Hagel and Mouthwash


hagel clemons.jpg
Some of my readers are writing and saying, “Hey Steve, where are you?? Senator Hagel spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations and called this administration one of the most incompetent in American history! This is your stuff!” They have written, “Hagel had dinner again with Bloomberg! Is he gonna run?”
As regular readers of this blog know, I am a great fan of Senator Hagel’s. The Chairman of my Director’s Council at the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program, Rita Hauser, participated in the meeting and posed the first question to the Senator, etc. — so I’ve been kept up to date.
But the real reason I haven’t written more is that the Senator’s comments are largely in line with what he has been saying already — and his talk in New York actually began with his letter to President Bush which The Washington Note first got into the public domain.
But I am enthused by his comments, and I want him to remain engaged not just in public commentary about the administration but in serious efforts to undo the harm that has been done. That takes more than rhetoric. We need a bigger team of people pulling on legislative options to counter the mess in our foreign policy portfolio.
If you scroll down below, I moderated a very successful economic policy forum this morning — which ran about three and a half hours. The meeting will air on C-Span today and throughout the next week I’m told. I’m in recovery mode now from the exciting but exhausting demands of this meeting.
And quite embarrassingly, while in the men’s restroom at the Cosmos Club, I saw a bottle of colored liquid next to some small cups. The cups were clearly meant for mouthwash. The bottle, however, was full of toxic tasting aftershave which I thoroughly gargled with.
Don’t try that at home — I still feel sick from it.
More later.
— Steve Clemons


15 comments on “Hagel and Mouthwash

  1. Frank says:

    Why is it Steve anytime I lob a criticism of your Hegal you don’t print it?…Hegal is a scavanger; no threat to himself in trying to pick more to pieces the already dead meat by stating the obvious grievous faults of this administration, faults that based on his voting record, he helped enable….
    He’s not running for anything…Pulling a live “Jerry Ford” at a time where it does no good, or no harm to himself politically, is not a profile of courage…Timing is everything…While politicians strive to be superb actors, timing… timing…timing… is everything, but this guy screwed up his part royally.
    In the words of Marlon Brando in the movie “On The Waterfront”….”I could have been a contender” Hegal is not…


