Hagel as SecDef or Ambassador to the UN

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steve clemons and chuck hagel.jpg
Chuck Hagel is standing down, something this blog highlighted a few days ago.
I think that as things look at the moment, the next president is likely to be a Democrat — but the country still will be deeply divided. Building reasonable, pragmatic Republicans into the next leadership team is going to be important, and John Edwards has hinted that he’s already making such plans.
The next President should consider Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Alternatively — and only secondly — he would be a capable and credible roving emissary in the Middle East or envoy to the United Nations. His “no false choices in the Middle East” speech still stands out as one of the very best I have heard.
But Defense is what he should be asked to do.
I had occasion to chat one on one with former Senator and New School President Bob Kerrey yesterday, and he gave me no indication one way or another that he was going to run for Hagel’s Nebraska senate seat — but he did tell me to stay tuned next Saturday.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

46 comments on “Hagel as SecDef or Ambassador to the UN

  1. Kathleen says:

    POA.., we do not have a representative gov’t… we have a Pavlocracy, with everyone salivating on cue and after sufficient conditioning, pressing the right lever, the one who talks the toughest about the big bad boogey man, as packaged by Madison Avenue.
    Pathetic.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA: I am actually one to follow laws very closely, dotting all i’s and crossing all t’s. I like to get along with others. Nonetheless, I realize our system of laws are superimposed upon a natural order which was not written by the hand of man. Some of our man-made laws attempt to be in congruence with such; however, natural law ALWAYS trumps … blahblahblah…”
    Save this horseshit for someone thats impressed by it, will ya?
    I expect our Representatives to be held accountable to the law. PERIOD. If they are not held to that standard, then we do not have a Representative government, or a Democracy.

    Reply

  3. Chris says:

    What Susan and Donna Z said above, re: this argument: “Building reasonable, pragmatic Republicans into the next leadership team is going to be important”
    Steve, with all due respect, the *PLACE* to “build” “reasonable, pragmatic Republicans into” is the *REPUBLICAN* *PARTY* and *ITS* *LEADERSHIP*, which is woefully bereft of such people, as *YOU’VE* been lamenting for the last six years.
    Also, any Democratic president who promptly cedes Defense — of all the plums of the cabinet — to a *REPUBLICAN* might as well get “KICK ME!” tattooed on his or her back and walk around the city topless. There is a *reason* some people see Democrats as “weak” on defense/national security issues, and the mentality, “Let’s let Republicans dictate national security policy,” to which you admit you subscribe, by trying to offer Defense to a *CONSERVATIVE* *REPUBLICAN* (because he’s only an enabler, and not *actually* and *actively* insane) as a means of appeasing the rabid whackos of the right, does not help.
    The rest of the country thinks it’s okay for Democrats to have more power. What’s your problem with that idea?

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  4. FaceOnMars says:

    POA: I am actually one to follow laws very closely, dotting all i’s and crossing all t’s. I like to get along with others. Nonetheless, I realize our system of laws are superimposed upon a natural order which was not written by the hand of man. Some of our man-made laws attempt to be in congruence with such; however, natural law ALWAYS trumps … everything else is just a “story” & I have just read a story of one pissed off American’s idealism re: the way things ought to be.
    Apathy is one thing and realism is another. When you travel on the highway, I take it you’re in constant communication with highway patrol; reporting all the invariable infractions you witness — less you’re complacent and part of the problem?!? I can go on and on, but I’m not seeking to agitate for the sake of stirring the pot, rather point out how we all pick and choose our battles … which is precisely my point.
    I’m a rule follower by nature, but I also recognize that large herds are difficult to navigate without SOME trampling. This is natural law, and believe it or not: we are animals.

