Corker: Say, that Hagel’s got quite a temper, eh?

posted at 5:01 pm on January 13, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

We’ve spent plenty of time covering the litany of complaints being raised against Chuck Hagel’s nomination for SecDef based on various policy positions he’s taken or past comments he’s made. But now a different and less discussed – though already well known – aspect of his past is bubbling back to the surface. During the round of Sunday morning shows, Senator Bob Corker weighed in, asking whether Hagel has the proper temperament for an upper level management position.

Raising concerns about former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary, Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday the former Nebraska senator’s temperament should be explored in his confirmation hearings.

“There are number of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about how he dealt with them,” Corker said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, said the Senate hearings should consider Hagel’s management skills and determine whether he’d be capable of running the Pentagon.

Corker wasn’t the only one, though. A report from Commentary Magazine takes a very similar tone.

This isn’t a surprise, considering Hagel’s reputation as a difficult boss who often castigated his staffers in public (in Adam Kredo’s story on this, Michael Rubin dubbed Hagel “the Cornhusker wears Prada”). Apparently he didn’t treat his fellow senators much better.

But on the Hill, where being a team player matters, Hagel’s abrasive personality wasn’t his only problem. Eli Lake reports that his mercurial temperament has also irritated the GOP

When anyone in any line of work spends long enough in a senior leadership position – even running a Senate office – there are bound to be a couple of staffers over the years who run into trouble and wind up leaving with some sour grapes to sell. But if it turns out to be a repeating pattern, this is certainly a valid cause for concern when selecting somebody as a cabinet member. Like it or not, personnel management and general “people skills” are an important aspect of the position.

Whether this turns out to be a truly crippling factor will depend on what comes out during the confirmation process. If it’s one or two people, this will probably be disregarded. But if opponents can line up a long enough parade of witnesses to this “mercurial temper” then it could turn into an excuse for some wavering yes votes to swing the other way.


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