"Those misrepresenting Senator Hagel's positions on this are in the gutter," said Andrew Parasiliti, who was Hagel's foreign policy advisor from 2001-2005 and is now editor of Al-Monitor. "That he is anti-Israel is complete nonsense, not at all supported by his record. He knows the issues and the players there as well as anyone in Washington. Those tossing around these accusations can't hold a candle to his record of service and expertise on national security."Prominently quoted is Bush defense official Richard Armitage. Now, I personally think being endorsed by any Bush era defense official ought to be considered a veto right there, when talking about running the department of blowing stuff up, but as we've seen it's impossible to screw anything up so badly as to diminish your credibility among the Washington crowd, so here we are.
Hagel supporters have also begun to circulate a memo called "Facts on Chuck Hagel," which is meant to rebut, among other things, the charge Hagel is not supportive enough of Israel because he has declined to sign several letters supported by some pro-Israel groups and because he once referred to the pro-Israel lobby as the "Jewish lobby."
If any of this is dissuading the White House, they haven't shown it. Press Secretary Jay Carney was a bit snippy at reporters asking about Hagel:
"Sen. Hagel fought and bled for his country," Carney told reporters Thursday. "He served his country well."So have a great many people, unfortunately. So why is Hagel in particular being considered, other than because he apparently wants the job? I couldn't begin to tell you. He's not well liked among Republicans, and Democrats are baffled at the continuing bizarre fixation, in Democratic administrations, with putting a Republican in the position. On, and he was a strong supporter of the ban against gay members of the military, and even against gay Americans holding positions as U.S. Ambassadors because being openly gay wouldn't properly "represent America." No, really.
So why's he on the short list? Is the knowledge that nobody actually wants him for the job considered, somehow, "bipartisan"?