Monday, January 7, 2013

Max Cleland Dares the Senate Not to Confirm Hagel

     I got to admit, Cleland makes a very compelling case for Hagel:

     All this other stuff has been bullshit up ‘til now,” former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) told TPM Saturday. “When the real decision is made, when the president makes the decision … the Senate plays its role.”

   "Cleland said that when Hagel is actually before senators for confirmation, there’s little chance the bluster surrounding his name since he was first mentioned as a possible successor to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will actually result in Hagel’s nomination failing."
   “I don’t see the United States Senate rejecting Chuck Hagel. Under any circumstance that we can foresee at this point,” he said. When the chips are really down, Cleland says it’s virtually impossible to imagine his Senate vote failing."

    “Look Chuck Hagel in the eye and vote up or down. Against a combat-wounded veteran, against a former member of the United States Senate, against a foreign relations committee member, against a sitting member of the military intelligence advisory committee to the Department of Defense,” he said. “Look him in the eye and vote against him for Secretary of Defense. Are you kidding me?”
    "In a long interview, Cleland — who was severely wounded in the Vietnam War, leaving him in a wheelchair — praised Hagel as well as Obama’s pick to lead the State Department, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Hagel and Kerry also served in Vietnam. Cleland said having two combat vets at the top of the nation’s foreign policy will help set a new course after more than a decade of war following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks".

   “Look at John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, two wounded combat veterans of the Vietnam War. They’ve got five purple hearts between them. That’s the kind of people we want withdrawing from Afghanistan and ending this insane war and occupation and focusing the country on using the American military to stay out war, but if we get in war to win war and win it quickly,” he said.
Cleland said the pair will bring harmony to the civilian and military sides of American foreign policy.

   “I see them as the perfect dynamic duo — Batman and Robin, Salt and Pepper, Tom and Jerry. Whatever you want to call it, instead of State and DoD fighting each other all the time as is historically the case, I see them hand-in-glove together,” he said. The two “share a common background,” he added. “They have both been shot at and hit.”

    Darn it, he's got my vote. Actually that's a real great point about having to men from such a fighting background at the top of the US national security apparatus who are decidedly not chicken hawks a la Dick Cheney and George W. Bush-people who love war but have never seen any action.

    True you can play the hypocrisy card as liberals fall in line behind someone who has made homophobic comments in the past as Hagel has:

     "The following is from a Facebook post from a neoconservative-oriented acquaintance about the Hagel nomination. Nicely summarizes what this whole drama is about …
Ok, liberal friends who voted for Obama. What do you think of his decision to name Chuck Hagel — with an “A” rating from the NRA, who voted to ban abortions on military bases, who Barney Frank called “aggressively bigoted” and “voted consistently against fairness for LGBT people” — as secretary of defense? Happy?

     Probably no happier than this neocon having the opportunity to accuse libs of being hypocrites. Honestly, though, we all compartmentalize to an extent. Hagel has apologized for these comments in front of gay and LGBT groups. At the end of the day, is there any way that in his Secretary of Defense he attack the civil rights of gays, LGBT or women?

    On the other Romney would do all those things. So it's not really commensurable. Then when you look at it, you can volley the hypocrisy card right back to the GOP. Why are they opposing someone they so recently have had such glowing things to say about?

    "As Republicans plan their opposition strategy on Chuck Hagel’s anticipated nomination as the next secretary of defense, Democrats are digging up and circulating examples of top GOP senators saying nice things about their former colleague in the past."

    "Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in particular was a vocal advocate for Hagel’s character — even after his dissent on U.S. foreign policy regarding Iraq and Israel were well-known."

      "In 2006, while he was preparing to run for president, McCain was asked whether he’d consider Hagel for a cabinet post. “I’d be honored to have Chuck with me in any capacity,” he said. “He’d make a great secretary of state.”

     Two years later, McCain reaffirmed that position after securing the Republican nomination, telling The Associated Press that Hagel is a “respected leader in America” who “served his country admirably, with honor and distinction.”

    "At a 2007 fundraiser, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called Hagel “one of the premier foreign policy voices (and) one of the giants in the United States Senate,” according to the Nebraska-based Lincoln Journal Star."

    "The following year, McConnell, bidding farewell to his retiring colleague, praised Hagel as a “great statesm[a]n” and “leading voice in foreign affairs.”

     “In two terms in the Senate, Chuck has earned the respect of his colleagues and risen to national prominence as a clear voice on foreign policy and national security,” McConnell said. “Chuck’s stature as a leading voice in foreign affairs has earned him a reputation, in just 12 years in the Senate, as one of Nebraska’s great statesmen. This is a tribute to his intelligence, hard work, and devotion to a country that he has served his entire adult life.”

     "Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) bid Hagel farewell by praising Hagel’s “independent background” and “sense of independence.” Alexander said Hagel — along with then-Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) — “understands the world better than almost anyone.”

     "The former Nebraska senator received similar parting accolades from Republican Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Bob Corker (TN), who will vote on his confirmation."
    The question is what impact do you see him having in his role as Secretary of Defense and the answer is a very positive one.

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