Barney Frank joins bipartisan chorus opposing Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary

posted at 9:11 am on January 2, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

This nomination has been in trouble for a while.

Sure, it looks sweet and bipartisan at first glance, and even rational, to appoint a Republican to head the Defense Department. And, it might have had the added benefit of making Republicans look intransigent if they opposed one of their own. But it turns out the Hagel pick brought left and right together like nothing else in this town. Rich Lowry of National Review urged, “Please, let’s have a partisan appointment for secretary of defense.”

I mean, how often is it that Sen. Chuck Schumer and I oppose a nominee for the same reasons?

The comments about gays was only one part of Hagel’s problem, and not the major problem. Much more problematic, especially for Schumer and other members of the Senate, are Hagel’s past statements about a “Jewish lobby” controlling US policy, and stands on Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas that put Hagel to the left of Barack Obama and well into a political fringe.

None of this should have come as a surprise to the White House. Hagel made all of those statements very publicly, and took criticism for them at the time. The Obama administration, however, has been singularly poor at vetting its Cabinet choices. Anyone remember the trial balloons of Bill Richardson and Tom Daschle, for instance? Or the actual appointment of Tim Geithner to run the Treasury Department when he had gotten in trouble for failing to file his income taxes? The Hagel bust isn’t an anomaly; it’s business as usual at the White House.

Now, Barney Frank:

Outgoing Rep. Barney Frank Monday denounced the idea of former Sen. Chuck Hagel being considered for secretary of defense, arguing the Nebraska conservative has demonstrated a clear pattern of bigotry and and a track record of being “against fairness for LGBT people.”

Hagel’s 1998 opposition to former President Bill Clinton nominee James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg — when he accused Hormel of being “aggressively gay” — has angered some LGBT groups, although Hagel recently apologized for the remarks.

“I cannot think of any other minority group in the U.S. today where such a negative statement and action made in 1998 would not be an obstacle to a major Presidential appointment,” Frank said in the statement.

On Meet the Press this Sunday, President Obama said otherwise, telling NBC’s David Gregory that he did not see the comments as disqualifying.

Frank, however, disagrees.

Democratic senator and former Klansmen Robert Byrd used the n-word twice in a national interview in 2001 and if not for his age would surely have been accepted by the rest of his party for a nomination during his tenure, so I’m not sure I’m with Frank on that part, but I digress.

Now, from the left comes this warning: Hagel, the enemy of liberals’ enemies, shouldn’t be their friend

Since the Iraq War, a sizable and apparently growing segment of the liberal punditocracy has lost its way on foreign policy. Politicians and writers on the left, including many liberals, have been so repulsed by the Bush administration’s policies abroad that they have often assumed, almost reflexively, that whatever Bush and the Fox News crowd favored was ipso facto wrong and its opposite ipso facto correct. This delusion seemed to turn many progressives into sour realists, intent on abdicating any American leadership role in the world, even a liberal and humane one. It especially infected their thinking on the Middle East, where they have been slow to recognize the dangers of Islamists like Recep Erdogan in Turkey and Mohammed Morsi in Egypt, eager to minimize the dangers of a nuclear Iran, and, in the case of one strain of progressives, displaying the inordinate animus towards Israel that was once confined to the far left, in places like the Nation and the Village Voice, but now finds a home on the New York Times op-ed page and other mainstream liberal outlets.

It is this same perversity of thinking that has led too many liberals to fall in love with Hagel. Because the likes of Wolfowitz and Senor are against him, the thinking goes, we should be for him. (Never mind that Hagel is politically well to the right of Wolfowitz and Senor and most other so-called neoconservatives.) So, for example, on the Times’s op-ed page, James Besser, a former reporter for The Jewish Week, in a piece called “Don’t Let Pro-Israel Extremists Sink Chuck Hagel,” declines to argue the case for Hagel on its merits, offering only the perfectly unobjectionable argument that the lunatic right, which imagines Obama a Muslim and enemy of Israel, shouldn’t be allowed a veto over his Cabinet appointments. The headline itself implies that the decision should be a referendum on Hagel’s most obnoxious opponents—rather than a referendum on Hagel himself.

And, just to top off the weirdness, and rile liberals further, the likely second choice for DefSec Michele Flournoy gets a nod from…Paul Wolfowitz. Those tricky, sexist Republicans, criticizing an old, white man of their own party while arguing for the elevation of the first female Secretary of Defense.

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Barney Frank joins bipartisan chorus opposing Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary?

Hagel getting stiffed by Barney?

coldwarrior on January 2, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Outgoing Rep. Barney Frank …

Music to my ears.

Hagel’s 1998 opposition to former President Bill Clinton nominee James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg — when he accused Hormel of being “aggressively gay” …

Hey, at least he wasn’t accused of being “severely gay” …

ShainS on January 2, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Just because he doesn’t like gays or Jews doesn’t mean he should be ruled out.

