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GOP Effort To Block Hagel Nomination Fading Away

It may have been able to prevent a vote on the merits last week, but the Republican led effort to block Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be Secretary of Defense seems to fading away fairly quickly:

Two of the most outspoken Republican critics of Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense indicated Sunday that they would no longer hold up his Senate confirmation.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on Fox News Sunday that he would stand aside because Mr. Hagel had disavowed comments that he was said to have made during a talk at Rutgers University in 2007 that the State Department was an adjunct of the Israeli Foreign Minister’s office.

“I got a letter back from Senator Hagel in response to my question, ‘Did you say that, and do you believe that?’ And the letter said he did not recall saying that,” Mr. Graham said. “He disavows that statement.”

Mr. Graham, one of the most vociferous and persistent critics of Mr. Hagel’s nomination, added, “I’ll just take him at his word unless something new comes along.”

Although Mr. Graham said he would no longer try to block the nomination, he was far from giving it an emphatic endorsement, calling Mr. Hagel “one of the most unqualified, radical choices for secretary of defense in a very long time.”

Those comments were echoed, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, a close friend of Mr. Graham and a public opponent of Mr. Hagel’s nomination.

“I don’t believe he is qualified,” Mr. McCain said. “But I don’t believe that we should hold up his nomination any further because I think it’s a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered.”

Mr. Graham and Mr. McCain were among a majority of Republicans in the Senate who backed a filibuster on Thursday when Mr. Hagel’s nomination came to a vote. Despite four Republicans’ crossing over to vote with the majority Democrats, the nomination fell one vote short of passing an up-or-down floor vote.

That unprecedented move forced the majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, to set up another vote on Feb. 26. With Democratic control of the Senate, Mr. Hagel is expected to win confirmation whenever his nomination comes up for a vote.

Without Graham and McCain, there’s no way for the GOP to successfully block Hagel’s nomination and it’s quite obvious that he’ll be confirmed, albeit with a ssubstantial GOP opposition, when the Senate reconvenes next week. While this is happening, though, there are some on the right who continue to embrace the delusion that they are somehow going to be able to stop Hagel in the short amount of time left. With Graham and McCain now folding in the towel, though, it’s clear that this is no longer possible.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    You really couldn’t script a better demonstration of how the GOP can’t change until an entire generation of old, cranky, entitled white dudes die off.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Clearly when Butters and McCain say un-qualified…it means nothing more than that Hagel disagrees with them.
    It takes a lot of cojones for McCain…who was a shitty pilot…championed one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in US history…and nominated Sarah Palin to be one heartbeat away from the nuke codes…to call anyone un-qualified.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 3

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mr. Graham said he would no longer try to block the nomination, he was far from giving it an emphatic endorsement, calling Mr. Hagel “one of the most unqualified, radical choices for secretary of defense in a very long time.”

    From the way they talk, you would think Obama had nominated Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Un. These people are a joke.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: You what takes a total lack of cojones? Smearing a genuine war hero like McCain (“shitty pilot”) just because you don’t like his politics.

    McCain was awarded two citations for flying ability by the Navy, including a Distinguished Flying Cross for successfully carrying out a bombing run after his plane was crippled by anti-aircraft fire, then ejecting before the plane crashed.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 27

  5. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: One person can be both a war hero and a sh*tty, deeply disappointing Senator at the same time. One might examine Duke Cunningham for a parallel.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  6. Dan says:

    Ironically, if John McCain had been as intelligent, thoughtful, strong and knowledgeable as his fellow Vietnam war vet, Hagel, he would likely have been president. He’d likely have beaten Bush in 2000. I don’t know what most republican senators have to gain by this illogical opposition to Hagel, and looking all kinds of stupid in the eyes of Americans and the world. You would think that they’d have learnt something from the recent elections and even previous ones. For senators with presidential ambitions like Marco Rubio, how is this a good thing for him? How is this going to show that he is intelligent, competent and a leader? How are New Hampshire voters going to see Kelly Ayotte in light of this, when she’s up for reelection? I know that Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are crazy, McCain is old and irrational and Graham has an eye on a possible primary challenge but I am very puzzled by the behaviour of the others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  7. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: You need to direct your message to Cliffy. I got a lot of problems with McCain, but I don’t need to slander his war record to express my disagreements with him. And I specifically cited ex-Representative Cunningham here just within the last week or two as an example of a war hero who failed in his after-war service.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

  8. C. Clavin says:

    Really? The son of an Admiral got commendations? Shocking…
    From McCains Wikipedia page:

    McCain began as a sub-par flier[17] who was at times careless and reckless;[18] during the early-to-mid 1960s, the planes he was flying crashed twice and once collided with power lines, but he received no major injuries.[18] His aviation skills improved over time,[17] and he was seen as a good pilot, albeit one who tended to “push the envelope” in his flying.[18]

    From the Navy report on a 1960 crash:

    “…In the opinion of the board, the pilot’s preoccupation in the cockpit … coupled with the use of a power setting too low to maintain level flight in a turn were the primary causes of this accident….”