  2. Kathleen says:

    Carroll…you’re probably right, but I’m just not willing to throw in the towel yet on impeachment. If Demz are resisting impeachment because they think they’ll have a better chance of winning in ’08, the joke’s on them because Dopey and Darth are never going to leave office unless they’re dragged by the hair. There would have been no point in sneaking all that fine print into the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, dispensing with habeaus corpus unless they were going to use these new provisions. Then it will be a monarchy.
    In the meantime, I came to the conclusion that Darth just checks into a hospital every now and then so people will beleive he actually has a heart. I think he has a Halliburton built mechanical pump that needs the occasional lube job.
    Meanwhile.. as Maine goes, so goes the nation…
    Public sentiment for Bush / Cheney impeachment expands
    By John Kaminski and Gary Higginbottom
    12/01/07 “Times Record” — — The percentage of Americans favoring impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney is approaching the percentage who favored impeachment of President Nixon in 1973-74.
    Public opinion has reached this high level even before Congress has started any impeachment investigation of the Bush-Cheney administration. The public is way ahead of Congress, suggesting that it is time for the U.S. House of Representatives to move forward with the impeachment process.
    In October 1973, a Gallup Poll results showed only 28 percent favored Nixon’s impeachment and removal from office. That was after a summer of well-publicized Senate Watergate Committee hearings.
    Just nine months later, the day before Nixon resigned, nearly two-thirds of Americans believed there was enough evidence for an impeachment trial, and 55 percent thought Nixon should be removed from office.
    That is how drastically opinion shifted once Congress acted and revealed the full extent of Nixon’s abuses of power.
    Now, without any impeachment investigation by Congress, we already see the public’s desire for impeachment action approaching the level that led to Nixon’s departure from office.
    Now, 55 percent of Americans believe that “President Bush has abused his powers as president, which rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the Constitution,” and 34 percent believe he should be removed from office.
    For Vice President Cheney, 52 percent believe he committed impeachable offenses, and 43 percent believe he should be removed.
    Perhaps most telling is that 64 percent of Americans believe that President Bush has abused his powers, and 70 percent believe that Cheney has done so. Polling was conducted by American Research Group Inc., on Nov. 9-12.
    Maine people feel much the same way. According to a recent poll by Critical Insights Inc., 40 percent of Maine adults say they favor “the U.S. House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney,” and 38 percent against President Bush.
    Not surprisingly, Maine Republicans and Democrats differ substantially on this matter. Among Maine Democrats, 58 percent favor impeachment proceedings against Cheney, and 54 percent against Bush.
    One in six Maine Republicans favors impeachment proceedings against Cheney, and one in eight against Bush.
    Maine independents are about evenly split on the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney.
    By any historic gauge, the nation clearly believes that we have a major problem with our president and vice president, although the Democrats in control of Congress have refused to even start an impeachment investigation. They are dismissing the sizable portion of citizens calling for Congress to act as the Constitution directed to keep presidential power under control.
    The Constitution gives Tom Allen, Mike Michaud and Congress the tool of impeachment to address the problem that a majority of Americans now recognize. This impeachment tool is designed to keep our rulers’ power in check — to prevent drifting into a situation of absolute power by an individual or a small controlling group.
    Impeachment is the tool being demanded by 43 percent of Americans who not only recognize the problem, but even call for the drastic action of removing Cheney from office.
    House Democratic leadership is acting in a timid and irresponsibly political fashion. Likely, they want to keep the Republican executives in power and all Republican politicians “on the ropes” until the 2008 elections. Or perhaps they misguidedly believe that there are more important activities for Congress than heeding this historically strong demand to address these obvious abuses.
    Whatever the motivation, Democratic congressional leaders continue to shirk their oaths of office by allowing the executive branch to ignore laws and plan expanded warfare without congressional authorization.
    Public opinion and Constitutional responsibility are commanding congressional Democrats Tom Allen and Mike Michaud as strongly as in Nixon’s day.
    Will they recognize the strength of public sentiment and the dire condition of our nation and take the required corrective action of impeachment investigation? Or will they choose to ignore the call and allow present and future presidents to control the people and their representatives — an authoritarian power that the Constitution directed Congress to prohibit?
    John Kaminski is a Topsham resident and chairman of Maine Lawyers for Democracy. Gary Higginbottom is one of the founders of the Maine Campaign to Impeach.


  3. PoliticalCritic says:

    Hagel will run with Bloomberg as the third party ticket if Hillary and Rudy are the candidates. Of course, Ron Paul will likely run as the Libertarian candidate, so it could be a four-way race.


  4. samuel burke says:

    i think hagel is being overwhelmingly flattered into being part of the washington crowd, he ought to have stood up stronger and ought to have spoken up for our constitution
    this is a snippet of a piece by justin raimondo over at
    t’s sad, really, to see the decline of a once great party: a party that has presided over the biggest expansion of government since the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, the biggest explosion of federal spending in modern times, and the most serious assault on our constitutional liberties since the imposition of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. Here is a party that once stood for decentralized government asserting the theory of presidential supremacy. Here is a doctrine that so exaggerates the power of the executive branch of government that it becomes a monstrous growth of precisely the same sort feared by the Founders, who warned against the return of royalism to America.
    How did this happen? How is it that the so-called conservatives of today advocate precisely the opposite of what they advocated yesterday? How has the dream of a free America turned into the nightmare of the Homeland Security State, where government can search our homes, read our email, spy on our legal and constitutionally protected activities, all without a warrant or even a nod to anything remotely resembling a legal procedure?


  5. Don Bacon says:

    Hagel voted for the Iraq Resolution. Next?


  6. Carroll says:

    They aren’t going to impeach anyone Kathleen.
    90% of congress has passed the point where the constitution of law has any meaning.
    It’s all about “them” baby.
    The US has a “dual monarchy” now, not a democracy. The only question every so often is which one of the royal families will inherit the throne, the Dems or the Republicans.


