"it’s no surprise that Republicans are eager to derail the former senator’s nomination. By choosing Hagel to lead the Pentagon through its period of belt tightening, Obama helps creates the perception of bipartisan support for defense cuts. It gives him cover that the GOP doesn’t want to provide, and challenges their debt-cutting bona fides. After all, if Republicans are so eager to reduce deficits, they should support sensible cuts to the Pentagon’s budget."
I wholly agree with that. However. another very intriguing thing it gives us is the specter of the two highly decorated Vietnam vets running the Defense and State Departments respectively-Hagel and John Kerry. Max Cleland made the point very eloquently:
“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.”
This would truly be revolutionary in the U.S. foreign policy apparatus-for DOD and State to be on the same team. It's also a very compelling vision with these two decorated Vietnam vets running U.S. foreign policy.
Bouie and WaPo are right on the money regarding bipartisan cover. Listen to Pat Buchanan talk about Chuck Hagel:
"Neocon hostility to Hagel is rooted in a fear that in Obama’s inner councils his voice would be raised in favor of negotiating with Iran and against a preventive war or pre-emptive strike. But if Obama permits these assaults to persuade him not to nominate Hagel, he will only be postponing a defining battle of his presidency, not avoiding it.:
"For Bibi Netanyahu is going to be re-elected this January. And the government he forms looks to be more bellicose than the last. And Bibi’s highest priority, shared by his neocon allies, is a U.S. war on Iran in 2013."
"If Obama does not want that war, he is going to have to defeat the war party. Throwing an old warrior like Chuck Hagel over the side to appease these wolves is not the way to begin this fight.
Nominate him, Mr. President. Let’s get it on."