    McCains own account of another incident in 1961:

    “…There were occasional setbacks in my efforts to round out my Navy profile. My reputation was certainly not enhanced when I knocked down some power lines while flying too low over southern Spain. My daredevil clowning had cut off electricity to a great many Spanish homes and created a small international incident…”

    And then of course there is the plane he got shot down in which led to his torture. McCain now condones torture…because it is politically expediant.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: How many times have I been flamed for citing Wikipedia? Let’s look at the five incidents most often cited.

    1) Trainee has a training accident. Big surprise there.
    2) Young pilot goes hot-dogging, clips power lines, does NOT lose planes.
    3) Pilot has mechanical failure, loses engine and plane.
    4) Pilot sitting in cockpit has second plane fire a rocket into third plane, starting massive fire that destroys his plane, kills over 100, puts carrier out of action for 2 years.
    5) Pilot on bombing mission gets hit by AA, keeps plane together long enough to complete bombing run, then ejects.

    After the war, McCain was put in command of a training squadron where he imparted his skills and experiences on to new pilots, and was very successful there.

    Congrats, you’ve proven that McCain was not a great pilot at the beginning of his career. The record shows that once he got some experience and maturity under his belt, he was a very capable pilot. The only thing “shitty” is you for trying to smear him.

    And why? Because a big part of the left’s defense of Hagel is his distinguished war record, and if you have to acknowledge McCain’s as being at least as valid, there goes that leg. Plus, you’ve got all that leftover venom and hatred and lies from the 2008 campaign lying around, so why not recycle it?

    And let’s not forget that other totally incompetent and/or corrupt Democrats with distinguished war records need cover, too. Right, Secretary Kerry and Representative Rangel?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 13

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: I hadn’t realized McCain was supporting torture now. Any idea what his position will be next week? Even Mitt Romney didn’t have a set of full spectrum policy positions that could rival McCain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: My bad, forgot the link. Here’s a group I don’t always trust, but they seem to have this one mostly right and have some standing on the left.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  12. Dan says:

    @legion: The problem is bigger than old, cranky, entitled white dudes. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are in their early forties. How old is Rand Paul? How old is Kelly Ayotte? Dick Lugar and John Warner are in their eighties, they wouldn’t have done this. This is a complex problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  13. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jenos Indiana Jones
    What do you think happens to the license of a pilot outside the military that crashes a plane due to inattentiveness, and then clips power lines while show-boating?
    Do you think the FAA sits back and says: “well, give him a break, he’ll get better”
    No…they take away his license because he is a shitty pilot.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  14. legion says:

    @Dan: True, but I keep thinking (desperately hoping) that jokers like Cruz and the other Teahadists are just grifters looking for an easy buck – the moment they wear out their welcome and have to actually act like grownups and/or work for a living, they’ll bail to Fox or some think tank for their right-wing-welfare checks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: But we’re not talking outside the military, jackhole. In the military, you want aggressive, risk-taking pilots, not the “do everything boringly perfect and predictable” the FAA wants.

    Inattentive at poor times? Teach ‘em right. (That first crash taught McCain, apparently.) Too much a daredevil? Teach ‘em to better calculate their risks.

    But that doesn’t matter 50 years later, when some pathetic jackhole needs to score some cheap political points, does it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  16. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jenos Indiana Jones…
    You are a big brave man/woman calling me names from behind your keyboard.
    Done with your nonsensical rationalizations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  17. David M says:

    And the troll derailed a thread again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  18. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Let’s also take into account age: at an age when McCain was risking his life for his country, Obama was toking and snorting up a storm. Shall we hold him to the same standard you demand of McCain?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  19. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: You’re right, I apologize. I should have let Cliffy’s irrelevant slanders lie. I’m sure someone else would have corrected him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

  20. legion says:

    @Dan: Callin him a “sh*tty pilot” is something you two can argue about. But as for cojones, McCain simply doesn’t have them any more. He got reeeeeeal close to the Presidency that one time, but the get that close he had to compromise and sell out every single moral position he had, and it just cut the soul right out of him. He’s not the same man he was before the 2008 races.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  21. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: And at the age when McCain was putting his life on the line… SO WAS HAGEL.