The real reason people are railing against Hagel is that he is, in fact, a Muslim.

CorporatePiggy on January 2, 2013 at 9:19 AM

And what, exactly does this

“against fairness for LGBT people.”

have to do with Defense?

I swear these people are a bunch of window lickers.

Key West Reader on January 2, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Hagel getting stiffed by Barney?

coldwarrior on January 2, 2013 at 9:13 AM

LOL. I wanted to go there sooooooo bad … that I just couldn’t.

ShainS on January 2, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Hagel’s nomination is simply that he’s a Republican who has hated Republicans in general for the past decade, and has shown a particular dislike for Israel. In Obama’s eyes, those are his strongest assets, but with Frank’s opposition, it’s going to be interesting to see if the gay rights advocates in the Democratic Party decide to join Barney in expressing their opposition to Chuck’s nomination, even if they still think he’s a swell guy for hating other Republicans and/or Israel.

jon1979 on January 2, 2013 at 9:20 AM

honestly, i think this is a red herring. Ignore the proferred first nomination, worry about the 2nd. That’ll be the one who they really want. They have learned to play the media and the citizenry like a fiddle, IMO.

ted c on January 2, 2013 at 9:23 AM

jon1979 on January 2, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Gay rights?

Obama could not care one bit less about gay rights.

There is one dead gay ambassador who cannot chime in on how Obama treats gays.

But, that is last year’s news.

Obama has an early golf date this a.m..

coldwarrior on January 2, 2013 at 9:26 AM

…the circus continues!
.
.
.
…now… if he had come out of the closet?

KOOLAID2 on January 2, 2013 at 9:26 AM

I never thought I’d agree with Barney on any subject but he’s right on this one. Hagel is a Republican hating, dim bulb and his selection as defense secretary would be a tragedy.

rplat on January 2, 2013 at 9:27 AM

it’s going to be interesting to see if the gay rights advocates in the Democratic Party decide to join Barney in expressing their opposition to Chuck’s nomination, even if they still think he’s a swell guy for hating other Republicans and/or Israel.

jon1979 on January 2, 2013 at 9:20 AM

I’m less concerned about that Barney Frank got his feelings hurt than I am getting a SecDef who actually knows the Defense Department and brings expertise to the table as the DoD shrinks. Tough decisions have to be made and we don’t need another professional politician. Leon Panetta is everything that is wrong with this approach of rewarding cronies instead of respecting the office.

Happy Nomad on January 2, 2013 at 9:27 AM

What would Cynthia McKinney have done?

forest on January 2, 2013 at 9:28 AM

American Jews voted for Obama… this is their defense secretary. Confirm him.

What exactly does the GOP get for being reflexively pro-Israel? It’s so completely Beta that it’s pathetic.

We have people like Schumer and Abe Foxman will denounce any restriction on immigration as racist and will oppose measures like border fences but then actively support the deportation of Africans out of Israel and the building of a fence which has done wonders for Israel’s security.

I don’t hate Israel… international opinion polls showed them supporting Romney… but I am sick and tired of the hypocrisy of a large section of American Jews who will support one policy for Israel and would denounce a similar policy if enacted by the United States.

ninjapirate on January 2, 2013 at 9:30 AM

I never thought I’d agree with Barney on any subject but he’s right on this one. Hagel is a Republican hating, dim bulb and his selection as defense secretary would be a tragedy.

rplat on January 2, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Well, Michael Moore came out and said he hates the troops. They are stupid for joining the military in the first place. With that kind of mentality from the left, I’m not really sure any choice wouldn’t be tragic.

Happy Nomad on January 2, 2013 at 9:31 AM

What would Cynthia McKinney have done?

forest on January 2, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Blame it on the Jews.

coldwarrior on January 2, 2013 at 9:31 AM

I don’t hate Israel… international opinion polls showed them supporting Romney… but I am sick and tired of the hypocrisy of a large section of American Jews who will support one policy for Israel and would denounce a similar policy if enacted by the United States.

ninjapirate on January 2, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Hey, if American Jews don’t give a damn about Israel, why should I? They voted for Obama despite his clear hatred of Jews and pandering to the very people who want to drive all the Israeli Jews into the sea. We have a lot of other priorities that would be made easier if we didn’t have to look out after Israel.

Happy Nomad on January 2, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Maybe Barney wants the job?

Dingbat63 on January 2, 2013 at 9:34 AM

When you’ve lost Barney Frank…

Khun Joe on January 2, 2013 at 9:35 AM

And, just to top off the weirdness, and rile liberals further, the likely second choice for DefSec Michele Flournoy gets a nod from…Paul Wolfowitz. Those tricky, sexist Republicans, criticizing an old, white man of their own party while arguing for the elevation of the first female Secretary of Defense.

Yes!

I don’t hate Israel… international opinion polls showed them supporting Romney… but I am sick and tired of the hypocrisy of a large section of American Jews who will support one policy for Israel and would denounce a similar policy if enacted by the United States.

ninjapirate on January 2, 2013 at 9:30 AM

No. Saying that Jews should support Jews because they are Jews is like saying blacks should support blacks because they are black. They shouldn’t support Israel because they are Jews, they should support Israel because it is right.

thebrokenrattle on January 2, 2013 at 9:36 AM

No. Saying that Jews should support Jews because they are Jews is like saying blacks should support blacks because they are black. They shouldn’t support Israel because they are Jews, they should support Israel because it is right.

I don’t understand your “No”.

Jews do support Jews because they are Jews. Blacks do support Blacks because they are Blacks. To deny either sentence would be completely stupid.

I don’t really care whether “Israel” is right… It’s just obvious that they’d be better stewards.

ninjapirate on January 2, 2013 at 9:42 AM

What would Cynthia McKinney have done?

forest on January 2, 2013 at 9:28 AM

ROFL! That was good!

Key West Reader on January 2, 2013 at 9:42 AM

I want Sheriff Joe as Sec’y of Defense.

He’ll put al-Qaeda in pink pajamas and be proud of it.

cane_loader on January 2, 2013 at 9:48 AM

ninjapirate on January 2, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Because I was born/raised cradle conservative Jewish…I tend to judge Jewish candidates/politicians more harshly. Just because someone is a member of the Tribe-doesn’t mean that my vote is just going to be handed to them.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 2, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Don’t talk with your mouth full, Barney.

locomotivebreath1901 on January 2, 2013 at 10:09 AM

There is one dead gay ambassador who cannot chime in on how Obama treats gays.

But, that is last year’s news.

Obama has an early golf date this a.m..

coldwarrior on January 2, 2013 at 9:26 AM

I’ll see your dead ambassador and raise you a dead Commander and an blood-clotted SOS.

davidk on January 2, 2013 at 10:09 AM

And what, exactly does this

“against fairness for LGBT people.”
have to do with Defense?

Key West Reader on January 2, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Hahahaha. Are you kidding? Don’t you know that “diversity” is the greatest strength of our military? (At least according to its leaders, as expressed after the Fort Hood massacre).

Not courage, not determination, not excellence. No, “diversity” is what makes our military great. Being welcoming to queens and America-hating Muslims . . . that’s where our strength is.

AZCoyote on January 2, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Why does this matter?

You need to start preparing for the post-GOP political landscape.

Who’s going to lead? Who will step up to the plate?

What do you all need to do to save your nation?

What you’ve done so far, supporting the GOP regardless of what they do, has not worked. What is “Plan B”?

The GOP will betray you

True_King on January 2, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Hagel getting stiffed by Barney?

coldwarrior on January 2, 2013 at 9:13 AM

…I didn’t read anything about salve!

KOOLAID2 on January 2, 2013 at 10:20 AM

And, just to top off the weirdness, and rile liberals further, the likely second choice for DefSec Michele Flournoy gets a nod from…Paul Wolfowitz. Those tricky, sexist Republicans, criticizing an old, white man of their own party while arguing for the elevation of the first female Secretary of Defense.

Liberals aren’t riled — they’re winning. They actually look more pro-America and American interests than the GOP which is clearly in the tank for, erhmm, a foreign country and its lobby.

But it is rather amusing to watch neoconservatives, using the language of the left, denounce Chuck Hagel, a decorated war hero, as a “sexist”, “homophobe”, and an “old, white man” just because he won’t roll over for the Israel Lobby, the hawks, and their shared interests.

Can you really blame so many for walking away from the GOP? When not caving on economics, immigration, etc. they’re denouncing “old, white men” for not being sufficiently Israeli enough to be THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’S SECRETARY OF DEFENSE.

It’s all a bit much.

Punchenko on January 2, 2013 at 10:24 AM

I wonder if Barney remembers when Al Franken joked about the murder of a gay Pudding?

“He [Al Franken] recalled writing a skit called ‘Seamen on Broadway’ that was rejected from the Hasty Pudding show ‘by some preppie so they could take some other preppie’s skit.’ Franken started to smile again, but his tone was serious, too serious.

‘It’s not preppies, cause I’m a preppie myself. I just don’t like homosexuals. If you ask me, they’re all homosexuals in the Pudding. Hey, I was glad when that Pudding homosexual got killed in Philadelphia.’

The smile became so broad it pushed his eyes shut. He couldn’t stand it any longer. ‘Put that in, put that in,’ Franken laughed, leaning over the desk. ‘I’d love to see that in The Crimson.’”

Live From New York: It’s Al Franken, Harvard Crimson, 16 April 1976

Not that I want Hagel even nominated. Just keeping ‘em honest…

Resist We Much on January 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Punchenko on January 2, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Israel Lobby?. Who are you, Walt or Mearsheimer.?
Jew-hating swine.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 2, 2013 at 10:37 AM

The real reason people are railing against Hagel is that he is, in fact, a Muslim.

CorporatePiggy on January 2, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Link?

cptacek on January 2, 2013 at 10:38 AM

I like what Tom Coburn said about Hagel – that he did not have the necessary management skill set for the duties of SOD. Specifically he said that Hagel doesn’t have “the experience to manage a large organization like the Pentagon.”

No doubt the guy is anti-semtic based on his numerous statements but the first criteria should be skill set.

I know what you are all thinking, when the top dog (eater) doesn’t have the necessary skill set, why should anyone else.

LetsBfrank on January 2, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Israel Lobby?. Who are you, Walt or Mearsheimer.?
Jew-hating swine.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 2, 2013 at 10:37 AM

I’m an American, dear. My love, loyalty, and pride is for America and her national interests.

Punchenko on January 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

The One wants everyone to expend “political capital” stopping Hagel, so that Kerry can cruise in on his sailboard to succeed the HildeBeast as SecState.

Whereupon terrorism will be “returned to its proper status as a law-enforcement concern”, to quote Kerry when he ran for President in 2004.

al-Qaeda In (Everywhere) will be dancing in the streets and shooting AK-47s into the air five seconds later. Bet on it.

Then they’ll start planing another 9/11. Bigger and better than the last two, from their POV.

When it happens, Kerry will blame… the NRA. And have Eric Holder take “appropriate measures”.

Hagel at Defense and Kerry at State, with The One in the Oval Office, would be a trifecta for people who hate our chromosomes. But they, and The One, will settle for best two out of three.

On that count, he’s halfway there already.

clear ether

eon

eon on January 2, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Barney Frank’s last day in office is tomorrow so it doesn’t really matter what he thinks. Plus he is in the house, and they have nothing to do with the confirmation process. That said I too am against Hagel.

Dasher on January 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM

honestly, i think this is a red herring. Ignore the proferred first nomination, worry about the 2nd. That’ll be the one who they really want. They have learned to play the media and the citizenry like a fiddle, IMO.

ted c on January 2, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Hagel is a bad nomination but ted’s comment is right on.

Vince on January 2, 2013 at 12:12 PM

I’m an American, dear. My love, loyalty, and pride is for America and her national interests.

Punchenko on January 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

I’m an America too- but ‘Israel Lobby’ is a code word for pure Jew-hatred. You might want to chose your words differently.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM

The GOP will betray you

True_King on January 2, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Not nearly as badly as the TruCons.

Solaratov on January 2, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Who gives a good …. about what Barney thinks, he’s no longer in office as of Noon Thursday, and what’s more, he’s not a Senator.

Another Drew on January 2, 2013 at 2:53 PM

I’m an American, dear. My love, loyalty, and pride is for America and her national interests.

Punchenko on January 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

I’m an America too- but ‘Israel Lobby’ is a code word for pure Jew-hatred. You might want to chose your words differently.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Look, I’m not going to be intimidated by you or any other to “choose my words differently” when discussing politics in what’s left of a free country.

Furthermore, the Israel Lobby is real, it’s powerful, and like other foreign lobbies before it, it is not above criticism. Period.

Punchenko on January 2, 2013 at 3:17 PM

I’m curious as to who will offer that butt phucking pervert a commentator job in the State Controlled, Single Party Media?
Much like Clinton (Where did I put that cigar?) … such an upstanding model of the modern Democrat male, (In comparision to those ‘War on Women’ Republicans.) … we’ve certainly not heard the end of Bawney Fwrank.
And would someone thank him for phyxing the banking system? It’ll take the better part of a decade to get the Dodd-Frank excrement out of what use to be the engine(s) powering our economic freedoms. Or what’s left of them.

Missilengr on January 2, 2013 at 3:37 PM

I’m an America too- but ‘Israel Lobby’ is a code word for pure Jew-hatred. You might want to chose your words differently.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Typical lie-beral denying reality and using the tired old “dog whistles” argument. If there was not an Israeli lobby then AIPAC is just a figment of my imagination. The “Israeli Lobby doesn’t exist” crowd usually get their talking points from people who makes lots of money off of the foreign lobby business. It works the same way for countries other than Israel, why was Brent Scowcroft against the second Iraq War? Here’s a hint, Turkey didn’t get all their concessions and opposed it.

LevStrauss on January 3, 2013 at 10:24 AM

I never thought I would see the day when I agreed with Barney Frank on anything. I have been proven wrong.

georgeofthedesert on January 3, 2013 at 7:32 PM