Leaders on Political Right & Left Should Sign on to Chuck Hagel’s View of Public Service

-

hagelampurp.jpgFormer US Senator Chuck Hagel — now teaching students chosen by lottery for his classes over at Georgetown University and of course Co-Chairman of President Obama’s Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board as well as Chairman of the Atlantic Council — has written an elegant reminder of what elected public service ought to look like.
The political atmosphere of late is too toxic, too spoiled and defined by gotcha antics, than by serious and thoughtful leaders putting smart ideas for the country on the table.
Although I doubt it will happen, Hagel’s US News & World Report article today, “Informed, Engaged Voters Lead to Quality Public Leadership” ought to be turned into a resolution in the House and the US Senate. It would be interesting to see if leaders in both parties — and the new political movements aspiring to join these Chambers — would sign on to Chuck Hagel’s generic frame on the responsibilities of leaders and of the electorate.
Would be interesting. Here is a clip but I recommend the entire piece:

Elected public servants must not allow themselves to become disoriented from the business of governing. Our country depends on this. Elected officials must realize they fail their country and those they represent if they succumb to the sometimes violent currents of political opinion–which they bring on themselves when they don’t lead and govern with integrity.
There is always the inherent conflict between, do you vote based on your constituents’ opinions, or your own conscience? This has been a central issue of democratic political drama over the centuries. The best explanation I’ve ever heard or read that addresses this question–one that I subscribe to–is Edmund Burke’s response two centuries ago: “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”
Public service is the essence of a free people, an open society, and a vital democracy. It is the centerpiece of a generous and caring culture. And there are so many wonderful ways to engage oneself in the employment of humanity, including elective office. Public service defines us, and it takes many forms. It is more than anything else the privilege of helping make a better world for all mankind. What is more important in life, more fulfilling, and more compelling?

— Steve Clemons

Comments

30 comments on “Leaders on Political Right & Left Should Sign on to Chuck Hagel’s View of Public Service

  1. Don Bacon says:

    We don’t ordinarily judge people merely on their lawfulness, but beyond that we consider their character, and when “they don’t lead and govern with integrity” (CH) then we quite properly consider them to be lower than junk yard dogs, which are more respectable and dependable.
    Now the Chuckster has some ‘splaining to do, and if he wants to gain our respect a good time to start is right now.

    Reply

  2. davidt says:

    I think Chuck Hagel is a respectable public servant
    but you seem to view him the way you decried people
    viewing our incumbent president. I just don’t know
    why. I am unclear what major accomplishments he has
    had in his career in public service. While the Obama
    adulation may have been a bit over the top (and as
    someone recently said, part of it was that he
    embodied the anti-Bush sentiment to a tee rather
    than a particular ideological approach), he was
    pretty electrifying during the campaign.

    Reply

  3. davidt says:

    I think Chuck Hagel is a respectable public servant
    but you seem to view him the way you decried people
    viewing our incumbent president. I just don’t know
    why. I am unclear what major accomplishments he has
    had in his career in public service. While the Obama
    adulation may have been a bit over the top (and as
    someone recently said, part of it was that he
    embodied the anti-Bush sentiment to a tee rather
    than a particular ideological approach), he was
    pretty electrifying during the campaign.

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gee, lets see, Hagel broke the law a little, or maybe he broke the law alot.
    Isn’t it wonderful that we are blessed with the knowledge that they’re all scumbags, and all we gotta do is figure out their particular degree of scumbaginess when it comes time to cast our vote??? I suggest instead of polling, we simply design a national scale of scumwadity, where we can log on to a site that rates candidates according to the weight of the slime that their pores emit in a measured hour. Call it their SPH rating. Those with the highest rating certainly deserve our vote, because it indicates that they are quite adept at doing what politicians do, and have mastered the fine art of being a DC scumbag.