    Yet McCain is siding with Graham about Hagel being “one of the most unqualified, radical choices for secretary of defense in a very long time.” rather than having the “cojones” to tell his friend he’s completely out of line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  22. bk says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Obama was toking and snorting up a storm

    You really are a child.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: And at the age when McCain was putting his life on the line… SO WAS HAGEL.

    I appreciate both men’s service in the military. I just think both are well past their expiration dates.

    Come on, can’t you make an argument for Hagel that DOESN’T require lying about McCain or someone else? We all know the real reason he’s Obama’s choice — Obama wants a Republican whose skirts he can hide behind, then throw under the bus if necessary. But can’t someone at least pretend there are valid reasons for Hagel’s nomination?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 19

  24. JohnMcC says:

    Borrowing from Mr E J Dionne: In 2008, Sen Joe Lieberman spoke at the Republican Convention (endorsing Sen McCain). He quit attending Democratic Caucus meetings after that. Still, he was allowed to continue as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Because that is how the Democratic Party does politics; they count the votes.

    Mr Hagel said bad things about the Iraq War. In 2008, he did not endorse a candidate although his wife did; she chose Mr Obama.

    Now the Republicans have declared Mr Hagel a former member of their party undeserving of future government service. That is how they do politics; they look for heretics.

    Which party is qualified to govern?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  25. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @bk: You really are a child.

    You’re right. Expecting consistency and honesty from people like Cliffy does require a certain level of childlike naivete. And rubbing his nose in his hypocrisy really doesn’t achieve much.

    Oh, look, Cliffy’s “shitty pilot” comment has 11 updings. Apparently slander has a lot of fans around here.

    Let me show you my surprised face.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  26. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “You what takes a total lack of cojones? Smearing a genuine war hero like McCain (“shitty pilot”) just because you don’t like his politics.”

    Another bout of fake self-righteous anger from the biggest phony on the internet.

    Why don’t you post this chest-pounding garbage to yourself next time you trash John Kerry?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  27. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Let’s also take into account age: at an age when McCain was risking his life for his country, Obama was toking and snorting up a storm. ”

    Right, because we all know the president was a coke fiend when he was eight years old. Which is odd, because I thought people as dumb as you liked to claim he was in a madrassa at the time.

    You don’t even bother to think before you type, do you? You just reach for the nearest right wing cliche and plug it in — Benghazi!!! Fast and Furious!!! Swift Boats!!! Journolist!!!!!!

    Apparently you think this makes you look smart. Go figure.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  28. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    We all know the real reason he’s Obama’s choice — Obama wants a Republican whose skirts he can hide behind, then throw under the bus if necessary. But can’t someone at least pretend there are valid reasons for Hagel’s nomination?

    Actually, the Hagel nomination is a significant break with the Israel-first, Middle East is everything foreign policy that the neo-cons have infected the country with for the past two decades or so. The Hagel pick is a signal that we are turning a significant corner away from the Bush foreign policy that President Obama has been steadily unwinding for four years now.

    Josh Marshall puts it well:

    It’s not just that we can’t continue — either in security or fiscal terms — with open-ended occupations of Middle Eastern countries or hapless efforts to ‘transform the region’. It’s that the Middle East is fundamentally more yesterday’s news than tomorrow’s and that we need to be in the business of making it more yesterday rather than less. The Persian Gulf is still the choke point for the world energy supply. Any American President and foreign policy will focus on that for the foreseeable future. But more oil is now being drilled in the United States; and the world is trying to move away from oil. So for the last decade, as the US has bled itself dry in the Near East completely different futures are being created by the so-called BRIC countries, with the US at risk of being left behind.

    The details of this alterative vision are beside the point for the purposes of this post. But it’s very different. And that’s what the Hagel fight is really about. Hagel in himself is no singular figure. But he’s part of the Scowcroft/Brezinzski et al. running critique of Bush era foreign policy. It’s not just that he didn’t vote for this or that declaration about the Iranian government or doesn’t toe the Likud line on the Israel/Palestine front. He’s one of those people who just don’t think these issues should be the be all and end all of our role in the world at all. And that’s extremely threatening to some people.

    You can pretend the president picked Hagel so he could hide behind a Republican, but that strains credulity for anyone with a brain (I’m excluding you). Obama has far more credibility on foreign policy with the public than Republicans do, and he has no need to . The benefit you identify doesn’t really exist, but then you’re probably dumb enough to think people still believe the Republicans, who buried us in an insanely costly and completely unnecessary war for the past decade and are constantly beating the drum for more wars the people do not want, are trusted on national security and foreign policy.

