bridge from me. Enough already. It’s time for the Democrats to take a stand. They’ll have most of the people behind them.

  • http://twitter.com/PhoenixWomanMN Phoenix Woman

    If I were Obama, I’d tell the Republicans “Your choices are Hagel, Sam Nunn, Max Cleland, or James Abourezk. They are all former soldiers and most are combat veterans.” But that’s just me. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/PhoenixWomanMN Phoenix Woman

    Unfortunately, he has no choice but to dig in his heels for Hagel, and it’s precisely because he was rolled by the Republicans on both Rice and allowing the debt limit to hold him hostage in another two months. If he doesn’t draw a line in the sand somewhere and hold to it, he will never get anything constructive done in his last term.

  • http://twitter.com/PhoenixWomanMN Phoenix Woman

    A few thoughts:

    – I just love the Log Cabin Republicans flipping out about things Hagel said in 1998 even as they plumped down hard for Mitt Romney in 2012 and embrace Michele Bachmann to this day.

    – Another powerful constituency against Hagel: The war profiteers (er, I mean “defense contractors”). Hagel was the one senator of either party in the past twenty years (besides perhaps Wellstone) who a) wanted to seriously cut back on Pentagon pork and b) had a clue as to how to best do it. They are probably the most powerful opposition to him, and they are the ones chuckling quietly in the background while the LCR and AIPAC fight (albeit probably unwittingly) on their behalf.

    – Hagel is a very conservative man in the mold of most Nebraskan Republicans, but is also one who unlike other conservatives would have been quite capable of winning presidential elections, were he not too honest to win Republican primaries.

  • B00Z

    I don’t agree that a lobby such as AIPAC representing a foreign country should be able to wield such power over our elected representatives by means of flashing enormous sums of money in their faces along with blackmail and bribery. There are normal diplomatic channels for foreign governments that should be adhered to.

    For the record, I don’t agree that lobbyists in general should be allowed such access to our representatives.

  • Stev84

    Christopher Hitchens explains what the pro-Israel stance of fundamentalist Christians is really about:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=JRZMIQaOCtI#t=224s

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL yeah I got that response on twitter too :)

  • S1AMER

    On the plus side: The man’s a Vietnam vet, and knows about all the horrors of war from that experience. When’s the last time we had the advantages of someone with genuine combat experience of mud and blood running the Pentagon? And I like the possible symmetry of thoughtful Vietnam vets at Pentagon and at State.

    One other thing on the plus side: The neocons hate him. To me, that’s a sterling character reference!

    And one last thing on the plus side: Obama’s willing to take on the Senate GOP and the right-wing noise machine by selecting him. Hagel’s possible pluses and minuses aside, that’s damned good news.

    Look, I hate and despise what Hagel said in 1998. But, frankly, we had very, very few allies back then because most politicians regarded it as political suicide to be seen within fifty feet of a gay person. (Hell, out current VP, a definite and vocal ally nowadays, was among the chickenshit senators who voted for DOMA just two years before.) Yes, I’d like to see much more contrition from Hagel, and I’d like to see a very definitive statement about how he’d continuing undoing the vestiges of DADT, and would do the most he can with DOMA still in place to equalize treatment of gay and lesbian servicemembers. But, absent any conclusive proof that Hagel still holds the terrible views he voiced 15 years ago, I’m not inclined to say that what he said back them should torpedo his selection now.

  • Jay

    What disturbs me most about Hagel is that he said nothing about DADT repeal in the years right before it was accomplished. He had lots of opportunity to indicate that he had “evolved” on the issue, as Colin Powell and even the egregious Sam Nunn did. But he was silent until his name was floated as a possible nominee for Secretary of Defense. I think he should be vigorously opposed. I hope that Obama does not dig his heels in for this doofus after being rolled by McCain et al. on Susan Rice.

  • buster

    Short answer to your title question: no.

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