  7. Kathleen says:

    So what is HAGEL going to do about the arrogance and incompetence, anything? Why is he afraid of the “I” word? It’s NEVER too laste to defend our Constitution from domestic enemies who circumvent our Constitutional processes and subvert our form of gov’t.
    Hagle, like Kucinich, has called for the UN to have a greater role in Iraq, so why doesn’t he introduce a Senate version of Kucinich’s HR1234?
    Anybody can decrie stuff, but actually doing something is what seperates the real [patriots from the poseurs.
    Impeachment is the only cure for what ails us now.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see Israel, with our support of course, have already rendered the Annapolis “agreement” impotent by squashing the UN resolution. They must not of wanted to add just one more resolution to the long list they are currently spitting on.


  9. Carroll says:

    The other side of the story of Iran…..
    Iran Holocaust drama is a big hit
    By Jon Leyne
    BBC News, Tehran
    The film tells the story of a Jewish woman saved by an Iranian diplomat
    The scene is wartime Paris. Swastikas adorn the Champs Elysees.
    Jackbooted Nazis are rounding up Jews for the concentration camps, while terrified Parisians look on.
    It is a familiar plot for a television blockbuster. And this time the formula has been as popular as ever, drawing in massive audiences week after week.
    The only difference is that this is a series made for Iranian state TV, and it has been piling up the ratings in the country whose president once questioned the very existence of the Holocaust.
    The fact that Zero Degree Turn has been allowed on TV, shows the official sensitivity over the accusations of anti-Semitism that have followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s various comments about Israel and the Holocaust.
    ‘Iranian Schindler’
    “There’s been a menu of demonising Iran to portray it as anti-Jewish, which is not the case at all,” argues Iranian commentator and film-maker Nader Talebzadeh.
    We sympathise just as much with those innocent Jewish victims of the Nazis, as much as we do with the Palestinian victims of Zionism
    Hassan Fathi
    TV series writer and director
    “This popular television series, which is visually also very attractive, has tackled this issue because of all the propaganda against Iran.”
    The series has gone a step beyond simply acknowledging the Holocaust.
    The central character is an Iranian diplomat, who provides false Iranian passports to enable Jews to flee the Nazi-occupied France, a sort of the Iranian Schindler. He even has a love affair with a Jewish woman.
    The writer and director of the series, Hassan Fathi, says he used a true story from World War II to show the outside world they have the wrong impression of Iran.
    “In those terrible years there were many people who could help the Jews, but they didn’t because they were afraid they would be arrested,” Mr Fathi explains.
    “But some Iranians, when they saw they could save some Jews, they left their fear behind and did so – because of their character and their culture, their beliefs and their traditions,” he adds.
    Ahmadinejad’s stance
    But the outside world also sees Iran’s relentless criticism of Israel and Zionism. In fact, the Islamic Republic sometimes seems almost to define itself by its opposition to the Jewish state.
    Ahmadinejad has accused Israel of propagating a “Holocaust myth”
    Mr Fathi’s argument – one echoed time and again in this country – is that you can be anti-Zionist, without being anti-Jewish.
    “Let’s be absolutely clear about this. We sympathise just as much with those innocent Jewish victims of the Nazis, as much as we do with the Palestinian victims of Zionism,” Mr Fathi insists.
    “And this is not just the view of a minority, it’s the position of most Iranians.”
    President Ahmadinejad takes pride in meeting members of Jewish sects who are also opposed to the existence of a Jewish state. But most other Jews would take issue with his claim not to be anti-Semitic.
    Mr Ahmadinejad no longer openly questions the existence of the Holocaust. Instead he calls for further research on the issue.
    To the West, he defends this as an innocent call for academic freedom. But the signal to the Arabs and Muslim masses that he is trying to rally is that there is still some doubt over the Holocaust – if not over its existence, then at least over the scale of it.
    ‘Wishful thinking’
    And what of Mr Ahmadinejad’s call for an end to the Israeli state (when he was quoting the leader of the Islamic revolution Ayatollah Khomeini) and his description of the holocaust as a myth?
    There is an interesting perspective from Mr Talebzadeh.
    Some six million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II
    He is a firm supporter of the Islamic Revolution, but also someone who has spent time in the United States, as his American accent betrays.
    “The media loves to harp on that theme,” Mr Talebzadeh complains.
    “‘They want to wipe Israel off the map’, ‘This is Hitler’. I mean that ‘Hitler – Ahmadinejad’ is almost a strategic theme now for three years.
    “You know, the Soviet Union disintegrated very unexpectedly. It’s a very good example of what would happen. Does America think it’s going to be there for ever?
    “I could right now see America dismantling into different states. Israel, I think, would probably fall into the same pattern, and that, I think, is what the president [Ahmadinejad]is trying to convey right now,” Mr Talebzadeh says.
    The idea that the US is about to splinter apart is a piece of wishful thinking quite widely shared here in Iran.
    ‘Hollywood standard’
    But there is also a very genuine belief here in Iran’s history of religious tolerance.
    There’s a small Jewish community here, as well as Christian and other minorities (though the government has been criticised by human rights groups for its treatment of the Bahai minority).
    Most Iranians, even those taking part in the most ardent anti-Zionist demonstrations, would be quite shocked at any accusation that they are anti-Semitic.
    The new TV series also happens to be extremely well produced, with music and cinematography up to the highest Hollywood standard.
    Week after week, Iranian audiences have been pulling out their handkerchiefs as the tragically doomed romance unfolds between an Iranian diplomat and a French Jewish woman.
    “We sympathise just as much with those innocent Jewish victims of the Nazis, as much as we do with the Palestinian victims of Zionism”.
    And most likey 100% of the informed world feels the same way. Anyone who doesn’t sympathise with the Palestines probably wouldn’t have felt any sympathy for the Jews either.