    There are good reasons to support Hagel, but first and foremost is he is not a neo-con and will not be led by neo-cons to support six more wars in the Middle East over the next four years. Sorry if that shatters your armchair general dreams.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  29. Tsar Nicholas says:

    There’s an amazing psychiatry at work in connection with this Hagel fiasco. It speaks volumes about the disorder known as leftism and of the peculiar demographics of Internet blogs and their commentariats.

    Hagel’s lifetime ACU rating is around 85. He voted in ’02 to go to war in Iraq. He voted to confirm Sammy (“Scalito”) Alito to the SCOTUS. He voted for a whole host of conservative bills that would cause liberal mouths to foam up. Like a lot of Midwestern WASPs he’s anti-gay. Hell, if W. Bush circa Jan. 2005 had nominated Hagel for a major cabinet position the left instantly would have gone into high dudgeon mode against the notion.

    But after it became de rigueur to bash Bush at every turn Hagel went ahead and jumped onto that bandwagon. And he’s made a number of anti-Semitic comments. And he’s gone loopy about the Middle East. And of course the left’s hero and lightbringer, Rambobama, decided to nominate him for SecDef. So now liberals on the Internet, a material percentage of whom still were in high school or college when Hagel was backing the Bush agenda, now are in high dudgeon mode in support of the man’s nomination. Without being able even to grasp the various layers of irony. Go figure.

    In any case, Hagel will be confirmed. Obviously he’s being set up as a fall guy in waiting, although that’s not at all obvious to the loopy chattering classes. Hopefully nothing goes wrong. But if something does go horribly wrong the left will have that one covered too: They’ll ignore it. Or it’ll be the GOP’s fault. Naturally.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 18

  30. mantis says:

    Here’s the link to Marshall’s piece.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  31. Socraticsilence says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    I likes 2000 McCain a bit but two things come to mind, first my retired naval aviator father (hover ranked than John) couldn’t vote for McCain because of his comments on pilots who left the military to fly commercial, secondly for all his heroism as a pow McCain never would have been in Nam but for his exploitation of familial connections.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  32. bk says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: If there was an OTB drinking game, and one of the rules was “every time Tsar says ‘loopy’ or ‘chattering classes’, take a drink”, I would be on my way to an AA meeting right about now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  33. C. Clavin says:

    “…And he’s gone loopy about the Middle East…”

    And there it is…the voice of Neo-Con dogma.
    Actually Hagel on the other hand is a voice of reason on the Middle-East…which is why I assume Obama nominated him.
    It really comes down to Neo-Con ideology versus Centrist pragmatism.
    Butters and McCain and the rest of the Neo-Cons want to abdicate foreign policy to Netanyahoo.
    When the future looks back it will see the Neo-Cons as fools…the invasion and occupation of Iraq one of the US’s biggest blunders…and their brain-child. Hagel represents that future. And so they have to try to take him down. They’ll be no more successful than Iraq was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  34. Davebo says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’d call him a shitty pilot because he was one. Not to mention a shitty student at the Academy (894th out of 895 graduates).

    The first crash took place during advanced flight training at Corpus Christi, Texas. According to McCain, the engine stalled while he was practicing landings. The plane fell into the water of the bay just off the airfield and knocked him unconscious. McCain woke up and somehow managed to get out of the cockpit and escaped serious injury. Investigators reported that they started the recovered engine without any problem, and their report left open the possibility of pilot error.

    The next accident took place in Spain while McCain was assigned to an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea. He tried to fly his propeller-driven A-1 fighter-bomber under a row of pylon-supported electric power lines. This was a “hotdogging” stunt by U.S. pilots in Europe that had caused outrage. McCain’s plane hit and damaged the lines so badly that thousands of people lost power.

    You can’t blame McGrumpy for the Forrestfire so he has that going for him I guess but by his own admission he failed to follow orders in combat.

    Tell me Jenos, why does the subject his so close to home for you? Was your Daddy and Grandapa Admirals as well? Don’t like the taste of silver?

    Hell no wonder you worshiped Dubya!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  35. David M says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    That’s pretty incoherent even for you. First the idea that Democrats would have opposed replacing Rumsfeld with Hagel in 2005 is just nonsense. Secondly, a voting record matters for the Senate, not so much as SecDef, especially as you concede Hagel likely supports Obama’s priorities there. Thirdly, Iraq and the surge were a failure, opposing them (even later than others) isn’t really a negative thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  36. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    1) Trainee has a training accident. Big surprise there.
    2) Young pilot goes hot-dogging, clips power lines, does NOT lose planes.
    3) Pilot has mechanical failure, loses engine and plane.
    4) Pilot sitting in cockpit has second plane fire a rocket into third plane, starting massive fire that destroys his plane, kills over 100, puts carrier out of action for 2 years.
    5) Pilot on bombing mission gets hit by AA, keeps plane together long enough to complete bombing run, then ejects.