    Reply

  5. Don Bacon says:

    from blackboxvoting:
    The Washington Post called Hagel

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yeah. You can hang Bush and Cheney on the White House lawn, with ALL the members of Congress in attendence. Never hurts to show scum what should happen when they act like scum.

    Reply

  7. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Oct 27 2010, 2:40PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well, hell…then just vote for me…
    I’ll put 90% of congress and K Street and WS in prison and make them donate their investment holdings and retirement money to the federal deficit.
    And deduct the pentagon’s missing trillions from their yearly allowence.
    I’ll even have Jane Harman,AIPAC and all their agents tarred, feathered, crated up and shipped to Israel…COD.
    And charge all the media channels 10 million a day to use our airwaves and fine them additional 10 million every time a statement they make can be proven factually incorrect.
    Anything else you’d like?

    Reply

  8. Carroll says:

    O.K. I just did a “business” search on ES&S and AIS and Hagel…not using ‘dem said, repub said, political spin sources on blogs.
    Here’s the deal.
    ES&S,AIS.. was first a compnay called Data Mark, which was founded in the early 1980s by Bob and Todd Urosevich. In 1984, brothers William and Robert Ahmanson bought a 68 percent stake in Data Mark, and changed the company’s name to American Information Services (AIS).
    Then, in 1987, McCarthy & Co, an Omaha investment group, acquired a minority share in AIS.
    (Hagel had joined McCarthy and Co. after leaving his job with Veterans Services in DC and moving back to Nebraska)
    In 1992, Hagel become president of McCarthy & Co, and was appointed chairman of their company holding in AIS.
    On March 15, 1995 Hagel resigned from the AIS board, saying that he intended to announce his candidacy for US senator.
    (According to the Ohama Herald Hagel’s opponent Matulka tried to get a vote recount by questioning Hagel’s prior ties to ES&S. He failed and Hagel won again in 2002 by an even larger margin than his first election.
    Again according the Herald, Hagel got a grand total of $15,000 in contriubtions from McCarthy & Co. for his two campaigns..none naturally from ES&S.
    Hagel sold out most of his interest ( several million) in McCarthy but kept $1 million in stock.
    McCarthy & Co. still owns a quarter of ES&S.
    Hagel never had any direct ownership of ES&S except thru the stock he held in McCarthy.
    Now …you can figure if you like, that McCarthy & Co. used it’s 25% ownership in ES&S to force them to tamper to elect Hagel. Or ES&S was so fond of Chuck because of McCarthy’s 25% interest in them that they tipped the votes to him or that Hagel used McCathy’s one quarter onwership in ES&S to make them rig the votes for him. Or the boys at ES&S just wanted to elect a republican to they rigged the votes.
    Which I actually think is slighty far fetched as I think his non disclosure by failure to list ES&S ‘seperately, which was ‘one of many other partial ownership’ companies held by McCarthy and Co., while he did disclose his stock interest in McCarthy, is a reach.
    There are no doubt some who want to tamper with the voting and some who have tried but with all the parisans of both sides involved in the mechanics of installing,overseeing and tallying electronic voting chances are slim that that it could be done on the scale (85% of the vote) that Harris claims happened in Nebraska.
    Do I think Hagel is perfect? No, but of all the possiblies bandied about out there he would be my choice of the lesser of all evils.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I’d rather deal with domestic corruption, if there was any in Hagel, than foreign corruption…that’s why I would support him”
    If you haven’t got a “voice”, due to electoral fraud, you aren’t “dealing” with ANY kind of corruption, domestic OR foreign.
    If there was any question about the “corruption” involving ES&S machines, just educate yourself about what just occurred in Memphis.
    Perhaps if Hagel had failed to disclose his deep connections to any other kind of business, I’d be willing to just say, “Oh so what? They’re ALL fuckin’ liars and thieves.” But the fact he failed to disclose his connections to the company that manufactured the machines that were instrumental in him winning an upset victory against a more popular opponent certainly begs one to question his integrity on MULTIPLE LEVELS, not just the “failure to disclose” part.
    I’m simply not willing to entertain this bullshit about the “lesser of evils”. Evil is evil, and someone that has already demonstrated they can’t be trusted simnply doesn’t deserve my trust, even though they are a more desirable aternative than some other sack of shit that doesn’t deserve my trust. If we let them get away with one thing, why are we to be suprised when they try to get away with another thing?
    Basically, Carroll, you are willing to throw accountability out the window, just so long as YOU get to ignore which crimes go ignored, to advance your own political standards or ideologies. So what makes one crime more forgivable than another, and who gets to choose? You??? Aren’t you just opening the door for ALL the crimes committed by these pieces of shit to go ignored?
    Nah. Hagel is just another lying scumbag that escaped accountability because he belongs to a lawless fraternity of DC criminals that have become immune to criminal prosecution for breaking laws that the rest of us would go to prison for. Screw ‘im.

