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The bad news is that, in the words of yesterday's NYRB article by Elizabeth Drew:

if [Obama] dropped Hagel would he go to bat for anyone? (Or they for him?) The hesitancy to name Hagel or another candidate is already diminishing Obama's stature, erasing more of his post-election glow.

The good news is that Obama still has time to turn this story into one of rope-a-doping wild-swinging Repugs, NeoCons and AIPAC, who have set themselves up to be knocked down by an Obama counterpunch. Hagel€™'s confirmation, which is likely, would show the limits of their influence, and would further reduce it.  Even if some combination of lucky punches or abuse of the filibuster succeeded in derailing his nomination, the move from a whispering campaign to public hearings would further highlight the extremism of Hagel'™s rightwing detractors (his other detractors are discussed below).

The stakes are very high and broad.

As Drew says about for domestic politics:

What the president decides will bear on: his effectiveness in his second term; any president's ability to form a government; whether an independent voice can be raised on a highly sensitive issue in opposition to the views of a powerful lobby and still be named to a significant government position; whether there is actually a proper nominating system; whether McCarthyite tactics can still be effective more than half a century after they were rejected by a fed-up nation.
As Drew says about foreign policy:
And, by the way, what will be the direction of American policy in the Middle East? In particular, how adventurous will we be toward Iran? Have we learned anything from the calamitous foreign policy blunders of the past decade?  Iran more than any other single issue is at the core of the opposition to Hagel, and that issue is closely linked to the question of the extent to which the U.S. should be allied with the aggressive policies of the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward Iran.
As for leftwing critics of Hagel's positions on Gay rights and abortion rights, they deserve to hear some conciliatory comments from Hagel as part of mobilizing Democratic support. They also deserve to be mollified by other appointments.

As for Hagel's old reference to AIPAC and its enablers as "œthe Jewish Lobby"€, my view, as a Jew, is that this is only a small taste of the American backlash against Jews that will eventually result if the NeoCons, AIPAC and Netanyahu drag the US into a war with Iran or other adventures.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh goody! (9+ / 0-)

    Yet another diary in support of a Republican anti-choice homophobe on a site dedicated to electing Democrats. And why? Because it will piss off the Prime Minister of one of our allies.

    Oh, and because "the NeoCons, AIPAC and Netanyahu" and going to "drag the US into a war with Iran." You know, that war with Iran that is just about to start, that is inevitable, that is ALREADY STARTING WE JUST DON'T KNOW ABOUT IT, every month for the last two years.


    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:36:55 AM PST

    •  If Andrew Sullivan doesn't (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Paleo, judyms9, sewaneepat, Gary Norton, native

      object to Hagel on the basis of homophobia, he's fine with me. The guy said one thing many years ago and apologized. If Obama chooses Hagel good on him.

    •  Hagel (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Paleo, native, whizdom

      Hagel is a veteran of war.  People who are not can cheap talk about “inevitable wars” that they would not serve in.

      I agree with Ms. Drew.  If POTUS wants Hagel, then nominate him regardless of his neo con enemies.

      "It ain't over till it's over."-Yogi Berra

      by mock38 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:07:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Last two years? (0+ / 0-)

      I've been on this site since 2006, and I don't think there's been a month in all that time when someone hasn't posted about THOSE IZRAILI ZIONAUTS ARE GOING TO MAKE US BOMB IRAN.

    •  Netanyahu isn't much of an ally (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      if he drags us into an all out war we can't afford and basically ignores the U.S. at his convenience.  If he wants to beat up Iran so much, let him take Iran out and let Israel bear the responsibility.  They're the ones that want the war so bad.  Anyone that finally lets go of this blind fealty to Israel is a step in the right direction.

      DADT is the law of the land, nothing Hagel can do about that.  

      As for the war already started, yeah, but doesn't have to be a full blown conflict.

      "Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die," - Buddha.

      by sujigu on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:36:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yup -- oh goody is right! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dhonig, zemblan

      The guy hasn't even been nominated, yet we get another diary on a Democratic blog enthusiastically hoping against hope for the nomination of a Republican Secretary of Defense, once again belittling any concerns about his homophobic and "Jewish Lobby" remarks. And to top it off, we get a suggestion that the US might be (unwillingly) dragged into war by AIPAC and the Israeli Prime Minister, and  . . . here's the icing on the cake. . . a seemingly gleeful prediction of an

      American backlash against Jews
      •  Not gleeful at all; hopefully will never happen (0+ / 0-)

        Such a backlash is most likely to be avoided, in my view, if the US policy towards Iran is more cautious than the NeoCons want, and if AIPAC's influence and visibility is increasingly balanced by those of groups like J Street.

