Little Republican support for Hagel for Defense post-senator

WASHINGTON Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:32am EST

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WASHINGTON Dec 30 (Reuters) - Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday there was very little support among Republicans for Chuck Hagel as defense secretary if President Barack Obama decides to nominate him.

"If he sends Chuck Hagel up, it will be a confirmation hearing of consequence," Graham said on Fox News Sunday. "There would be very little Republican suppport for his nomination, at the end of the day, there will be very few votes."

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President Obama would like to appoint his friend Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

But the President has many friends who like Barney Frank strongly object to Hagel’s appointment.

I hope the President will not risk the political cost of loosing the confirmation battle on this terrible choice.

For gay people the issue goes beyond the nasty and bigoted remarks he has made. Hagel’s entire record is a nasty and bigoted one. That is why he got a 100% rating from the NRA and an 11% rating from the NAACP.

Hagel’s bigotry is not reformed enough as President Obama believes. As Barney Frank and Ambassador Hormel have pointed out, he never said one positive word before this job was at stake.

Even now, he has not said one word to advocate for the equality of gay military families.

Tthere are many ways a Secretary of Defense could help gay military families no matter how DOMA is decided and Hagel has not come out in favor of any of these.

Reports to the contrary, LGBT equality is not yet a done deal in the military. There is still the matter of partner benefits. There still remain a handful of regulations that could be revised independent of the Defense of Marriage act that could bring some equity of compensation and benefits to gay and lesbian servicemembers. but remain denied due only to Department of Defense foot-dragging:

Included in the discretionary benefits currently denied are spousal identication cards, cited in the Pentagon’s own Working Group study as not requiring DOMA repeal to deliver.

Other friends of President Obama that strongly object to Hagel are friends of Israel.

These are not demonic, crazed, neo-con lunatics of the Likud variety they are the people who voted overwhelmingly for the President. People like Barney Frank, Ed Koch, Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer, Carl Levin and Alan Dershowitz.

They voted for President Obama in part because he said he has Israel’s back and that America would never allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapons program. These people are afraid Iran would murder millions of Israeli civilians if they had the bomb.

Many of the people who back Hagel also believe Israel should withdraw from all the territories obtained in 1967, just like Israel was forced to do in 1957 without adequate security guarantees or secure and recognized borders. That certainly is the view of Pat Buchanan.

Other voices such as J-Street and Thomas Friedman believe that Hagel should be nominated to send a message to Netanyahu that he will be punished for his policies.

But most pro-Israel voters for the President were not told and would not have approved punishing Israel even if they strongly disagree with the Likud policies, especially not with an Iranian nuclear bomb that would kill everone in Israel and Palestine.

I don’t know if this could change policies in Jerusalem. But I strongly expect it would change policies in Teheran. How would negotiations improve if Teheran believes American’s true policy is Hagel’s policy of allowing Iran to have it’s nuclear weapons program even ICBM’s pointing at the US.

This brings me to the Presidents other friends the many voters for whom Israel and gay rights were not the main issues at all.

The Pentagon is the biggest slice of the budget pie and Americans deserve someone who can
manage it well.

Michelle Flournoy, as we can read in today’s Wall Street Journal, has done an outstanding job, she is an excellent manager.

The President has observed that Chuck Hagel has done an outstanding job as an advisor.
But that is not a managerial post.

I have read that Hagel was a terrible manager. People did not want to work for him. He was rude and arrogant to his staff.

This is also his reputation from his constituents and from people who have worked with him in the Senate. As one Democratic Senator that backs Hagel said “He doesn’t mind stepping on other people’s toes.”

The Democratic base should get a real Democrat like Michelle Flournoy instead of a Republican that Republicans consider a pariah, not only a RINO.

They should not get someone who considers Strom Thurmond to be an ideal role model.

Jan 01, 2013 1:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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