One person broke into a cold sweat yesterday during Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing for secretary of Defense — Chuck Schumer.
At least he should have.
As will be recalled, the New York senator performed a “rabbinic” function for American Jews a couple of weeks ago by privately questioning Hagel about some possibly anti-Semitic statements made by the former Nebraska senator re: “the Jewish lobby,” etc. He also queried Hagel about the nominee’s controversial views on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Schumer then pronounced Hagel “kosher” and proceeded to his desired reward, a grand televised appearance at Obama’s right hand at the president’s second inaugural.
But forget the anti-Semitism and Iran for the moment. What we learned on Thursday is that Chuck Hagel is less qualified to be secretary of Defense than most of the students in my daughter’s high school history honors class.
Not to mince words, the former Nebraska senator is an uninformed nitwit. He’s confused about practically every issue and doesn’t even know what the administration’s policies are. (Didn’t he study for the hearing? If he did, it’s even worse.) They had to send him a note in the middle of the proceedings to remind him of the administration’s position on Iran and “containment” and even then Hagel got it wrong. Carl Levin had to explain it to him.
I have never seen a nomination hearing so humiliating. (I see why people like Hagel though. He’s kind of an affable dope. But a secretary of Defense? Better for bartender at the golf club.)
So what did Hagel tell Schumer in their private confab that so reassured New York Chuck? Perhaps Schumer will tell us now, but I doubt it. The real villains here are Schumer and, of course, Obama.
Why in the world would the president nominate such a person for such an important position? Well, I think we know — he wanted a Republican ally in gutting the Pentagon, a lackey who would give him cover for his most extreme policies. But why would Schumer betray his own co-religionists AND the country in going along with that sleazy and destructive enterprise?
You would think with the “Arab Spring” turning into an unremitting display of psychotic religious fascism and fanaticism, chemical weapons ping-ponging between Syria and Hezbollah, Egypt imploding, Iran on the brink, etc., Schumer would take his role more seriously. Evidently not. His ambition has trumped all. He, with Obama’s other “good Jews” (Lew, Emanuel, Axelrod, etc.), plays along to get along, in almost any situation.
But are they, as some suggested in the comments to my January 22 column, the equivalent of the “kapos” and “sonderkommandos” of World War II, Jews who worked for the Nazis? Of course not. Not even close. But they are extremely weak men whose ambition makes them blind to what is in plain sight and not willing to risk anything to jeopardize their position, the very essence of corruption.
Chuck Schumer’s ringing endorsement of Chuck Hagel now seems like one mammoth embarrassment. If Schumer were a man of substance or even relative decency, he would now apologize or at least distance himself in some way. This is not even a matter of political ideology at this point. It is an matter of basic honesty. Hagel is quite simply not qualified for one of the most crucial positions in our country on any level. Will Schumer admit it? If not — liberal, conservative or Zen Buddhist — he is a contemptible hack.
And what about Dershowitz? How will he react to this farce?
UPDATE: The first version of this column contained a reference to former NYC Mayor Ed Koch along with Dershowitz. Ironically and sadly, Koch died after I had written this article in Los Angeles Thursday evening and gone to sleep. Rest in peace.