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA: constructionism vs. deconstruction … which side of this aisle to you fall on? Even if every bit of info you’ve raised is 100% true, do you really believe the majority of democrats don’t have some dirt on their hands? I’m certainly not advocating a blatant disregard for rules and fairplay; however, it seems that to get to the level of U.S. Senator, one’s hands would have to have been in the “cookie jar” at some point in time … it’s kind of the nature of the beast sort of thing. Michael Jordan was notorious for small infractions (when the refs weren’t looking) to exploit a defender’s commitmants.”
    Stealing an election, or criminally failing to disclose your financial interests in the company that manufactured the machines the election was stolen on is hardly trivial shenaganism. To be honest, your fuckin’ “What the hell, everyone does it” attitude sucks, and is as big a problem as the corruption is. What incentive do our politicians have to be honest if the general citizenry has the attitude you exhibit? I understand apathy and disengagement from an uninformed citizenry that doesn’t realize the depth of the corruption that has infected Washington, but your presence on this blog would seem to indicate an interest that states that you are not uniformed.
    So, if you are aware, than your attitude makes you complicit. As such, I don’t think very highly of you. Sorry, but thats the way it is. Either we clean this God damned cesspool in Washington up, or our Republic is lost. I have to live by the rule of law, so so should these elitist assholes in Washington. And if you don’t demand as much, than you deserve these posturing crooks. But those of us that care, the true patriots, don’t. So wise up, or just admit you have no backbone, and don’t expect your “Representatives” to.

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  6. Kathleen says:

    Anyone feel a draft?
    With more Indys than Demz or Repugs, we could have a three-way or four-way this time.
    A major shake up could be just what the doctor ordered.
    What was the point of Bloomberg subtracting himself from the Repugs, if there wasn’t a plan? Something’s afoot.

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  7. FaceOnMars says:

    POA: constructionism vs. deconstruction … which side of this aisle to you fall on? Even if every bit of info you’ve raised is 100% true, do you really believe the majority of democrats don’t have some dirt on their hands? I’m certainly not advocating a blatant disregard for rules and fairplay; however, it seems that to get to the level of U.S. Senator, one’s hands would have to have been in the “cookie jar” at some point in time … it’s kind of the nature of the beast sort of thing. Michael Jordan was notorious for small infractions (when the refs weren’t looking) to exploit a defender’s commitmants.
    More to my point: surely you don’t believe Senator Hagel is not the wicked witch of the west of the GOP? At least 25-51% of the U.S. population is willing to embrace conservatism to a certain extent. Why not work to rebuild a real political conversation vs. pecking away at the house of cards it takes for almost all politicians to be where they are?

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  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If Hagel is looking for a constructive role to play over the next few years, I would suggest that he form a national political action coalition to take Republican party foreign policy back from the neoconservativism and religious right wingnuttery to which it has succumbed.”
    Actually, a far more constructive role would be as a snitch, coming forward and confessing to his role in the theft of elections through the use of computerized voting machinery, and fingering his co-conspirators.

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  9. Dan Kervick says:

    Democrats have struggled for years to reverse the the widespread perception that it is only the Republican Party that is smart and strong on defense – that the Republicans are the steely-eyed daddy party, with the perspicacity to see what must be done and the will to do it, and the Democrats the soft-hearted and soft-headed mommy party. All indications are that Democrats have at long last been somewhat successful in this effort, and that the public’s longstanding association of the Republican party with tough and intelligent defense is crumbling.
    So why would the Democrats themselves seek to reverse these gains, and perpetuate the notion that when it comes to national defense, one needs to look to Republicans to provide the right stuff? Cohen under Clinton, followed up with Hagel under the next Democrat? What a terrible message. There is plenty of Democratic talent to draw from in staffing the defense department.
    If Hagel is looking for a constructive role to play over the next few years, I would suggest that he form a national political action coalition to take Republican party foreign policy back from the neoconservativism and religious right wingnuttery to which it has succumbed. He won’t be able to play that role if he joins a Democratic administration. That will only taint him in his own party’s eyes as a sort of Republican Lieberman – a turncoat who is in the wrong party.

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  10. FaceOnMars says:

    Joe K: I did not purport the “olive branch” always be offered by dems to repubs. I was merely commenting on possibly tempering partisanship if the democrats happen to win the WH in order to bring more substance back into the poltical dialogue. I’m just observing that a major swing of the political pendulum with respect to the white house might present itself as an opportunity for a reconciliation of sorts vs. escalation of bickering. You’ve got to start somewhere. Maybe the democrats will be lucky enough to be in such a position.