    You win.
    Even then, McCain was like a senior driver in the Safeway parking lot . Best get out of grandpa’s way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  37. Septimius says:

    This is actually good politics for the GOP. In 6 months, no one is going to remember that Hagel’s nomination was help up for a week. What they will remember is that Hagel demonstrated that he is an utter buffoon at his hearing, and that Obama nominated a man who has made numerous statements that border on anti-semitism. Obama’s share of the Jewish vote was down 9 points from 2008 and was the lowest percentage for a Democrat since 1988. Nominating Hagel was a big middle finger to Israel. If the Democrats continue to display such animosity, the further loss of Jewish voters could actually make a difference in states like PA and FL.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  38. David M says:

    Anyone care to actually back up the anti-Semitic charge against Hagel with a link? Even without knowing anything about the charge, it seems to be a prime candidate for a manufactured controversy from the right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  39. Septimius says:
  40. wr says:

    @Septimius: Let me guess: You’ve never actually met a real Jewish person, have you? Your idea of what Jewish people think is that we’re all fanatically in support of the Netanyahu government and its apartheid philosophy? The people you’re talking to aren’t Jews — they’re hard core Christianists who “support” Israel because they want Jesus to return and send us all to hell, while they’re raptured up to heaven.

    So thanks for the support — but no thanks.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  41. Septimius says:

    @wr:

    Actually, no. Most people I talk to, Jews and Christians, support Israel because it is a first world democracy with Western values and a culture that promotes free markets, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. Oh, and they did this right after more than 1/3 of the worldwide Jewish population was annihilated in the Holocaust.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  42. David M says:

    @Septimius:

    And how have Obama and Hagel not supported Israel?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  43. bill says:

    they were just busting chops, they knew he’d be confirmed. funny how democrats line up to support a guy they’d normally despise due to his party affiliation, just because republicans gave him some grilling and obama picked him. oh look, shiny stuff elsewhere……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  44. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Dan: Yes, I know that Rand Paul is crazy, also. The sad part is that he comes off as one of the more sane of the GOP. Admittedly, that’s not a high bar to jump, but …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  45. legion says:

    @Septimius:

    Hagel demonstrated that he is an utter buffoon at his hearing

    You really live in a completely different world, man. The Republicans grandstanding were the ones who looked like buffoons; Hagel wasn’t even needed in the room. And just like every die-hard Republican, yuo suffer from the eternal Cult of Personality… Just because someone doesn’t support the _Israeli_ you like doesn’t mean they don’t support _Israel_. Further, _no_ ally should be supported to the detriment of US interests – especially not by a prospective (or active) SecDef.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  46. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @legion: Gee, I don’t know whether I can agree with that. In the 90s, he was a grifter who used his influence as a senator to allow an amigo from the banking industry to imbezzle convert the accounts of his depositors to investment accounts. How was his solution to the mortgage crisis–make the banks completely whole and then let them also repossess the houses different. I don’t see it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: I hate that I don’t preview. That should read “and then let them… different? I just…”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @bk: Don’t forget “irony.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. An Interested Party says:

    If the Democrats continue to display such animosity, the further loss of Jewish voters could actually make a difference in states like PA and FL.

    A Republican wet dream that never comes to fruition…keep playing Charlie Brown to Lucy and the football…

    …more than 1/3 of the worldwide Jewish population was annihilated in the Holocaust.

    This, of course, is no reason at all to support the policies of the Likud Party…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  50. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: I started to type that I can’t believe you’re so stupid as to confuse “at the same time” as “at the same age,” but then I reconsidered — you really are that stupid, aren’t you?

    And that stupidity got 10 “helpful” votes. That speaks volumes about the commentariat around here…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  51. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: Interesting piece by Marshall. And he agrees with a lot I’ve heard from Hagel critics — he’ll basically be a drone for Obama. Which reinforces what I said earlier — his main value to Obama are in his Republican credentials, not his experiences, skills, or beliefs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  52. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And he agrees with a lot I’ve heard from Hagel critics — he’ll basically be a drone for Obama.

    You mean that as a cabinet member, he will execute the policies of the president who appointed him? What a notion! Who wants that!

    Which reinforces what I said earlier — his main value to Obama are in his Republican credentials, not his experiences, skills, or beliefs.

    So you read that it is his willingness to buck to prevailing Republican positions on foreign policy that makes him an attractive pick to non neo- cons, and what you get from that is his only value is being a Republican? You’re a moron.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  53. Septimius says:

    @legion:

    “During a confirmation hearing in January, Mr. Hagel was pummeled by Republicans on the Armed Services Committee, as he delivered a performance that even the White House acknowledged was lackluster at best.