        Note also that spending less on the military and more on domestic needs will reduce the likelihood of future generations being impoverished and casting around for Others to blame.

        Although Hagel (like Susan Rice) hasn't even been nominated, his critics are responding to active "floating" of a potential nomination.  Their energetic early-stage criticisms are bringing the debate (and the issue of "folding") forward to the pre-nomination stage.

  •  Encouraging to see the counterattack on the lobby (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, whizdom

    Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary

    by Paleo on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:39:37 AM PST

  •  enough with the Hagel love already (6+ / 0-)

    no, we don't need a ConservaDaddy to keep us safe from the bullies in the world.  Doing so just to piss off the PM of Israel is not sufficient reason to support someone who undermines Democratic Party principles.  Obama just got done cleaning the Rethgus clocks, why should he kow-tow to them for his cabinet positions? I'm not a fan of Netanyahu and etc., but he can be marginalized in other ways than by putting an R in a Democratic president's cabinet.

  •  No Republicans (5+ / 0-)

    No.  We won. We won big. That means we don't have to nominate Republicans.  It's not like we get any goodwill for the action -- the right still thinks Obama is from Kenya.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:52:02 AM PST

  •  Lots of noise against Hagel, but who are the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    other options?  Do we want elected Dems pulled from their voting jobs to work on a military withdrawal that just may require some working knowledge of the military experience without being of the military?  Hagel is not Tea Party. In the current political climate he almost looks Dem.  Whose got names?  Put'em out there.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:02:16 AM PST

  •  If he caves on Hagel, we'll have the return of (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    accumbens, Bush Bites, Gary Norton, native

    Tower of Jelly Obama.  The message will be out that he can be rolled.  And by a group that remained silent while the prime minister of a foreign country disrespected him time and time again.

    Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary

    by Paleo on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:08:22 AM PST

    •  Unfortunately, we already back to the Tower of (0+ / 0-)

      which you speak.  Witness Susan Rice and the chickening out during the cliff talks (although I must also say it's debatable whether he chickened or really wants cuts to entitlements).

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:39:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh please .... (0+ / 0-)
    Obama still has time to turn this story into one of rope-a-doping
    enough of this Obama is the Magister Ludi of 21st C. politics.  If should be clear by now that Obama is not playing n-dimensional chess, but simply flying by the seat of his center right pants.  

    (One of the greatest insights I was ever given was that "everybody is flying by the seat of their pants."  Obama is no exception.)

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:36:37 AM PST

    •  Whether by design or by pant seat flying (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wednesday Bizzare, native, accumbens

      Obama has arrived at a position where the political damage to himself from dropping the Hagel nomination would be substantial, but is probably outweighed by the political damage to NeoCons and AIPAC that would result from pushing forward with the Hagel nomination.

      If he fails to seize this opportunity, the story will be confirmed as one of squandering much of the political momentum necessary for a successful second term.

  •  I see. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    As for Hagel's old reference to AIPAC and its enablers as "œthe Jewish Lobby"€, my view, as a Jew, is that this is only a small taste of the American backlash against Jews that will eventually result if the NeoCons, AIPAC and Netanyahu drag the US into a war with Iran or other adventures.
    So now we're into thinly veiled threats, are we?

    The simple fact is, outside the gated garden of the New York Review of Books, the Iraq fiasco - and it was nothing less, and I was against it from the start - didn't cause poll-measured American support for Israel to nose-dive. If anything, there's been a slight increase over the last decade.

  •  Republican Daddy Syndrome (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JPhurst, Wednesday Bizzare, dhonig

    Chuck Hagel is the latest Republican daddy being floated by to help the "weak on defense Democrats."

    That's the problem.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:39:48 AM PST

    •  reverse psychology, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wednesday Bizzare, native

      like Eisenhower getting peace in Korea. Hagel is a veteran and is highly evolved on defense issues, and like Lugar is personally to the left of Obama's foriegn policy positions. It would be a very good thing to have both him and Lugar on board. The fiscal cliff scare is all about not invading the DOD budget. Hagel could be a voice to keep us out of further wars and to manage budget cuts and sane drawbacks from the current overdeployment. He brings the possibility of a breakthrough in peace to an otherwise hawkish administration.

    •  Many Dems are indeed "weak on Defense cuts" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, whizdom, carver

      as indicated by Panetta's comments about how terribly the Defense Department would be hurt by the Austerity Bomb (AKA Fiscal Cliff).

      Hagel seems well-suited to defending such cuts, as well as resisting the political pressure to address too many foreign policy challenges through military action.