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  11. Homer says:

    DonnaZ: equal to the republicans when it comes to national security issues.
    Equal?
    From January 20, 2001 it was George W. Bush’s “most solemn duty” to protect the USA from attack. (We know he knew this since he said it so many times prior to the stealing of his second term as a selling point).
    Judging by the nearly three thousand murders and the billions of dollars in damage that were incurred on 9/11 and after, I think it is perfectly clear the GOP and its leader fuc*ed up real bad and that George W. Bush’s did not do his highly touted “most solemn duty”.
    Then (!), in response to these horrific attacks George W. Bush, the GOP, AND the majority of Democrats **inadvertently** fathered a burgeoning pro-Iranian Shiite fundamentalist republic in Iraq (which the US will probably have to fight once the US taxpayer has paid for the arming and training of its armed forces) at the cost of oceans of blood and treasure.
    All politicians that enabled Bush should be voted out of office ASAP.

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  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The last thing any new Democratic president should do is give SoD to a Republican.”
    Its a comedy, almost, when one considers the irony of a 2008 Dem victory. The irony? That it could be to the Republican’s favor. The fact is, it is obvious that Bush is going to foist this fuckin’ mess in Iraq off on the Dems. In addition, it appears likely that our economy is going to tank during the next Administration’s tenure. The Dems, of course, will be blamed if the violence and destabilization escalates beyond Iraq’s borders, as it likely will. They will also be blamed for the collapse of our economy, which appears inevitable. We may see the extinction of the Democratic party, ironically because of the results of Bush’s policies. Bush has set in motion a number of disasters that seem unavoidable. And the piece of shit is going to walk, and shove this mess off on the Dems, thanks to the cowardice of our so called “representatives”, both right and left, like this asshole Hagel, or Clinton, or Reid, or Warner, or Specter, or etc ad nauseum. Fuck these people, they sold us out.
    2012 may well see the end of the two party system.

    Reply

  13. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    FaceOnMars:
    Why is it always the Democrats that have to offer an olive branch to the Republicans? Why can’t the Republicans be the one that has to offer the branch?

    Reply

  14. JonU says:

    The last thing any new Democratic president should do is give SoD to a Republican.
    Hagel should of stood up when it mattered. There’s no reason to reward him for meekly enabling the neocon agenda. He only spoke out when it was obvious the whole house of cards was collapsing.
    I agree that a Dem president should put some Republicans in his/her cabinet, and in the diplomatic corps. Though thbe point of such a thing will be largely lost upon the conservative true-believers. But giving SoD to a Republican only reinforces the conservative created myth that they are somehow better equipped to manage our military and security (all evidence to the contrary of course, but when has the conservative base ever let evidence get in the way of blind faith).
    Make him an undersecretary or roving diplomat or something. Give him Wolfowitz’s old job. If he really wants to contribute, let him. But the top spot absolutly must go to a Dem to force the point across that a moderate is easily as capable, and perhaps categorically better-suited, to safeguard our country.
    After the past 7 years of disasterous neocon rule, that point is vital to showcase.
    Ideally someone from outside the foreign policy think-tanks of the beltway-insider cliques.

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    In the following, it is pointed out how ignorant it is to trust someone whose past has proven them to be untrustworthy. In the following case, the point is made about Petraeus. But, considering Hagel’s ES&S history, the same point could be made about him.
    http://tinyurl.com/2nxzbo
    13 May 2003
    U.S. Troops Find Second Biological Weapons Trailer Near Mosul
    (Defense Department Report) (520)
    Washington — Troops from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division – –
    stationed in northern Iraq and headquartered in Mosul — have found
    what military authorities believe may be a second mobile biological
    weapons laboratory, says the division commander.
    “The suspected mobile biological agent production lab found on 9 May
    in our area was found by one of our infantry units during operations
    at the al-Kindi Rocket and Missile Research and Development Center,”
    Major General David Petraeus said May 13 during a briefing from Mosul.
    “Our own chemical section looked at the trailer and confirmed it as a
    trailer that was very close to identical to the first trailer that was
    found by Special Forces southeast of here last week.”
    Petraeus said he spoke with experts May 13, and they have a
    “reasonable degree of certainty that this is in fact a mobile
    biological agent production trailer.”
    ========================================
    Of course those biological weapons labs Petraeus claims to have found were not biological weapons labs at all, and it appears that he probably knew that was the case before he went to the media to announce the “find”.
    On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile “biological laboratories.” He declared, “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.”
    The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
    A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq — not made public until now — had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president’s statement.
    snip
    Spokesmen for the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency declined to comment on the specific findings of the technical report because it remains classified. A spokesman for the DIA asserted that the team’s findings were neither ignored nor suppressed, but were incorporated in the work of the Iraqi Survey Group, which led the official search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The survey group’s final report in September 2004 — 15 months after the technical report was written — said the trailers were “impractical” for biological weapons production and were “almost certainly intended” for manufacturing hydrogen for weather balloons.
    And so now the man who told us that a weather balloon station was actually a biological weapons lab is supposed to be our “credible source” that is going to tell us whether or not the “surge” is working.
    For the media to present this guy as having even an ounce of credibility is shameful. Petraeus is a liar. Period. There is no reason for people to be anticipating his report, because we already know what his report is going to say. There is a reason Bush choose Petraeus for this job, and if you think Bush chose Petraeus for his objectivity then you don’t know who Bush is. Petraeus was chosen for this job because he is more than willing to lie to the public and present the case Bush wants him to present.
    We can not fall for the lies that are going to be fed to us over the next week, it is our duty to call Petraeus on his bullshit and I expect our Democrats to question him very vigorously when he testifies. If Petraeus is not forced to explain why he told the media that biological weapons labs were found in Iraq then our Congress is not doing it’s job. The man is a liar, and they can not allow a liar to be taken seriously.
    The occupation of Iraq needs to end, and people like Petraeus and Bush need to be sent to the Hague for their war crimes trials. They sure as hell should not be treated as credible sources, and it is time we call the media on their bullshit.

