Good evening, all!
I believe that Chuck Hagel is an excellent (presumptive) nominee for Secretary of Defense. His experiences in Vietnam with his brother, his realism (in the foreign policy meaning of the word), his willingness to absolutely piss off Dick Cheney and other folks because he changed his mind and was honor-bound to own that fact loudly and publicly, and his willingness to work (in the areas of foreign policy and defense) proudly with people with whom he disagreed on nearly every other issue tells me he's a great choice. As I said, I'm for Chuck Hagel. I kind of wanted him back in 2009, truth be told. I was also for keeping Bob Gates around (that's another story, though).
My preferences, however, matter little here. It is for the President to decide who he wishes to put forward, and for the Senate to advise and, if they deem it so, consent as to the choice. I made my choice when I voted (for the second time) for Barack Obama. I trust his judgment in whom should advise him and carry out his policies.
You guys need to chill the fuck out on this one.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes I agree that the deficit and amassing debt are distant (if looming) problems and we have far more immediate ones (unemployment, protecting health care for all, Social Security, rebuilding New York and New Jersey, etc). We shouldn't tank solving those problems in order to "fix the debt." That said, we do need to address this problem over time. This will involve cuts and tweaks that will absolutely enrage everyone at some point.
This brings me to Chuck Hagel. There are two reasons why I'm confident he's the right man for this job. The first is the fact that he felt honor-bound to do something once he realized he's supported a war in Iraq that simply wasn't sane to continue (certainly as it was at the time being fought). He enraged his party and he kept at it. The second reason is that he served with then-Senator Barack Obama. President Obama knows this man and is apparently so convinced he's the right man, the one he can trust, to help pare down the Department of Defense to a more sustainable, cheaper, leaner, yet still more than sufficiently potent size and disposition.
I didn't vote for someone who only had the courage of my convictions and the ability to exercise my judgment. If President Obama is convinced that Chuck Hagel is the right man to do this thing, I trust him.
As to those who condemn him for his admittedly boneheaded, stupid, hurtful, tantamount to hateful comments on homosexuality? My Dad used to say similar things around the same time. He doesn't anymore. Heck, I've made my own progress (with a shorter distance to justice I think). Do you folks really believe that the President that ended Don't Ask Don't Tell is dumbass enough to pick someone who intends to reinstate it, whether de facto or de jure? Do you think he'd leave Hagel in position if somehow he misjudged him?
Get over it. And yes, I understand how arrogant and dismissive this sounds. DADT is over. Take yes for an answer. We got the policy win. You and I and the rest of us can afford to be magnanimous when being that costs us nothing in terms of policy. We don't need to re-repeal DADT. We do need to pare down the DOD, we do need to make sure our defensive posture doesn't feed into a worldwide dynamic of violence and strife.
I cannot imagine the pain it must have been to grow up gay in this country. I'm proud of our gains. They aren't enough, I'll grant that easily. More are coming, more yet need to come. Blocking Chuck Hagel furthers none of them. This country needs him (or someone very much like him) to keep us out of war in Iran and elsewhere.