Michael Maiello's picture

    Chuck Hagel's A Fine Guy -- But Sign This Petition, Please

    Friends, please consider signing this petition urging President Obama to think harder and to come up with a qualified Democrat, rather than former Senator Chuck Hagel, as the next Secretary of Defense.

    From what I've been reading today (and fighting about on Twitter) some on the left and the libertarian right are supporting Hagel because of his neocon opponents.  The good thing about Hagel is that he won't push Obama into a war with Iran.  Neocons hate that.  But, who cares?  Neocons have no influence.

    I find it hard to believe that Obama would be unable to find a qualified, anti war Democrat to run the Pentagon.  Hagel is not all that stands between the U.S. and an invasion of Tehran, no matter what anyone tells you.

    Meanwhile, for those of us who care about the Democratic party, I think we should discourage Obama from going down the path of turning to moderate Republicans for leadership on defense and security issues.  Democrats are perfectly well qualified to handle this and they have the virtue of being members of the party elected to handle such issues.

    Putting Democrats in these posts puts to rest the notion that Democrats are weak on such issues.  It also builds out the bullpen of choices for future Democratic presidents.  That's something that Democrats should care about.

    Hagel's not a terrible choice.  He'd probably do a fine job.  But Obama can do better.  Please help me try to let him know that.



    That's all you got, Mike? Join the neocons' battle to block Hagel on the premise that some as-yet-unspecified Democrat might do as good a job? There are plenty of neocon-lite Democrats; I'm sure Congress would approve one of them. And we'd have another senseless war. At least Hagel has staked out his antiwar and lower-the-military-budget credentials. Your petition is a bad, bad idea.

    Obama can easily find an antiwar Democrat for the post.  They do, in fact, exist.

    You're letting the Neocons define the debate.  Why?  They haven't won an election recently.

    Michael,  I see your point, but this petition implies that the President didn't do his research. I don't think the petitioners should try to make that case unless they can provide names of Democrats who are well-qualified to do the job. Who would you suggest?

    If what he came up with was a somewhat moderate Republican... He needs to do more research.

    I think Erica and Acanuck make some good points here.

    Has Obama done his homework (Obama in the sense of a hundred members of his Administration of course)?

    I just fell for Hagel in 2005?

    The repubs just shunned the guy.

    And the neocons are alive and kicking.

    Nader is never going to run the DOD.

    I certainly would not veto (had I the power) the nomination of Chuck.

    First we must understand that the nominee is capable. And I think Senator Hagel is more than capable.

    We do control the Senate and may even control it more depending upon filibuster reform or the threat of filibuster reform.

    But that does not mean that any 'leftie' is going to be affirmed as Secretary.

    Now I believe that we should not be at war; I believe that there should be no foreign corporations (or domestic corporations taking advantage of outsourcing and escaping proper taxation) receiving monies from the DOD.

    Our massive Defense Budget is a stimulus package of course.

    As an aside, it will be entertaining as far as Senate hearings on this subject.

    By the way, everyone: while I feel kind of strongly about this, I very much respect the well reasoned counter-arguments you've all put forward.  I'm very impressed at how this community, went through its natural, post-election lull and then responded to Sandy Hook, and all events since, with renewed velocity, rigor and clarity of thought.  The quality of debate here as definitely gone up a notch or two.  Great stuff, everybody.  Even when you disagree with me (and are, by definition, wrong).


    Please re-consider your petition; not sure if it's great idea to second guess Pres.Obama on this one.

    For the future's sake, our country needs to put aside partisanship, and Obama picking Hagel is a very small step in that direction. Symbolic as it maybe, it shows that politicians can still have a future even when they go against their party and standing up for what they believe is the right thing for the country.

    Why should we not second guess Obama on this, of all things?  SecDef is not a minor office.  Obama's base deserves a reliably Democratic thinker in that post.  I'm not anti-Hagel so much as I am for finding the best person for the office, who is likely a reliable Democrat.

    If you can name a Democrat who's had the guts Hagel has had, it would be surprising, and the fact that you name no one is deep. 

    It's not my point to advocate for any specific Democrat, just to encourage the president to choose somebody from the party elected to run the executive branch.  Hagel isn't that guy.  As for "the guts" Hagel has (you use the past tense, I'm more forgiving)... I don't think they trump an election.

    I agree with your reasons and reasoning. I just don't think it is a big deal in this particular case. Much more significant is giving the Republicans another Senate seat by appointing Kerry to Secretary of State, just like the R's wanted.  The numbers game is important. Put Hagel there and put me in charge of Defense.  

    Looks like your petition isn't doing so well -- only six signatures! -- and the commenters here don't like it much, either.

    Perhaps you are unaware that Hagel endorsed Obama during the recent election campaign: not only that, he endorsed the Democrat in the Nebraska Senate race. You are taking the same line as Dan Senor, Romney's campaign manager, who has also urged (along with yourself) the President to appoint a Democrat.

    Go figure.

    However, if you want to support the President, you might want to sign the petition in support of Cbuck Hagel: http://wh.gov/nW2c



    Hiya, Justin!  Welcome to Dag!  You might find some fun here.

    My petition isn't supported by any sort of mainstream news outlet (unlike the pro Hagel petition which is seemingly back by the Atlantic, TNR and the rest of the "reasonable" people on Earth), so we're off to a slow start.  There's a month to go -- we'll see.

    As for my fellow readers and bloggers here at Dag -- we're not a "follow the crowd" bunch of people.  They'll think this through and we'll see what happens.  I'll love them all the same.

    As for Chuck Hagel... I have no problems with the man, aside from run of the mill political disagreements.  He is not the point.  You have yet to convince me that Obama cannot find and nominate a qualified, anti-war Democrat to fill the position.  Further, you haven't told me why you wouldn't welcome him doing so.

    You keep throwing the neocons around and, yes, they exist.  But you've never explained to me why this is their debate and no one else's.  Why do they get to define the terms?  Why is, of all people, Chuck Hagel our bulwark against the Neocon foreign policy tide?  What makes Chuck Hagel, as okay as he may be, somehow essential?

    Sorry, but I think that a bunch of people have been suckered into a "Hagel (of all people) at all costs" stance.

    We shall see.  He'll likely be nominated and will do a fine job, while Obama will have missed an opportunity to have made a better choice.  Welcome to Dag!  You have followed me to an interesting corner of the... what do we call it now?  Blogosphere is so 1956...



    Why would a pro-war Democratic president nominate an anti-war Democrat for SoS?

    Anyone who has the guts to stand up to the super-strong Israeli lobby, and instead promote US interests in US foreign policy has my support.

    (and I have no idea whose interests the neo-cons think they're supporting, but obviously it hasn't worked)

    Thanks for the link, Justin. I checked the Terms of Participation and you don't have to be a U.S. citizen to sign, so I did. But Michael deserves thanks for calling the petition process to all of our attentions.

    Hagel will make an excellent SecDef. It's not like he's even a Republican in the modern sense of the word. He's an old-style principled conservative. They are all jobless now, so the least Democrats can do is offer them meaningful, productive employment.

    Well, there's some symmetry then.  Obama is only a Democrat in the modern sense of the word.  He and Hagel intersect somewhere around Gerald Ford...


    I'm not sure if I understand why Chuck Hagel fits Obama's stated positions on matters foreign, but hey if the president wants to appoint him, unlike the Justin Raimondos of the world, I would assume that Senator Hagel would respect and conform to the foreign policy of our elected leadership.

    But here's the funny thing, or not, about this one Michael.  Why is a Justin Raimondo coming to blog on this issue, when he could be blogging about his opposition to gay marriage or something?  Because it's part of the parlour game again, and in the parlour game the most favorite part of the contest is when Jooz/neocons/Israel-firsters are allegedly torpedoing a man who would otherwise bring truth and justice to the world, including for the Palestinians.

    In fact, as per usual, there's more chatter about the Jooz making noises about Hagel than there are Jooz making chatter about Hagel.  Truth is, it's kind of an inside-the-beltway thing with few real people paying attention.  But then for some, like a Justin Raimondo or the folks over at Mondoweiss, who live for alleged examples of the Jooz controlling American foreign policy, this brouhaha is manna from heaven.

    Let me be clear.  So far as I'm concerned, if it's Hagel so be it.  But anyone who thinks that Jooz are unreasonable if they object to a man who uses the racist and antisemitc tropes about Jews being loyal to Israel and not the United States--and Hagel has used those tropes--is someone who I have no cause to communicate with.  Fuck 'em all, really, even if they're groovy leftists or libertarians or whatever other genre seems to be so unnaturally intrigued by this centuries-old notion that Jooz are disloyal.  Kind of icky in a deja vu all over again kind of way.

    Any finally, the notion that there are no Democrats who can lead DOD is absurd--absolutely absurd--and almost as absurd as the notion that the president would abandon his own foreign policy if Hagel were his DOD chief.  On the other hand, what is not absurd is the tradition of getting a member of the opposition party in the cabinet--it doesn't have to be DOD, and you're spot-on with that point.





    It is interesting, Bruce, that secessionists, Ron Paul style libertarians and isolationists with, um, interesting thoughts about Israel and Jewish people have emerged as our bulwark line of defense against the neocons.

    Quite seriously, who called these people for help?

    And why is this issue so important to Raimondo that'd he'd follow me all the way here? What could it be that has so aroused passions?

    This isn't going to help your cause at all, but since you've gotten on this topic, it's interesting that Jeff Goldberg isn't falling for the whole "he is my enemy because "they" are thinking tthe enemy of my enemy is my friend thingie.

    In the end, as I said here, leftie support of Hagel because of his view on a single situation reminds me  very much of fervent leftie support of Senator Barack Obama for president in 2008. For example, you could point out to an Israel basher Obama quotes on support of Israel ad nauseum and they would say that he's just saying that to get support of "the lobby." Likewise, you could point out to a vehement isolationist all of Senator Obama's quotes on being for smart wars, and they could only see his being against the Iraq war. And you could point out to socialists on economic matters all of Senator Obama's pro-capitalism statements and they still couldn't see through the hope that he was gonna be more socialist than the Clintons.

    Which brings me to....where did you get the idea that Obama didn't mean what he said in all of his speeches and writing on post partisanship? Where did you get the idea that he felt his cabinet if he won would be partisan? From what I read and heard from him, I got the idea that it was his deeply held belief that post-partisanship is the future, no matter what anyone else thinks. I, for one, fully expected him to have more than a token number of Republicans in his cabinet.

    "Which brings me to....where did you get the idea that Obama didn't mean what he said in all of his speeches and writing on post partisanship? Where did you get the idea that he felt his cabinet if he won would be partisan? From what I read and heard from him, I got the idea that it was his deeply held belief that post-partisanship is the future, no matter what anyone else thinks. I, for one, fully expected him to have more than a token number of Republicans in his cabinet."

    Excellent point, AA.  I just wonder if it's a wise move for Obama.  Should the Republicans take the White House back, I wouldn't expect to see conservative Democrats appointed to such important roles.

    Well, some of the "Jooz" seemed to put on a leather hood, teddy and get down on all fours for Bibi's particular fetish load, but does that mean all Jooz are into self-abasement? Actually, quite a lot of goys got into the act - Romney kowtowing to Bibi was certainly more disgusting than the supposed Saudi kowtowing Obama was accused of. And while Adelson is probably a nutcake on Israel, after a recent interview where he supported social positions anathema to the candidates & party he funds, it's obvious he's just a nutcake. Joe Lieberman seems to be an Israeli do-or-die type, whereas Al Franken seems much more thoughtful on the issues (but then again, managed to make a trip to Israel accepting the status quo of no peace talks or progress, and managed to . But it's pretty obvious the Lieberman side of things has much more power, no? 

    Listen to Nancy Pelosi in 2010

    "We in Congress stand by Israel," the leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., assured Netanyahu at an all-smiles appearance before the cameras. "In Congress we speak with one voice on the subject of Israel."

    And that one voice says, "keep building those illegal settlements". Unless Italy's the lost tribe, I'd guess it's a larger problem. Congressional toadies-for-Bibi love them some right-wing talking points, even if "on the left". But you only have to go as far as J Street to recognize that there's significant disagreement among Jews as to Israel's actions, and more Jews disagree on Israeli support than blacks support Obama. But AIPAC cares mostly about Congress, not the guy in the street, and they've got Congress lined up like ducks at feeding time. 

    So did Hagel actually equate all Jews with having allegiance to Israel? Or you were just fine-tuned for a dog whistle?

    My take is that this shouldn't be an argument about Israel at all. 

    Well it shouldn't, but it's become something of a political litmus test to see which candidate will jump higher to support Israel. Funny how the British never seem to demand our love, but they're with us every time we get into trouble.

    The only thing the Hagel nom signifies is moving forward with a cohesive foreign policy.  No doubt there are Democrats who also fit this bill. However, to the rest of the country who doesn't participate in blog arguments Mike, they see something else, they see the President mixing up his cabinet with Democrats and Republicans.  They will then continue to see him as someone who looks out for the country.

    For me I really don't give a rip. Hagel would be fine, so would some others but the Hagel so far non-nom has lead McCain to another epic meltdown, making the claim that Hagel isn't a Republican.  And anything that exposes the bitterness of John McCain is OK in my book. What a bitter, hateful, little man who deserves to lose his seat in Congress.  He is carrying the neo-con slander against Hagel and trying to paint him as anti-Semitic, I question that tactic. I abhor it actually, who knew McCain would go all in on attacking his former friend in such a personal way.

    Now let's get to Raimondo stirring the pot, OMG, he is basically clueless.  He supports Hagel because he believes Hagel is anti-Semitic. And that is because Neo-cons have been out in force describing him that way, they've been slandering Hagel because he doesn't tow their line and Raimondo believes them. He is as much the problem as neo-cons but his justifications are because he thinks Jewish people run everything. Jeebus... he is just the flip side of neo-connery. But the joke is on him and on the neo-cons, neither side is accurately describing Sen. Hagel. These are two sides of the same offensive coin, and guess what, they are always wrong, always. Both sides are tainting a man who doesn't deserve to be tainted.

    They've all drawn the world in lines of black and white, where we are all at war with each other. Raimondo nor the neo-cons come to this argument as honest brokers, and because of this both groups should be ignored outright. Since when have neo-cons or Raimondo been correct about anything? When? Name a time.  You can't, I can't, no one can.

    PS: Please take care of IBB's latest blog, where he has published the name and address of someone he disagrees, I mean come on, doesn't this finally mean he has to go as a blogger here?

    It's really not about Hagel for me, TmMac.  It's about the long game for the Democratic party.  I think that when Raimonda showed up here, laughing that other Daggers were, gasp, arguing with me, that it told me everything I need to know.  I would never blog at a place where people did what I said without question.

    Thank you for flagging IBB.  I removed his comment (but not his post) and left a warning.  I'll consult with the other mods about potential further action, if necessary.  It should go without saying that "Doxing" is not acceptable at Dag.

    I know you wouldn't blog at a place where people do what you say without question, which is great preparation for having a teenager!

    The long game for the party however, it attracting more people like Chuck Hagel, more people who maybe don't self identify as Democrats but who would no longer identify or even vote for Republicans because their ideas are repulsive, they way they talk about the country is repulsive and the way they treat each other and everyone else is repulsive. Hagel is one of those people. We have to broaden our base, and the President has done an incredible job of doing this.

    That is just coming from someone who has been involved in Democratic politics for what seems like eons, but only since 1984.  Okay that is eons.

    PS: Thanks for taking care  the IBB situation.

    "PS: Thanks for taking care  the IBB situation."

    Always here to gently mod.

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