    Reply

  16. karenk says:

    Robert Morrow commented “How about Ron Paul for President?”
    He certainly has a huge internet following among the younger generation of new voters. I really like what he has to say. He speaks to the average American who pays far too much in taxes for what they get in return from the govt. He has too much common sense, and isn’t dirty enough or slick enough and unfortunately he has no shot at winning cause he has no big $$ backer$. It sucks to admit that bin Laden is right-this is a country whose politicians are bought and paid for by the rich corporations/special interests. When I retire, it won’t be in this country…we treat the old like we treat the poor and the sick-badly.

    Reply

  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Lee Mortimer…
    So, another person that thinks Hagel’s past history with ES&S, and his criminal failure to disclose his holdings should be ignored.
    What the hell, they’re all crooks anyway, right?

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  18. Lee Mortimer says:

    Donna Z: It’s not that Democrats aren’t capable of handling foreign affairs. Hagel as SecState would represent a long overdue departure from both Democrat and Republican foreign policy–which can be summed up as (re)making the Middle East safe for Israel. The problem, again, is that a Democratic administration wouldn’t let Hagel pursue a new ME vision because AIPAC would block the way.
    JKConscience: Hagel never seriously believed he could turn the GOP away from being pro-war. An independent candidacy always was his only option, and he has said he’s interested in it. I’ll be encouraged if on Monday he does not slam the door shut. Things will come together for an independent campaign early next year after the Dems and Reps have settled on their nominees, and the country asks: Are these our only choices? If interest and support are there (and I believe they are), the money will follow.
    Renee: You had a most insightful comment in the previous Hagel posting that as a conservative Republican from Nebraska, Hagel can’t be expected to suddenly start voting like Russ Feingold.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, ignoring past events don’t make them dissappear.

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  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    There are many that believe Hagel’s victory in the Senate was due to the corrupt tabulation of the ballot through the ES&S voting machines. Hagel’s victory for his Senate seat was a major upset in 196, winning blocs, such as the black vote that had never before voted Republican. There are those that postulate that Hagel’s apparent theft of the 1996 election was a test run for the Bush theft of the 2000 Presidential election.
    Following is an excerpt from one such website that offers such a scenario. It is no suprise that Steve refuses to address this side of Hagel’s past, because there are some very real and pressing questions about Hagel’s ES&S ties, and how he managed to avoid answering those questions….
    http://tinyurl.com/mfepk
    An Excerpt…
    And now, as promised, the dope on Hagel. Hartmann draws on research from The Hill (www.thehill.com/news/012903/hagel.aspx) to confirm that former conservative radio talk-show host, Senator Chuck Hagel was the head of, and continues to own part interest in, the company that owns the company that installed, programmed, and largely ran the voting machines that were used by most of the citizens of Nebraska. “Back when Hagel first ran there for the U.S. Senate in 1996, his company’s computer-controlled voting machines showed he’d won stunning upsets in both the primaries and the general election. The Washington Post (1/13/1997) said Hagel’s ‘Senate victory against an incumbent Democratic governor was the major Republican upset in the November election.’
    According to Bev Harris of http://www.blackboxvoting.org, Hagel won virtually every demographic group, including many largely Black communities that had never before voted Republican. Hagel was the first Republican in 24 years to win a Senate seat in Nebraska. Six years later Hagel ran again, this time against Democrat Charlie Matulka in 2002, and won in a landslide. As his hagel.senate.gov website says, Hagel ‘was re-elected to his second term in the United States Senate on November 5, 2002 with 83% of the vote. That represents the biggest political victory in the history of Nebraska.’
    What Hagel’s website fails to disclose is that about 80 percent of those votes were counted by computer-controlled voting machines put in place by the company affiliated with Hagel. Built by that company. Programmed by that company.
    ‘This is a big story, bigger than Watergate ever was,’ said Hagel’s Democratic opponent in the 2002 Senate race, Charlie Matulka (www.lancastercountydemocrats.org/matulka.htm). ‘They say Hagel shocked the world, but he didn’t shock me.’ Is Matulka the sore loser the Hagel campaign paints him as, or is he democracy’s proverbial canary in the mineshaft?
    ‘The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected,’ wrote Thomas Paine over 200 years ago. ‘To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery…’
    That slavery, according to Hagel’s last opponent Charlie Matulka, is at our doorstep.
    ‘They can take over our country without firing a shot,’ Matulka said, ‘just by taking over our election systems.’
    Taking over our election systems? Is that really possible in the USA?
    Bev Harris of http://www.talion.com and http://www.blackboxvoting.org has looked into the situation in depth and thinks Matulka may be on to something. The company tied to Hagel even threatened her with legal action when she went public about his company having built the machines that counted his landslide votes. (Her response was to put the law firm’s threat letter on her website and send a press release to 4000 editors, inviting them to check it out.
    ‘I suspect they’re getting ready to do this all across all the states,’ Matulka said in a January 30, 2003 interview. ‘God help us if Bush gets his touch screens all across the country,’ he added, ‘because they leave no paper trail. These corporations are taking over America, and they just about have control of our voting machines.’
    In the meantime, exit-polling organizations have quietly gone out of business, and the news arms of the huge multinational corporations that own our networks are suggesting the days of exit polls are over. Virtually none were reported in 2002, creating an odd and unsettling silence that caused unease for the many American voters who had come to view exit polls as proof of the integrity of their election systems.
    As all this comes to light, many citizens and even a few politicians are wondering if it’s a good idea for corporations to be so involved in the guts of our voting systems. The whole idea of a democratic republic was to create a common institution (the government itself) owned by its citizens, answerable to its citizens, and authorized to exist and continue existing solely ‘by the consent of the governed.’
    Prior to 1886 – when, law schools incorrectly tell law students, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations are ‘persons’ with equal protection and other ‘human rights’ – it was illegal in most states for corporations to involve themselves in politics at all, much less to service the core mechanism of politics. And during the era of Teddy Roosevelt, who said, ‘There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains,’ numerous additional laws were passed to restrain corporations from involvement in politics.
    Wisconsin, for example, had a law that explicitly stated:
    ‘No corporation doing business in this state shall pay or contribute, or offer consent or agree to pay or contribute, directly or indirectly, any money, property, free service of its officers or employees or thing of value to any political party, organization, committee or individual for any political purpose whatsoever, or for the purpose of influencing legislation of any kind, or to promote or defeat the candidacy of any person for nomination, appointment or election to any political office.’
    The penalty for violating that law was dissolution of the corporation, and ‘any officer, employee, agent or attorney or other representative of any corporation, acting for and in behalf of such corporation’ would be subject to ‘imprisonment in the state prison for a period of not less than one nor more than five years’ and a substantial fine.
    However, the recent political trend has moved us in the opposite direction, with governments answerable to ‘We, The People’ turning over administration of our commons to corporations answerable only to CEOs, boards, and stockholders. The result is the enrichment of corporations and the appearance that democracy in America has started to resemble its parody in banana republics.
    But if America still is a democratic republic, then We, The People still own our government. And the way our ownership and management of our common government (and its assets) is asserted is through the vote.
    On most levels, privatization is only a ‘small sin’ against democracy. Turning a nation’s or community’s water, septic, roadway, prisons, airwaves, or health care commons over to private corporations has so far demonstrably degraded the quality of life for average citizens and enriched a few of the most powerful campaign contributors. But it hasn’t been the end of democracy (although some wonder about what the FCC is preparing to do – but that’s a separate story).
    Many citizens believe, however, that turning the programming and maintenance of voting over to private, for-profit corporations, answerable only to their owners, officers, and stockholders, puts democracy itself at peril.
    And, argues Charlie Matulka, for a former officer of one of those corporations to then place himself into an election without disclosing such an apparent conflict of interest is to create a parody of democracy.
    Perhaps Matulka’s been reading too many conspiracy theory tracts. Or maybe he’s on to something. We won’t know until a truly independent government agency looks into the matter.
    When Bev Harris and The Hill’s Alexander Bolton pressed the Chief Counsel and Director of the Senate Ethics Committee, the man responsible for ensuring that FEC disclosures are complete, asking him why he’d not questioned Hagel’s 1995, 1996, and 2001 failures to disclose the details of his ownership in the company that owned the voting machine company when he ran for the Senate, the Director reportedly met with Hagel’s office on Friday, January 25, 2003 and Monday, January 27, 2003. After the second meeting, on the afternoon of January 27th, the Director of the Senate Ethics Committee resigned his job.
    Meanwhile, back in Nebraska, Charlie Matulka had requested a hand count of the vote in the election he lost to Hagel. He just learned his request was denied because, he said, Nebraska has a just-passed law that prohibits government-employee election workers from looking at the ballots, even in a recount. The only machines permitted to count votes in Nebraska, he said, are those made and programmed by the corporation formerly run by Hagel.
    Matulka shared his news with me, then sighed loud and long on the phone, as if he were watching his children’s future evaporate.
    ‘If you want to win the election,’ he finally said, ‘just control the machines.'”

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  21. FaceOnMars says:

    Steve, I like your general notion of finding a place for Hagel within a potentially democratic presidential administration. While I consider myself to be independent, I can understand many a democrat who fiercely oppose anything GOP; however, I believe such knee jerk reactions are a direct result of the neo-con infestation of the Republican party in so far as devisive policies and directives put forth under the GOP mantra. Many dems nor republicans don’t really want to see this … but the fact remains that the GOP was hi-jacked. We’re caught in a really vicious circle of partisanship … which can’t seem to escape the bounds of rhetorical discourse. Inclusion may be the road to recovery.

    Reply

  22. susan says:

    Glenn Greenwald recently wrote a piece that challenged the myth of the moderate or independent Republican: the very people Beltway insiders (which, in my opinion, includes Steve) love to champion. What Greenwald had to say was relevant to our conversation on this thread. It is too long to post in full, but here is a bit of it. http://tinyurl.com/yh6vdc
    “When I first began blogging, I believed — and frequently argued — that the best strategy for imposing real limits on the excesses of the Bush administration was to attract the support of the group of GOP Senators who did not appear to subscribe to the most extreme elements of the Bush agenda. I was operating on the assumption that certain excesses would be so intolerable and repugnant to their worldview that they would be virtually compelled, by their own consciences and sense of personal dignity if nothing else, to take a real stand, partisan allegiances notwithstanding. From Iraq to torture to warrantless eavesdropping and many things in between, it has been conclusively established that those assumptions were fundamentally false…”
    (Greenwald uses the vote to suspend habeas corpus as an example. Arlen Specter, a sponsor of two amendments giving detainees a right to challenge their detention or treatment in federal court, had decided to bring the more extreme amendment to a vote.)
    “…The Post article reports that — unlike the “extreme” Specter amendment — the more “mild” version had the support of a majority of Senators. For that reason, Specter “was pressured into discarding [the] less extreme and more politically palatable amendment at the Bush administration’s request, in favor of [the more extreme] alternative more likely to be defeated.” The Post article suggests that Specter introduced a habeas amendment, which he knew would fail, while refusing to introduce his habeas amendment, which would have passed. …”
    “The Post has sources which claim that Hagel, Snowe and Collins would all have voted in favor of Specter’s more mild habeas corpus amendment had it been introduced, and that would have enabled the amendment to pass. The Post article expressly claims that “a Republican aide directly familiar with Hagel’s position confirmed that the senator supported the less extreme alternative.” But Specter told the Post that he called Hagel after speaking with Smith about the article and Hagel denied (to Specter) that he would have supported the “mild” amendment. Meanwhile, Hagel’s spokesman just refuses to say how Hagel would have voted, and Snowe and Collins also both refuse to say what their position is on this most critical issue.
    Whether we vest in the President the power to detain people forever without any right to challenge their detention is one of the most profound political questions of this decade, at least. It defines who we are as a country and has unparalleled significance in terms of how we are perceived around the world. Whether we will put people in a black hole forever and deny them any ability to prove their innocence — as our Congress just empowered the President to do — implicates the most fundamental principles of what kind of country and government we have….”
    Chuck Hagel, that exemplar of independence and moderation voted to suspend the Great Writ of habeas corpus and made it possible for the world to compare us to the Nazis is now Steve’s choice for our next SecDef. How sad…how scary.

