Report: Chuck Hagel “likely” to be nominated as next Secretary of Defense

posted at 3:21 pm on December 13, 2012 by Allahpundit

His name’s been kicking around for more than a week but the “likely” part is new.

NBC is hearing the same thing. Team O has been touting him for appointments since before The One was president, when Hagel was briefly rumored to be in the mix for VP. His name popped up again two years later as a potential successor to Dennis Blair as DNI. He’s sort of the perfect Obama appointee: He’s a centrist Republican, which burnishes O’s phony above-the-fray post-partisan image, and he’s known chiefly for harshly criticizing other Republicans, especially on Iraq. In fact, Hagel has the distinction of having voted for the initial invasion of Iraq and then later opposed the surge, which puts him squarely opposite the conventional wisdom on how well each of those ventures worked out. Nevertheless, I assume he’ll sail through the confirmation process. The Senate tends to go easy on its alums when they’re up for a cabinet post, and if anyone’s inclined to come after him for being insufficiently hawkish, the fact that he served with distinction in Vietnam will give him plenty of cover. (He and McCain are good friends so don’t expect static from the hawk-in-chief.)

His biggest problem will be answering questions about his past criticism of Israel. For Obama, that’s a feature, not a bug, but for other Democrats who have to worry about re-election, not so much. The Washington Free Beacon was on it last week:

“It would be a very unwise and disastrous choice for U.S. policies and activities regarding the Middle East,” said Morris Amitay, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)…

Hagel’s efforts to open up direct negotiations with Iran and its terrorist proxy Hamas have placed him at odds with the pro-Israel community and the majority of Congress.

His legislative record reads like an anti-Israel rap sheet, sources said.

Hagel has declined to sign multiple letters of support for the Jewish state and has balked when presented with opportunities to condemn Tehran’s efforts to enrich uranium near levels needed to produce a nuclear weapon.

The Beacon followed up this afternoon by noting that he’s a member of the board of Deutsche Bank America despite Deutsche Bank in Germany being under investigation for having possibly evaded sanctions on Iran. That won’t stop the Senate from confirming him, but all of the above should add some exciting new nuance to U.S./Israeli military cooperation in O’s second term under Secretary Hagel.

Exit question: What does this signal as far as Obama’s choice between Kerry and Susan Rice at State? Presumably O’s willing to risk only one “difficult” nomination next year; Rice would be difficult, Kerry would not, but what about Hagel? I think he’d actually be relatively easy, his views on Israel notwithstanding, partly because he’s an ex-senator and partly because he’s a Republican whose chief point of alienation from the party is a war that most of the public now thinks was a mistake. He’ll say all (or most) of the right things about Israel in his confirmation hearings and probably get 75 or so votes, which means Obama can then go to the mat on nominating Rice. He’ll have already thrown the Republicans a bone, supposedly, by nominating one of their own at Defense, which will help buy him the public’s benefit of the doubt about being “reasonable” when partisan war breaks out over Rice.

Update: I see that the left is grumbling on Twitter that nominating a Republican (or rather, another Republican) for Defense sends the message that the GOP is the party of national security, to the point where even Democratic presidents have to cross the aisle to find a suitable appointee at the Pentagon. I don’t buy it. For one thing, Panetta’s been there for awhile now; for another, O himself has been sufficiently hawkish — ostentatiously so in the case of Bin Laden and the drone campaign and Libya — that Romney’s supposed national-security advantage in the last election was completely neutralized at best. It’s not Bob Gates who’s most closely associated in the public’s mind with Obama’s counterterror successes, it’s Obama himself. The White House has taken great care to make sure of that, and they’ve succeeded. So, from a purely political standpoint, who cares whether it’s an R or D at Defense if it’s O in the White House?


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He’s a tad smarter than Panetta…other than that the left have nothing to worry about.

In the meanwhile, to jail with you.

Schadenfreude on December 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Wow, the circus has another clown.

whbates on December 13, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Fine…much better than Kerry. I know I know, Kerry was a false flag so anything else looked reasonable.

WisRich on December 13, 2012 at 3:28 PM

He and McCain are good friends

That puts him high on sh!t list already.

gsherin on December 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM

His biggest problem will be answering questions about his past criticism of Israel. For Obama, that’s a feature, not a bug, but for other Democrats who have to worry about re-election, not so much. The Washington Free Beacon was on it last week:

Yawn. Obama was slammed as anti-Israel, yet he won the Jewish vote decisively and carried Florida.

Look my brother is a ‘nam vet and he has great respect for Hagel. I don’t know much about him, but I guess he is not some socialist. Thank God Kerry is not going to defence but who knows?

celticdefender on December 13, 2012 at 3:31 PM

I’ve mentioned this before but, because he chaired a committee on which I was interning, I spent an hour with Hagel a few years ago. I walked out of his office about ready to chuck it all in. The man made no bones about his dislike for Israel and his Polyannia belief that Iran and the rest of the jihad crowd were trustworthy negotiating partners, who were only hiding their warm and fuzzy sides because the bad ole’ USA had taken the side of Israel. I could not believe the amount of naivite such a powerful man possessed.

KGB on December 13, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Exit question: What does this signal as far as Obama’s choice between Kerry and Susan Rice at State?

That he’s almost assuredly sticking with Rice. I think they would’ve been a lot more nuanced in their defense of her had they not already settled on the choice…to back down now will be seen as capitulation to the GOP and an acknowledgment that the criticism of her was valid. No way the WH wants that to happen.

changer1701 on December 13, 2012 at 3:32 PM

He’s a centrist Republican

…yes!…and I’m built like a brick shithouse…can run the mile under 3 minutes…and I have a vertical leap of 13 feet!

KOOLAID2 on December 13, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Seems to me Hagel is a perfect fit for what this administration intends to accomplish.

He should be a shoe in for SecDef.

hawkeye54 on December 13, 2012 at 3:36 PM

His legislative record reads like an anti-Israel rap sheet, sources said.

All sides in Syria are against the US and Israel. Yet, Obama suppports the terrorists who just happen to wish power from Asaad.

The region will soon be in big flames, enabled by Obama’s Arab ‘Spring’.

Hagel’s anti-Israel philosophy is pergfectly in line with Obama’s.

Schadenfreude on December 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

@KGB

The problem with which is that all Hagel will be doing is reflecting the views of his boss ……

Obama isn’t going to nominate anyone I like; the best we can hope for is “not the worst person he could pick.”

Hagel probably isn’t the worst person he could pick.

BD57 on December 13, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Don’t be ridiculous. Years later, who will care whether that or another Senator voted for that or another Secretary of Defense? Those who actually do already know whom they will vote for, anyway. The Senate can confirm Beelzebub as a Church Czar on Christmas Eve, and people will still let their lady parts cast the vote for them.

Archivarix on December 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

KOOLAID2 on December 13, 2012 at 3:36 PM

He said centrist *Republican* , not a centrist *conservative*. The latter would be an oxymoron, right?

peter_griffin on December 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM

His biggest problem will be answering questions about his past criticism of Israel.

What criticism? Is he more critical than Gates or others?

lexhamfox on December 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

He’s a centrist Republican

KOOLAID2 on December 13, 2012 at 3:36 PM

I believe when some is referred to as a “centrist Republican”, the implication is “he is an a-hole”. The a-hole is located in the center of our body, sort of.

Archivarix on December 13, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Never know that Chuck Hagel was a communist.

Pablo Honey on December 13, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Nevermind…apparently Susan Rice has withdrawn her name for Sec of State?

changer1701 on December 13, 2012 at 3:46 PM

The nominations of Rice and Hagel are big “FUs” to Israel.

Wethal on December 13, 2012 at 3:48 PM

I suppose one of his first priorities will be to take care of this.

a capella on December 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Nevermind…apparently Susan Rice has withdrawn her name for Sec of State?

changer1701 on December 13, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Yup. Just on Hannity. Rice took herself out.

Jabberwock on December 13, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Nevermind…apparently Susan Rice has withdrawn her name for Sec of State?

changer1701 on December 13, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Lurch is SOS.

Interestingly, Hillary is now backing off of her “acquiescence” to testify on Benghazi.

No Rice, no Hillary = No answers under oath from either = +1000 for Obama

Resist We Much on December 13, 2012 at 3:55 PM

YEAH,it was nip and tuck between him and Lincoln Chaffee..

..RINO AZZES CELEBRATE!!

ToddPA on December 13, 2012 at 3:56 PM

I believe when some is referred to as a “centrist Republican”, the implication is “he is an a-hole”. The a-hole is located in the center of our body, sort of.

Archivarix on December 13, 2012 at 3:43 PM

…oh oh!…that is what I considered Mitt Romney…grew to like him…I gotta redo my definitions of certain Republicans!

KOOLAID2 on December 13, 2012 at 3:58 PM

I hear Meghan McCain turned Obama down

DANEgerus on December 13, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Wasn’t Colonel Bat Guano available?

kenny on December 13, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Another Jew hater and conservative hater in the Obama administration…what else is new???

georgealbert on December 13, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Now we will have the original Sesquipedalian as SofS.
Our own squid will be proud.

Jabberwock on December 13, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Interestingly, Hillary is now backing off of her “acquiescence” to testify on Benghazi.

No Rice, no Hillary = No answers under oath from either = +1000 for Obama

Resist We Much on December 13, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Ah,…when did this happen? Can Barry protect her against subpoena with another executive priviledge knee slapper?

a capella on December 13, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Interestingly, Hillary is now backing off of her “acquiescence” to testify on Benghazi.

No Rice, no Hillary = No answers under oath from either = +1000 for Obama

Resist We Much on December 13, 2012 at 3:55 PM

This is all just so wrong. I am without faith in our government.

Jabberwock on December 13, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Allahpundit: “Obama is sufficiently hawkish”

Gheesh…I guess Obama has AP’s personnell file and is threatening to release it to the public…if AP does not fall in to line and make Orwellian statements about a president that is destroying our military, partnering with the racist muslim brotherhood and who has openly told the Russians we surrender, post election.

georgealbert on December 13, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Fine…much better than Kerry. I know I know, Kerry was a false flag so anything else looked reasonable.

WisRich on December 13, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Good point. I just hope Kerry gets SOS so that I can watch heads explode here in MA when Brown makes a bid for the vacant seat. I know Kerry sucks and all but can he really cause any more damage than the current admin is doing?

Frank Enstine on December 13, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Anyone else remember the lackadaisical Billy Cohen of the Clintoon clown car whose party-on attitudes helped make 9/11 possible?

viking01 on December 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM

I would frankly rather have Panetta in there than Hagel. The guy seems like a nut job.

Clark1 on December 13, 2012 at 4:16 PM

The guy seems like a nut job.

Clark1 on December 13, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Bingo

kenny on December 13, 2012 at 4:21 PM

If you can’t find a truly qualified candidate, then go get Hagel. He’s weak and harmless and therefore acceptable to Obama.

rplat on December 13, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Three reasons for this:

1. Kerry’s already getting the State Department.

2. Obama thought Hagel could become a potential challenger (to Hillary) in 2016, thus he decided to weaken the competition. *insert trollface here*

3. If the big-bad GOP dares complain about a RINO Republican, what would the important “centrists” think?

Aizen on December 13, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Why not, the Obama administration is full of second class has-beens.

rplat on December 13, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Finally, a career of trashing Conservatives pays off for a member of the RINO herd.

Alabama Infidel on December 13, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Three reasons for this:

1. Kerry’s already getting the State Department.

2. Obama thought Hagel could become a potential challenger (to Hillary) in 2016, thus he decided to weaken the competition. *insert trollface here*

3. If the big-bad GOP dares complain about a RINO Republican, what would the important “centrists” think?

Aizen on December 13, 2012 at 4:35 PM

4. Hagel endorsed Bob Kerrey (D-NY) in the Nebraska Senate race over Deb Fischer (R-NE). He is spoken highly of in the NY cocktail circuit after the endorsement.

weaselyone on December 13, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Hagel rhymes with bagel which is shaped like a Zero.

Perfect match.

Bitter Clinger on December 13, 2012 at 5:22 PM

This was predicted back on November 2nd by Nebraska Senator Johanns:
Omaha World Herald: Distaste for partisanship is behind Chuck Hagel’s Kerrey endorsement:

Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, had demonstrated a talent in the past for spotting a political underdog on the way to a big victory.

Democrat Bob Kerrey hopes his former colleague hasn’t lost the touch.

Hagel threw his support behind Kerrey’s bid for Nebraska’s open Senate seat at a press conference Thursday at the Omaha Press Club.


Thursday, Heineman and Johanns both said they continue to regard Hagel as a friend even while depicting his Kerrey endorsement as a nonfactor in the Senate race. Johanns characterized Hagel as a politician who had left behind both his party and the state of Nebraska and suggested Hagel’s backing of Kerrey was angling for a spot in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.

“I think Chuck would love to think he’s on the list to be secretary of something,” said Johanns, who served as secretary of agriculture under Bush.

Hagel said if that were his motivation, he’d be in Virginia or Ohio campaigning on the president’s behalf. He added that he has turned down “a lot of pretty important jobs” offered to him by the president, but he declined to disclose which jobs.

“Certainly Mike Johanns can have his opinion, and he’s entitled to it like everybody, but he needs to also understand a couple facts, which I hope I’ve just educated him (on) a little bit,” Hagel said.
Hagel has accepted at least one job offer from Obama: he co-chairs Obama’s Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board.


Hagel said he remains a Republican today.

Nebraska GOP Chairman Mark Fahleson posted a photo online of Hagel’s Virginia home with yard signs for Obama and Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine, a Democrat. Hagel said his wife, Lilibet, was responsible for putting up those signs.

Hagel declined to criticize Fischer by name, though he took a shot at Grover Norquist’s no-tax-increase pledge, which Fischer has signed.

How’s that educating working out for you Chuck? Seems Senator Johanns was correct…You are no Republican.

weaselyone on December 13, 2012 at 5:30 PM

In fact, Hagel has the distinction of having voted for the initial invasion of Iraq and then later opposed the surge, which puts him squarely opposite the conventional wisdom on how well each of those ventures worked out.

There was no wisdom in staying so long in Iraq. There was a far greater loss of American lives and limbs however.

VorDaj on December 13, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Hagel’s efforts to open up direct negotiations with Iran and its terrorist proxy Hamas have placed him at odds with the pro-Israel community and the majority of Congress.

His legislative record reads like an anti-Israel rap sheet, sources said.

You want an anti-Israel rap sheet? Look at Petraeus who has blamed Israel for all the problems in the Middle East and then get back to me.

VorDaj on December 13, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Hagel can choose not to go down in the History books as just another of the fools who worked for the worst President of the U.S.A. in its whole history.

Or

He could be just another old fool doing what old fools are known for.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on December 13, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Chuckles the Clown is an increasingly slimy human being. In other words, a perfect fit for the Obama administration.

NebCon on December 13, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Funny how even Demoidiots NEVER nominate one of their own to Defense Secretary.

royzer on December 13, 2012 at 6:02 PM

I must be behind in the news I thought Sec. Panetta was going to stay unless he resigned in protest over sequestration.

Cindy Munford on December 13, 2012 at 6:08 PM

O himself has been sufficiently hawkish — ostentatiously so in the case of Bin Laden and the drone campaign and Libya — that Romney’s supposed national-security advantage in the last election was completely neutralized at best.

I think Romney answering every question in the foreign policy debate with, “I agree with the president” went an awful long way to neutralizing that national security advantage.

tom on December 13, 2012 at 6:16 PM

He’s a centrist Republican

Can you spell RINO? I knew you could.

tom on December 13, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Like a bad penny. Hagel will Fup everything he touches.

Speakup on December 13, 2012 at 7:16 PM