I never thought that I'd be defending Chuck Hagel, but the guy seems to have made the right enemies. Bill Kristol, for one. From Politico
The William Kristol-founded conservative Emergency Committee for Israel says it’s launching cable ads starting Thursday slamming Chuck Hagel, the latest in a spate of criticism over the man who’s said to top President Barack Obama’s list for Secretary of Defense.
The spot, which hits Hagel for voting against sanctions on Iran, is an indication of the next phase of attacks on the former lawmaker, whose past stands on Israel have gotten the most attention.
The American Jewish Committee
-- not usually considered a conservative group -- also opposes Hagel.
Meanwhile, as Shmuel Rosner, an Israeli-based columnist points out, “The disbelievers find it hard to comprehend that Obama would want to appoint such a controversial personality to the job, thereby almost ensuring clashes with Israel over Iran and the Palestinian issue. In fact, some of them still expect Obama not to make the appointment.The smirkers are, well, smirking. These are the Israelis who never bought the Obama-is-a-friend-of-Israel line, and they see in a possible Hagel appointment proof that they were right all along.” Indeed, the irony of a Hagel appointment would be that Obama would have even less influence and credibility with the Israelis, whose unilateral action against Iran he has forestalled.
did that? I thought that this scenario was still in the "tea leaf reading" category, not the "verified fact" category.
At any rate, I think that what we're seeing here is a replay of the campaign against Rice. Having tasted blood recently, the right-wingers want more.
It is simply ludicrous for anyone to portray Chuck Hagel as a closet anti-Semite or a terror-enabler or a squishy peacenik dove. From The American Conservative:
It’s impossible to portray Hagel as a would-be McGovernite, and the fact that he and Obama are frequently in agreement exposes how absurd most hawkish complaints against Obama are.
Hagel has not been a maximally hawkish supporter of Israel, but the smear against Hagel on this point is particularly loathsome and of course has absolutely no merit. If Hagel criticized Israel’s 2006 Lebanon war, that’s because the overkill and folly that war represented deserved to be criticized. If he believes that attacking Iran would have disastrous consequences and war ought to be avoided, that makes him unusually sane for a member of the political class. The fact that such a despicable smear is already being thrown around (albeit by an anonymous aide who won’t attach his name to the slur) reeks of desperation. The “isolationist” charge is much more amusing because Hagel has often warned against the dangers of so-called “isolationism” (and occasionally insulationism), and has been happy to fling that charge at others as all internationalists do from time to time. Being a thoroughly conventional and generally hawkish internationalist in his own right, Hagel has indulged in chasing away the non-existent bogeyman of “isolationism” almost as often as the people now attacking him. Hawks fling these charges so often at so many people that they have lost almost all of their power, and at the same time they serve to discredit the positions of the people lobbing the accusations.
Yes, there is indeed an argument to be made against Hagel -- from the other direction. Calling the man insufficiently neo-connish is like calling a Three Musketeers bar "diet food" because it doesn't have as much fat and sugar as a gallon of ice cream.
The anti-Semitism canard stems from the fact that Hagel once dared to offer some forbidden words
"The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here," but as he put it, "I'm a United States senator. I'm not an Israeli senator."
If that sentiment is considered controversial, then we need to reconfigure our national mind-set.
Politics in America is pretty simple: Find out Bill Kristol's position, then go the other way. Kristol's ginned-up crusade is the best reason I can think of to root for Hagel to get the job.