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Oct 27 2010, 10:05AM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I’d rather deal with domestic corruption, if there was any in Hagel, than foreign corruption…that’s why I would support him.
    In the second Bush election 30,000 some votes went missing in my area and it was handled by a entirely different computer voting company than Hagle’s. Same thing happened in other parts of the country with also different computer voting providers.
    I need more evidence than just the usual..’the dems say about the repub” or the repub says about the dem….
    This….”According to Bev Harris of 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:…just doesn’t get it as proof he personally ordered some tampering.
    You could say the same thing about Obama being black and getting elected by carrying swaths of white voters.
    I don’t remember…were there any howls of electronic vote tampering in Obama’s election…if so I didn’t hear them.

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Part of Hagel’s problem is that he failed to disclose his interest……….”
    Seemingly, no one here cares. I have been harping on this for years now, with nary a response from Steve or anyone else in this comment section.
    Nothing to see here folks, move along, and be sure to shove your vote in those squeeky clean and secure programmable machines that can be hacked by high school level computer whizzes.

    Reply

  12. Don Bacon says:

    Part of Hagel’s problem is that he failed to disclose his interest in the voting machine company. And as blackboxvoting remarked: “Anyone with an I.Q. bigger than a cornhusk knows the real reason Hagel hid his involvement with American Information Systems on his disclosure statements.”

    Reply

  13. CaseyR says:

    Hagel is the problem, not the solution.
    Jan 31, 2003
    The respected Washington, DC publication The Hill (thehill.com/news/012903/hagel.aspx) has confirmed that former conservative radio talk-show host and now Republican U.S. 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 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.
    http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0131-01.htm
    Hagel is the problem, not the solution.

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    opps…here’s the url for the rest of the story.
    Hagel would be the only president capable of ever settling I/P
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2009/10/28/1008809/rjc-attacks-hagel-appointment

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    opps…here’s the url for the rest of the story.
    Hagel would be the only president capable of ever settling
    I/P.http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2009/10/28/1008809/rjc-attacks-hagel-appointment

    Reply

  16. Carroll says:

    I would crawl over cut glass (and drag all my friends with me) to vote for Chuck Hagel for President.
    As far as I can see he is one of the few ‘Americans’ still around Washington.
    ” a meeting he had in New York with a group of supporters of Israel, one of whom suggested Hagel wasn’t supportive enough of Israel.
    Hagel responded: “Let me clear something up here if there’s any doubt in your mind.
    I’m a United States Senator. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States Senator. I support Israel. But my first interest is, I take an oath of office to the constitution of the United States. Not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel.”