  10. Carroll says:

    Dear Santa
    Hagel for Secretary of State
    Chaffe for the UN


  11. Mack D says:

    Hagel is nobody. Looks like the MSM marching orders involve promoting Huckabee endlessly. Ron Paul had 2-3 questions and limited time. He still crushed them all (how come every article forgets to include his comeback to McCain which mentioned that Ron Paul gets more Military Contributions than any other candidate?). Mitt is dead after desecrating the Confederate flag. Many Southerners died under that flag.
    Unfortunately it took segregationist Governor Wallace to reveal the truth that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between” Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats willingly went along with the War in Iraq, suspension of Habeas Corpus, detaining protesters, banning books like “America Deceived’ from Amazon, warrant-less wiretapping and refusing to investigate 9/11 properly. They are both guilty of treason.
    Support Dr. Ron Paul and save this great nation.
    Last link (before Google Books bends to gov’t Will and drops the title):


  12. Linda says:

    Stick to the coffee, bottled water, or open bar in the future.
    Hagel has been saying and writing reasoned things, but he is leaving the Senate.
    Today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution had the best and most eloquent letter to editor and thinking I’ve read about our foreign policy:
    Iraq war
    We need a more nuanced view of world.
    We desperately seek a black-and-white world. We want some things to always be right and others to always be wrong. We hate gray. It requires excessive thinking and life is simpler painted in black and white.
    Our presidents have noticed this phenomenon, as their aggressive rhetoric clearly demonstrates: Johnson’s War on Poverty, Nixon’s War on Drugs, and Bush’s War on Terror and Tyranny. Unfortunately, such a term provides justification for the United States to proceed with black-and-white foreign policies.
    However, wars declared on intangibles have no ending. And in wartime you are either labeled as a patriot or a traitor, you are for us or against us. Perhaps as a country, we need to struggle with the idea of a gray world in which real people, just as important as us, are affected by our policies abroad.
    DAVID LONG, Statesboro


  13. liz says:

    Sorry bout the mouthwash Steve. I realize you focus on foreign policy etc here but when you speak about repairing the Bush damage, please include all the bad things happening at home.Remember divide and conquer.
    I hear night after night about how we must restore habeus corpus, stop waterboarding, etc. and I totally agree but, as a white 47 year old lady I never once entertained that *I* would ever be the focus or target of discrimination. Never did I understand that discrimination has a big gut feeling that goes along with it . Nor did I have any comprehension about the damage it could do.
    Yes we have a foreign policy nightmare but please do not forget Bush Cheney Administration has declared war on American citizens and their rights at home.
    I hate my life. It will not get better now. I basically do not have rights since I got sick again with a lifetime illness.
    What gives with that?


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