You Can Call Me Mr. (Barely) Secretary.
In the last 35 years all but one nominee for Defense Secretary has been easily confirmed. The exception, John Tower, US Senator from Texas, was rejected in 1989 by a vote of 47 to 53 because of his drinking and carrying on. The other ten were confirmed with unanimous or nearly unanimous votes.
As an example, in 1997, Bill Clinton nominated another Republican Senator, William Cohen of Maine to be Defense Secretary. Cohen, a Republican working for a Democrat was confirmed 99 to 0.
A swing of nine votes would have spelled defeat for Chuck Hagel as he faced a withering barrage of opposition to his nomination, including a filibuster. In fact, he received the smallest margin of any secretary since the position was created in 1947, according to the NYT.
Those Democrats must have been REALLY pissed off to go after Republican and Vietnam Veteran Chuck Hagel.
It was Senate Republicans who used all in their power to discredit and defeat their former colleague.
Hagel’s in the conservative dog house for taking an independent position on the war in Iraq and for having the temerity to suggest that the US can have a foreign policy independent of Israel’s. (By the way, this just in: the war in Iraq is not over, we just left. The country is still racked by sectarian murder and non-stop bombings where hundreds are killed.)
Senate Republicans and conservatives should have welcomed Hagel at Defense. He has the experience and he is his own man. He was a Deputy Administrator at the VA in 1982 when he resigned because he felt that Vets were being dis-respected. He isn’t afraid to walk away which gives him freedom and power. Likely as not, and if history is a guide, he will wind up giving Obama a fit, to boot.
Got a question for you: Would that same crowd have vetoed Hagel joining the US Army Infantry to serve in Vietnam? (“Lindsay Graham, R-SC, was describing himself on his website as an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran. In reality, he never left South Carolina.”)
If Hagel’s defense agenda isn’t the Republican’s, just what is their agenda? If Hagel isn’t their guy, who is?
By the way, isn’t Chuck Hagel just the kind of politician that all Washington politicians say they are (or want to be): independent-minded, tough, willing to take a stand? And yet, when confronted with the opportunity to support one for an essential post, they resort to trying to ruin him.
This crowd is so low that they will eagerly impair our ability to wage war, for we are at war, in order to destroy the guy in the White House and our country, along the way.
Now, that’s leadership.
Credits: Wiki, NYT, 538, Wapo