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    “Good thinking nadine! If only Obama had more meetings with Republicans, they’d just sign any bill he wants. ” (sanitychecker)
    You are reflecting Obama’s thinking – make the occasional profession of bipartisanship, maybe even with a meeting staged for the cameras. Then you have no need to actually do any of the hard work of compromise, no, no, perish the thought. Just produce a bill that’s as far to the left as your left-wing committee chairs can push it, make it 3000 pages of impenetrable legalese, and order everybody to vote for it. That’ll work like a charm. When more experienced hands voice doubts as to the wisdom of this course, remembering the Hillarycare debacle in 1994, reassure them: “The difference from 1994 is that this year you’ve got me.”
    They’ve got him alright.
    The irony is that Obama didn’t even need the Republicans. He was felled by being unable to keep the Democratic caucus in line. Bet a lot more of them now wish they had defied him and sunk Obamacare like a stone! Because it’s going to sink scores of Dem congressmen next week!

    Reply

  18. Carroll says:

    “The political atmosphere of late is too toxic, too spoiled and defined by gotcha antics”
    That’s putting it mildly. Did anyone see the news clip showing the Rand Paul supporters who attacked a 23 year old girl, an activist for Moveon .org? Two or three men threw her to the ground and then one put his foot on her neck and keep pushing her head down.
    It’s obvious the tea baggers have attracted a lot of men with violence issues who see venting their rages within a political setting as way to get away with it.

    Reply

  19. Sand says:

    *cough* “conscience”
    –Vote postponed on Bolton U.N. nomination
    No reason given for delay, no new date set
    U.N. Ambassador John Bolton
    The Associated Press
    updated 9/7/2006 1:58:09 PM ET
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14716492/
    “John Bolton, who received a recess appointment to be the United States’ ambassador to the U.N., has once again been denied an up or down vote on his nomination for the permanent position.
    WASHINGTON

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    Neither Coke nor Pepsi?
    Gallup Poll, Sep 17, 2010:
    Americans’ desires for a third political party are as high as they have been in seven years. Fifty-eight percent of Americans believe a third major political party is needed because the Republican and Democratic Parties do a poor job of representing the American people. That is a significant increase from 2008 and ties the high Gallup has recorded for this measure since 2003.
    Rasmussen Poll, Oct 25, 2010:
    A plurality (43%) of Likely U.S. Voters believes that neither Democrats nor Republicans in Congress are the party of the American people, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Nearly as many see a need for a new third party.
    Of course a third party that might please me probably wouldn’t satisfy the teapartiers, so we might need a fourth too. Then we would get into democracy territory. Cool.

    Reply

  21. sanitychecker says:

    Good thinking nadine! If only Obama had more meetings with Republicans, they’d just sign any bill he wants. Your take on domestic policy is almost as sophisticated as your understanding of the Middle East.

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    Today Obama, campaigning in Rhode Island (!) said of Republicans, “They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back”
    Ah, yes, that’s the spirit of post-partisanship that has gotten Obama where he is today.
    Gee, did it not really occur to anyone in the White House before this that if you shut the Republicans totally out of writing the bills, they would oppose the bills? I heard somewhere today that Obama just had his first one-on-one meeting with the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell. First meeting? Are you kidding me? Are you f’ing kidding me?

    Reply

  23. sanitychecker says:

    Hagel writes: “There is always the inherent conflict between, do you vote based on your constituents’ opinions, or your own conscience?”
    Talk about delusional self-flattery. How about, do you vote based on what’s right for your constituents and the country or on what’s right for the corporate interests that you serve?
    What’s next? “Gingrich reveals his lifetime conflict between sacrifice and heroism.” “Wall Street titans ponder tension between altruism and atonement.”
    How’s life in Disneyland working out for you, folks?