    Reply

  23. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    Lee Mortimer:
    If Hagel doesn’t run as a Republican, he isn’t gonna run. Where would he get the money from? That’s why a Bloomberg run appeals to some people. Bloomberg is at least palatable to some Democrats. Hagel’s voting record is far right.

    Reply

  24. Donna Z says:

    No. No. No.
    A million times No.
    To agree to any of these suggests would be believe that there are no Democrats equal to the republicans when it comes to national security issues. I don’t buy that, nor do I want to see that false choice promoted.
    Are we to once again turn over the Pentagon to a republican partisan? Do we really need another Bill Cohen to go on TV and mouth republican talking points? I think not.
    There are Democrats equal to and better able to handle our foreign affairs.
    Hagel has been better than the rest of his party in understanding the world, but he has not acted on his ideas. Words are cheap; everybody has them.
    FWIW: Cohen’s performance during Kosova was less than stellar.

    Reply

  25. lina says:

    I hope Scott Kleeb runs for his seat. Kerrey is yesterday’s mashed potatoes.

    Reply

  26. Marcia says:

    Had Mr. Hagel followed his speeches by voting to give them credibility they would be more believable.
    Other than his view of terminating the occupation of Iraq he does not seem to advance any domestic policies that would generate enthusiasm among anyone other than highly conservative Republicans.
    Why is he leaving?

    Reply

  27. Lee Mortimer says:

    I’m not ready to write off the possibility that Chuck Hagel might still become a candidate for president. What I’ll be looking for Monday is whether he definitively rules out the possibility of an eventual independent or third party candidacy. He has until probably mid-February, when the Democratic and Republican nominations will likely be settled, to make that decision.
    As for working in a Democratic administration–with his strong suit being international relations, Hagel is a natural for Secretary of State, or, as Steve suggests, a roving emissary in the Middle East. The problem working for a Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, or even Barak Obama administration is that Hagel would be following their instructions rather than his own “no false choices” convictions. Those Democrats listen to a lot of AIPAC orthodoxy, while Hagel would be consulting people like Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer.
    I fear Hagel could be marginalized in Democratic administration the way Colin Powell was by George Bush. That’s why I would far prefer to see him as president, or even vice president, with his own electoral support base to work from.

    Reply

  28. matt says:

    clark can’t be sec def. by law he must have 10 years between active duty and being appointed sec def.
    still waiting in vain for steve to explain how hagel’s tough talk and no action deems him worth of anything but retirement.

    Reply

  29. Sandy says:

    I agree, easy e.

    Reply

  30. Carroll says:

    First…none of the Dems, except maybe Edwards or Richardson and that’s a big maybe, would ever go for “no false choices in the ME”.
    But if by chance a half way honest person gets the WH then Hagel would be best as Sec of State and Clark as SecDef and Chaffe to the UN.

    Reply

  31. easy e says:

    Considering electibility/polling data on Hillary & Obama and the likely fear-mongering tactics preceding ’08 elections, don’t be surprised at another GOP victory (unfortunately). The criminals have skated and the establishment Dem/Repub candidates are infested with neocons. Hagel hasn’t made a difference in the past, nor will he in the future.

    Reply

  32. susan says:

    “I think he is definitely a possible V.P. candiate for a democrat President.”
    A staunch Democrat eh? I think not.