    -New York Times

    “Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel was, at turns, halting, befuddled and, often, just plain bad during his confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Defense. And it almost certainly won’t keep him from becoming the next man to lead the Pentagon.”

    -Washington Post

    “Former Sen. Chuck Hagel didn’t acquit himself well in the hearings that Senate Armed Services Committee held today on his nomination to be Secretary of Defense. He was equivocal, often unconvincing, and seemed taken aback by questions that had been swirling around the rightwing blogosphere for weeks.”

    -The New Republic

    “Some supporters have taken a different view—based on the administration’s insistence that the nomination survived—but this supporter of Chuck Hagel to be the next Defense Secretary found the confirmation hearing yesterday at the Senate Armed Services Committee to be a train wreck.

    -The Daily Beast

    Yeah, man. I guess you’re right. Hagel was a rhetorical master at his confirmation hearing. Anyone who says otherwise really is living in a different world.

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  54. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: I thought about answering your comment by noting that you yourself cited Hagel’s GOP credentials (although you referred to Scowcroft and Brzezhinski, while I’d call it Scowcroft and Baker), and how it’s basically the tired old cold-warrior crowd who sees dictators and brutal tyrants as the kind we can “do business with,” but then I got to the end and saw you weren’t interested in discussion, but just insults — a slightly more intelligent wr.

    So I won’t.

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  55. C. Clavin says:

    “…it’s basically the tired old cold-warrior crowd who sees dictators and brutal tyrants as the kind we can “do business with…”

    Again…the kind of Neo-Con ideological mindset that led us into one of the greatest blunders in US foreign policy history…versus a far more moderate pragmatism.
    I’ll take Scowcroft and Brzezhinski and Baker over McCain and Butters and Cheney and Feith and Kristol anyday. Clearly Jenos Indiana Jones wouldn’t. You decide.

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  56. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Which reinforces what I said earlier — his main value to Obama are in his Republican credentials, not his experiences, skills, or beliefs.

    I’d suggest that his Republican credentials are an important part of his value — but by no means his only value. Additionally there’s his military service — the fact he’s been there and done that. And his past experience on various Senate committees

    Without a doubt, all of those things are values because all of them will aid him in his job.

    But where your partisanship completely fails you is on the idea that Hagel’s beliefs don’t matter. You continue to mistake “agreement” on key issues for being a drone. Clearly there are a number of Democrats who don’t agree with Obama on some of these issues. So that basic level of agreement is a value Hagel brings to the table — and a critical one if he’s going to implement the plan that most people believe is on it’s way.

    And that’s what you seem to miss about Marshall’s piece. He’s specifically saying that this is about Hagel’s beliefs:

    [The opposition to Hagel] is not just that he didn’t vote for this or that declaration about the Iranian government or doesn’t toe the Likud line on the Israel/Palestine front. He’s one of those people who just don’t think these issues should be the be all and end all of our role in the world at all. And that’s extremely threatening to some people.

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  57. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Your mindset of “yes, they’re bastards, but they’re our bastards” led to waves of anti-Americanism around the world, as “our bastards” brutally repressed their own people — usually with American weapons and training. The philosophical base of the Neo-Cons was that all people want and deserve freedom, not just different ideological chains. The Old School you praise made buddies of Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Somoza and the Latin American juntas, South African apartheid, and a host of others.

    Once the Cold War went away, what little rationale for propping them up vanished. Sadly, your side still thinks those reasons are still valid.

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  58. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The philosophical base of the Neo-Cons was that all people want and deserve freedom, not just different ideological chains.

    I find it ironic, in the face of the recent thread on Communism, that you would retreat to defending Neo-Conservatism on the basis of it’s philosophical base versus what it has so far wrought.

    The fact is that while it might have a noble base, the ways it sought to achieve that goal — namely though the idea of bringing democracy to a new region of the world through acts of installing a democracy via force which would then be expected to destabilize the region and lead to the rise of other democracies — has so far been a spectacular failure.

    Further there was the Neo-Con rejection of the real-world manifestation of it’s plans — both in the post invasion Iraq and in the form of the various Green Revolutions/Arab Spring.

    If we are to judge Communism based, not on its philosophical goals, but on the actions of the USSR, China, and North Korea, why should we not judge Neo-Conservatism by what it has so far wrought in the Near East?

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  59. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @matt bernius: Maybe you’re right. Empirically speaking, maybe the Arab/Muslim world simply isn’t compatible with freedom and democracy, and they need the firm hand of tyranny. They’re the ‘every woman” from Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy.”

    Every woman adores a Fascist,
    The boot in the face, the brute
    Brute heart of a brute like you.

    After all, look at all the Arab/Muslim nations, and how many are actually functioning democracies, with their people having freedoms and rights?

    You might be right. The Arab/Muslim world simply isn’t compatible with freedom. Those people aren’t like us. They are fundamentally different, and we shouldn’t think of them as like us.

    And Israel… an actual functioning, liberal democracy, is an aberration in that region. Screw them.

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  60. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @matt bernius: Further: Communism is based on the notion that we can somehow repress essential human nature. I’ve always seen what you call “Neo-Conservatism” as a recognition of essential human nature, especially the desire for freedom.

    Communism was based on the conceit that we could actually make better human beings. The never-discussed corollary of that was that in order to have those better human beings, we’d have to get rid of the humans we have today. Those who couldn’t evolve into Communists ended up in the mass graves.

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  61. Jeremy R says:

    From the above article:

    “I got a letter back from Senator Hagel in response to my question, ‘Did you say that, and do you believe that?’ And the letter said he did not recall saying that,” Mr. Graham said. “He disavows that statement.”

    And from today:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/rutgers-professor-certain-hagel-did-not-make-adjunct-to-isra

    Rutgers Professor “Certain” Hagel Did Not Make Adjunct To Israel Comment During 2007 Visit

    “I did attend the event, and even though the event was nearly six years ago I’m certain that he did not make the remark attributed to him,” Charles Häberl told BuzzFeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  62. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I thought about answering your comment by noting that you yourself cited Hagel’s GOP credentials (although you referred to Scowcroft and Brzezhinski, while I’d call it Scowcroft and Baker), and how it’s basically the tired old cold-warrior crowd who sees dictators and brutal tyrants as the kind we can “do business with,” but then I got to the end and saw you weren’t interested in discussion, but just insults — a slightly more intelligent wr.

    Considering how often you employ insults yourself, I will take your unwillingness to support your own arguments as an admission of failure, rather than take your professed delicate sensibilities at face value.

    I’ve always seen what you call “Neo-Conservatism” as a recognition of essential human nature, especially the desire for freedom.

    It doesn’t really matter when the neo-cons only way of “promoting” freedom is to bomb the shit out of the people they claim they wish to help. Oh, sure, we spend billions and kill a lot of people and then a theocratic authoritarian government evolves in the vacuum we create, but we’re doing it for freedom so it’s awesome.

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  63. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Maybe you’re right. Empirically speaking, maybe the Arab/Muslim world simply isn’t compatible with freedom and democracy, and they need the firm hand of tyranny.

    Please point out where I made that argument. The discussion was Neo-conservatism not the near east or the near-east/arabic world’s capacity for democracy.

    And the point I was making, which you completely ignore, is that the neoconservative solution to the lack of democracy in the NE was to find the state that they felt was most conducive to democracy, invade it, and install a democracy and then expect that to (a) succeed out of the box and (b) spread democracy to all surrounding countries.

    But please, point out to me where I have ever made that type of essentializing argument — which. sounds a hell of a lot more like something you would say than something I’d ever write.

    Oh, and for the record, facts in the world disprove that basic idea that Islam/Arabs and Democracy (broadly defined) are somehow mutually exclusive. BTW, democracies exist in a number of predominantly Muslim countries. And they’ve existed in the Near East before. In fact, the US helped overthrow one.

    Don’t put words in my mouth.@Jenos Idanian #13:

    Communism is based on the notion that we can somehow repress essential human nature.

    Please explain that idea. And, btw, are you arguing that “democracy” is somehow in line with “essential human nature.” And, further, this entire line of argumentation is not the one you took on the previous thread. There your entire argument was about the results of that philosophy.

    So, in two cases you change the subject, and don’t address the points I raised — in a thoughtful and polite fashion — in the post in question. Again, further proof that when you know you lost the argument you just troll on a different line.

    And you wonder why you are not taken seriously.

    BTW, to -1’s for not being honest enough to actually address what I’ve written.

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  64. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’ve always seen what you call “Neo-Conservatism” as a recognition of essential human nature, especially the desire for freedom.

    Clearly you have never read any of the core philosophical writings on Communism as it claims that it recognizes and grows out the essential desire for freedom as well. In fact, please point out a major branch of philosophy that doesn’t make that claim.

    Those who couldn’t evolve into Communists ended up in the mass graves.

    And again you get back to the real world repercussions of things done in the name of Communism. Yet you seem to ignore any discussion of the repercussions of the things done in the name of Neo-Conservatism in the Mid East – both in Iraq and beyond.

    Yes or no: Have we left Iraq a better place than we found it? How do you reconcile the amount of sectarian violence that resulted from the Neo-Conservative’s careless destabilization of the country and the assumption that Democracy would be immediately welcome? How do you feel about the fact that the resultant Democratic government (which in many ways was a sectarian reversal of the previous government) has closer ties with Iran than ever before? How about how the destabilization of the region led to the fall of the Egyptian government among others? I mean you typically go on about the evils of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Now none of those things don’t mean that Democracies won’t continue to develop in the region. But the fact is you are defending a philosophy and practice calling to bring Democracy, from without, on the edge of a sword.

    Oh, and if you are such a defender of Neoconservative principles, please explain why you have such issues with our involvement in Libya, which fits the general Neocon model for the spread of Democracy through external intervention.

    And, btw, before you try to trap me, I am not a supporter of the Libya intervention.

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  65. Kathleen Berger says:

    Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugmanin 2009 “Tragically, modern day America is a country where ideology is triumphant over common sense; where ideologues and nihilists reign supreme deconstructing self-evident truths, negating established moral and democratic values, and fabricating their specious truths.”
    “Where a corrupted ideology reigns supreme outcomes are entirely predictable and profoundly lamentable.”

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  66. Moosebreath says:

    Even better yet, the main reason for the neo-cons to hold up Hagel nomination was a reporter’s joke meant to be over-the-top, and yet taken entirely seriously by Graham, et al.

    “It turns out that “Friends of Hamas” entered the right-wing discourse thanks to a Republican staffer on Capitol Hill who didn’t realize that a reporter was telling a joke when he asked that staffer whether Hagel had ever received backing from “Friends of Hamas” or France’s “Junior League of Hezbollah.” As New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman writes:

    The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them.
    Or so I thought.

    That was on February 6. The very next day, Breitbart.com’s story came out.”

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  67. wr says:

    @Moosebreath: And the day after that, Jenos was breathlessly repeating them.

    Stupid or evil? You choose.

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  68. Moosebreath says:

    @wr:

    I vote for both a floor wax and a dessert topping.

    Or to use a more recent cultutral marker, he’s the anti-Hannah Montana — you get the worst of both worlds.

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  69. Jeremy R says:

    @Jeremy R:

    Rutgers Professor “Certain” Hagel Did Not Make Adjunct To Israel Comment During 2007 Visit

    An update on the other main Hagel smear. This is actually pretty scandalous for the Senators who ran with this:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/02/ny-daily-news-reporters-claims-to-have-started-hagelfriends-157407.html

    A New York Daily News reporter claims to have inadvertently started a rumor about Chuck Hagel receiving money from a group called “Friends of Hamas,” explaining that it all started with a joke.

    Reporter Dan Friedman writes that he sarcastically asked a Republican congressional aide which controversial groups the nominee for Defense secretary had addressed in the past, citing the nonexistent “Friends of Hamas” as hyperbole.

    The next day, the conservative website Breitbart.com ran a story titled “Secret Hagel Donor? White House Spox Ducks Question on ‘Friends of Hamas.'”

    The upshot of this is that apparently Senate GOP aides are leaking inflammatory & insidious smears into RW media, who will publish anything, so that their bosses can later react with feigned concern to the controversy their own office created.

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  70. Jeremy R says:
  71. gus says:

    @C. Clavin: Crash McCain bounced off his head too often, he said before that’d he’d choose Hagel as his SecDef.

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  72. gus says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: McCain crashed 4 planes during training, the reason he didn’t wash out was because of Daddy and Granddaddy Admirals McCain. And honestly, getting shot down and captured is a low bar for heroism, isn’t it. i should get the Medal of Honor every time I drive somewhere without crashing.
    t

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  73. gus says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    What war were we fighting then?

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  74. matt bernius says:

    @Jeremy R:
    Dave Weigel just wrote one of the most damning attack on those attacking Hagel on the more sensation counts:

    There’s a larger, more boring problem with a lot of anti-Hagelverse stories. They are deductive. They assume an accusation—that Hagel might have called the State Department an “adjunct” to Israel’s foreign ministry, because one person at a 2007 Hagel speech remembers that—is true, and demand that Hagel prove the rumor false. Instead of determining whether “Friends of Hamas” exists, something pretty darn easy to do holistically, Shapiro called the White House and asked whether the rumor was true. The White House didn’t respond. He ran with the story, which he now calls (clip and save this phrase) “accurate and clearly caveated.” As if adding a caveat—an acknowledgement that a story might have holes—is as good as reporting out the damn story. Sometimes, when you report it out, it falls apart.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/02/20/_friends_of_hamas_revisited.html#article_comment_box

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