  •  I think Hagel would fight for it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, native

    If he gets backing from the White House and, more importantly, the White House's political operatives (Plouffe, I mean you. Where the hell have you been since the election?)

    And it's a fight I'd like to see.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:44:22 AM PST

  •  There are people.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zemblan, dhonig

    ...who want a pick based on qualifications.

    And there are people whose hatred of supporters of Israel is so intense that this becomes the only criterion for backing Hagel.

    You wouldn't think, on a site supporting Democrats, that there would be such a cry for a conservative Republican.  Even more awkward is the claim that Obama is "folding" if he doesn't select a conservative Republican.

    If missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that. -- President Barack Obama

    by JPhurst on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:20:52 AM PST

    •  DC sees him as folding if no follow thru on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wednesday Bizzare, native

      the nomination that he has very actively floated (after already dropping his floated Secretary of State nomination),

      of a Republican who stuck to his truly conservative and centrist views on defense issues when most of the Republican party veered into radicalism, and

      who followed the logic of his views by supporting Obama, including in the 2008 election against McCain.

      Although DC (AKA "the Village") is wrong about many things, this particular thing could easily be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      My own criteria for Hagel relate primarily to defense spending and resisting the temptation to use military action against Iran.  It is Hagel's rightwing critics who have done the most to conflate these issues with support for Israel.

      Meanwhile, Hagel is drawing support from J Street, Americans for Peace Now and Israel Policy Forum.

      •  That is what is so disappointing... (0+ / 0-)

        ...for too many people, the debate has no longer been about policy.  Flournoy is not a warmonger by any stretch of the imagination.

        The issue is that people (on both sides) want someone who will be viewed as against the people on the other side.

        APN and Israel Policy Forum used to do very good work.  But now their raison d'etre appears to be more attacking AIPAC.  As for J-Street, that was their raison d'etre from the beginning.

        I understand that Obama does not want to be considered to have folded twice.  Still, if there was a pick to stick up for, it should have been Rice, not Hagel.

        If missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that. -- President Barack Obama

        by JPhurst on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:36:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know Flourney; Hagel has been a prominent (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          aisle-crossing moderate on military action and defense spending for many years, and has been close to Obama for several years.  

          Thus, it does not appear that 'sticking it to AIPAC' was central to Obama's original floating of Hagel's name, although this aspect of Hagel's profile has now been highlighted by his critics.  

          Obama is obviously attuned to the political sensitivity of the administration's dealings with Israel, and is not going to let Hagel decide the substance or tone of those dealings.  

          Hagel's confirmation would be much harder to block than Rice's. Since a blocked nomination would be most damaging to Obama, there was some logic to not pushing the Rice nomination.  That is now water under the bridge, and part of the context for the decision on whether or not to follow through on the floated Hagel nomination.

          •  I don't think... (0+ / 0-)

            ...Obama would nominate Hagel just to stick it to AIPAC.  I do believe that many in the chorus of supporters want Hagel for that reason.  Especially those that fashion themselves as progressive organizations.

            If missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that. -- President Barack Obama

            by JPhurst on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 01:22:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If U see a progressive backlash against AIPAC (0+ / 0-)

              then, by analogy, you probably can see the possibility of an American backlash against Jews, as mentioned in the original diary.

              Background: Backlashes against overreaching are common. AIPAC is widely regarded as having overreached in its harsh reactions to any criticisms of Israeli government policies.  

              I think in the long run Israel may suffer more from the actions of politicians who hide their annoyance at this than those, like Hagel, who have expressed it openly, even if clumsily.

    •  I can't help thinking (0+ / 0-)

      of Paul Krugman's phrase, "Very Serious People."

      Kinda like the Oort Cloud, it's hypothetically very real.

      Can anyone name any significant player on the political scene whose mind -- and more importantly, actual policy-based activity -- would be changed in any significant way if Obama didn't pick Hagel?

      •  Obama will need to ask Dems to take risks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        such as casting votes and supporting policies that will be open to criticism.

        The article by Drew, who apparently obtains comments from many Washington insiders, indicates that Dems will be less willing to do do these things if they expect that Obama will back off whenever Republicans push back.  

        Creating this dynamic was probably one of the Republicans' goals in torpedoing the floated Susan Rice nomination.  Now that they have quickly targeted a second major floated nomination, the result will have more impact on perceptions of political strength, which will then influence reality.

        •  Yes, that's how Drew waves her hands (0+ / 0-)

          ... but where's the beef?

          Lots of anonymous whispers, no names.

          And does she really, honestly believe that this is in some way at root "neocon" revenge for Bork's rejection? Qui-i-i-ite a stre-e-e-etch.

          Although, again, I'm sure it plays well inside the gated garden.

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