We’ll be candid, too: He should be in some other job, not running the Pentagon.

Hagel is expected to be confirmed, largely with Democratic votes, largely out of deference to President Barack Obama. A vote in the Armed Services Committee is expected to be held Thursday.

A president should enjoy a certain level of deference in his Cabinet choices. But in this case we stand with Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who has announced he will vote against Hagel’s nomination.

The nation needs a defense secretary who is consistent, who is well-versed in defense planning and policy, and who will give frank and independent advice to the president about when and when not to project U.S. power. Hagel inspires no confidence on any of those counts.

A defense secretary who will not need to be reminded that the president has vowed to thwart Iran’s drive to develop nuclear weapons.