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    Here’s a funny thing about the represent/lead “dichotomy” — you can’t get enough signaling for every issue to know how to represent for every vote. An election is an up or down vote on the entirety of a candidate, at least on the entirety that is communicated to the voters.
    A member of the legislature then, never actually fully represents his or her constituents, but always uses judgment. We don’t have direct, per-vote democracy.
    BUT, that same representative has to stand for election pretty regularly and it is his/her judgment that is on trial. So, yes, there’s always judgment, and yes, if that judgment isn’t sufficiently representative of the judgment of the constituents, the candidate gets tossed out on his or her ass.
    The distinction that Hagel seems to be drawing underneath it all would perhaps be one of honor vs. pander. But what is a democracy save honoring the panderer — or, doing the will of the people, which is the same thing?
    To make a firm distinction rather than to keep a dialectical or dynamical relation is to put one’s own self-conceit above the self-conceit of the people at large. I think that’s what a tyranny is, if I recall….
    (With one exception — the Platonic or Aristotelian aristocracy — for Plato, it never actually happens (who’s really going to toss out all the kids over the age of 10 and do the whole censorship and eugenics things…. And for Aristotle, there just aren’t enough aristocrats to balance all the damned masses of people. Those masses of people are some of them “necessary elements” and others are the middle class and they perform some useful tasks and manage somehow to balance one another’s idiocies.
    (The real hope, then, is that we have enough dumbfuck people on all sides that out of the morass of human idiocy some truly amazing things happen.
    (We should not be asking for a return to New England patricianism (or Nebraskan patricianism, as it were!))

    Reply

  25. Don Bacon says:

    The cynical side of me says: Chuck, you know darn well there’s no inherent conflict between opinions and conscience, it’s all corporate interest.
    The idealistic side of me says: Mr. Hagel, let’s go third party.

    Reply

  26. DCPundit says:

    Steve,
    You are a voice of sanity, as well as Senator Hagel, in a turbulent world of political currents that are getting faster and sweeping away the checks and balances in our system. Thanks for highlighting this important essay.

    Reply

  27. drew says:

    angellight, are you a person or a robo cut-and-paster? I already
    read this post of yours somewhere else.

    Reply

  28. drew says:

    Well, that’s fine, but Hagel would have more credibility if he chose
    to live amongst the people he said he wished to represent. Action
    is character, and he’s not choosing Nebraska. I don’t recall Hagel
    running for office by saying, “Send me to Washington. I’ll never
    come back!”
    There’s a difference between the elected and the “elect”. The
    problem in the American system at the moment is that the elected
    think that they are therefore the elect. So long as other people are
    willing to pay for this conceit, no problem. I suspect that
    willingness is now fled.

    Reply

  29. Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle says:

    The political atmosphere of late is too toxic, too spoiled and defined by gotcha antics, than by serious and thoughtful leaders putting smart ideas for the country on the table.
    So why doesn’t Hagel call out who is at fault. The Teahadists/GOP and the TradMed. Of course what Hagel won’t tell you is that if the TradMed did their job, a Republican couldn’t get elected dog catcher anywhere for the next 20 years.
    Steve:
    Does Hagel still have a ownership stake in a voting machine company?

    Reply

  30. angellight says:

    God, I wish him much success with this endeavor, it is sorely needed on a much wider scale!
    Let us get clear, when the GOP/Tea Party state that they want less government, what they really mean is that they want NO government, because government will only get in the way of their fraudulent schemes!
    Then, they pretend that they want to lower taxes for the American people all the while knowing that the loopholes they put into place for the wealthy means that Corporations and wealthy Americans pay very little taxes or No taxes at all, which means Average Americans have to carry and Shoulder all the tax burden.
    To Create Jobs in America, you must Invest in America. Yet GOP want no spending on America’s crumbling and decaying roads, streets, sewer system, infra-structure, high-speed rails, and public education (to further “dumb-down” Americans)! They say No to any Investment in America (water, air, clean technology) and her people. They know that Investing in America means TO CREATE JOBS! On the otherhand, they don’t mind Spending millions of dollars on Wall Street stocks and bonds, phony ponzi schemes and real-estate deals, all the while America continues to further decay into a third-world country.
    The Simple & Awful truth, is that Republicans do not want and they Fear a government for the people and by the people. Their desire is for America to go back to the times when the rich get richer and the poor get poorer! That’s what they are fighting for, not for average Americans, but for their greedy way of life and for power.
    What the Republicans Really Don’t Want You To Get Educated On!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9jLrrRg8rw

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *