Just CONFIRM the president’s nominee, for heaven’s sake

14 Feb

ImageSince the president nominated Chuck Hagel to be our next Secretary of Defense, Hagel’s fellow Republicans have been in a  monumental snit about it. Enough already! The Senate should go ahead and just confirm him for these reasons:

1. Chuck Hagel is a patriot who loves his country deeply — deeply enough to criticize and try to change it when he believes it’s off track. I spent many hours with him when I wrote his biography, and I am convinced that one of the things that makes him most appealing to many is that very fact: He says what he thinks even when it’s not popular. That also makes him most UNappealing to his fellow Republicans who have mostly become lockstep idealogues with little tolerance for those who won’t take every step with them.

2. While Hagel is a man of principle, he is willing to change the way he applies those principles as circumstances change. To apply EXACTLY what he believed about foreign policy and defense when he was elected to the Senate in 1996 to the world of 2013 would strike him as foolish. And he’d be right about that. We need someone who sees the world as it is, not as it used to be or as he wishes it would be.

3. Much of the opposition to Hagel is simply opposition to President Obama. The most obvious manifestation of that is Sen. Lindsey Graham’s threat to filibuster Hagel’s confirmation unless the Senate hears more from the Administration about what happened in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya in 2012. It’s pure political maneuvering that has little to do with Chuck Hagel. Whi

4. A president of either party should be able to choose his Cabinet members. Period. The only reasons the Senate should block a nomination is if the nominee is demonstrably incompetent or corrupt. Chuck Hagel is neither of those.

From all I know of Sen. Hagel, he would be a fine Secretary of Defense, reporting to the president exactly what he thinks, not just what he thinks the president would want him to say. He is smart, he is global and we can trust him.

Too bad the Senate is so tied in political knots that logical, appropriate procedure is being threatened with extinction.


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