    Reply

  33. susan says:

    “Building reasonable, pragmatic Republicans into the next leadership team is going to be important..”
    No, Steve, Republicans should be excluded from decision making for a long time.
    As Ezra Klein notes: You can’t bipartisan the health care crisis. You can’t bipartisan Iraq. You can’t bipartisan energy. There are solutions to these issues, and you have to be courageous enough and concerned enough to actually make the hard choices and advocate for the right ones. [That’s why we have political parties, they think their own solutions are the right ones-DGR] And maybe, if you’re forceful enough, and savvy enough, you can get members of both parties to agree that your solution is the right one. But you don’t start with bipartisanship, you end with it.

    Reply

  34. Lianne says:

    I’m very sad to hear that Hagle is standing down in the next election. As a staunch Democrat, I adore him and have a GREAT deal of respect for him. I think he is definitely a possible V.P. candiate for a democrat President.

    Reply

  35. susan says:

    Hagle, in my opinion, doesn’t have the chops for the job. He is an intellectual lightweight. (My apologies up front to any and all graduates of the Brown Institute of Radio and Television should my comment offend. I’m sure BIRT is a fine school.)
    If I were allowed to submit names for SecDef, Ashton Carter would be high on my list.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    To wit, you need to elect Obama as President and he needs to start calling himself a Muslim; preferrably during the campaign.
    Posted by FYI
    Good idea! After all, Bush faked being a Christian, and look where it got him.
    Hey, and while we are on religion, did you know “The Coral Ridge Hour” is the ONLY Christian radio show that our armed services are piping in to ships and bases? How fitting, an apocolyptic band of Christian zealots telling our soldiers what devils the Islamic people are.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Considering Hagels criminal neglect of disclosing his interests in ES&S, shouldn’t he fill Bush’s post as king instead?
    I mean, now that we don’t hold our leaders accountable to the law, what difference does it make which crook is fuckin’ us over?

    Reply

  38. Kathy K says:

    Better yet: Can you give us a clue why Hagel is quitting, right when Senate opinion may start to count?
    Is he just sick of it all?
    If so, tell him everyone else in the US is too.

    Reply

  39. FYI says:

    You need a Muslim President to heal the rift between US and the World of Islam – decisive majorities of Muslims are convinced that US is tryong to destory Islam.
    To wit, you need to elect Obama as President and he needs to start calling himself a Muslim; preferrably during the campaign.

    Reply

  40. JohnH says:

    Steve, why not be a realist? Hagel’s best shot at SecDef would be after impeachment of Cheney and Bush. Why not try to make it happen?
    Dennis Kucinich would make the best SecDef. He is the only one who has explicitly identified what we’re fighting for in Iraq and shortly in Iran. The others just buy into Bush’s false pretenses and happily let the media/oil/military complex line its pockets at the expense of the Social Security and Medicare systems.

    Reply

  41. Vadranor says:

    If a Democratic victor appointed Hagel to head the Pentagon, he/she would get exactly zero credit for this gesture. Did Clinton’s appointment of Bill Cohen win him any brownie points? Cohen must have had significant input into Clinton’s Balkan policy, but that did not stop Congressional Republicans from their partisan criticism.

    Reply

  42. TB says:

    I think Wesley Clark would make a MUCH better SecDef.

    Reply

  43. TB says:

    I think Wesley Clark would make a MCH better SecDef.

    Reply

  44. Robert Morrow says:

    How about Ron Paul for President? He will be on O’Reilly Monday and he will give a keynote foreign policy address at John Hopkins on 9/11. Ron Paul’s campaign is really taking off right now. All those attacks by the Fox News people have really backfired and they are the source of all the money and people flowing to the Ron Paul campaign

    Reply

  45. Desert Island Boy says:

    Despite my intense skepticism of Republicans and firm belief that they should all be banished to the back of the woodshed, Hagel is one conservative I would give some national responsibility to.
    However, caution against handing the Pentagon over. It just gives more salvo to the Limbaugh/O’Reilly crowd that Democrats can’t even trust themselves with military responsibility.

    Reply

  46. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    You didn’t ask Kerrey if he’s changed his tune about Social Security? Or if he’s apologized for publishing that awful op-ed a few months ago in the WSJ?

    Reply

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