January 4, 2013

PAUL MIRENGOFF: Chuck Hagel’s nomination and the clarity it would bring. “Hagel has no natural constituency, except perhaps for those who want a foreign and defense policy that is tougher on Israel and softer on Iran. Unfortunately, as I have observed, Obama belongs to that constituency. . . . Nothing else can explain this odd nomination. Team Obama tried to couch it as a bipartisan act, inasmuch as Hagel was a Republican Senator. But key Republican Senators have made it clear that they don’t want Hagel at the Pentagon. Key Democrats have also failed to express enthusiasm over that prospect. Even Barney Frank opposes Hagel. If there’s a bipartisan consensus around Hagel, it’s that Obama should nominate someone else. Under these circumstances, nominating Hagel would make sense only if he brought something special to the table. And he does — his animus towards Israel and his desire to appease Iran, views that fall well outside the foreign policy and defense mainstream from which Defense Secretaries normally are selected.”