Does Chuck Hagel WANT the Job?

Anybody else watch Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearings?

I haven’t much use for the guy, but if I were a Senator, I’d be inclined to confirm him, just because I believe almost ANY President has a right to appoint whoever he wants to most positions. It goes without saying that Obama is bound to appoint someone I won’t like, but hey, he won the election, and except in extreme circumstances, I’d hold my nose and confirm almost any nominee he sent up.

And yet… Hagel was even worse in his performance than Obama was in the first debate. The guy looked positively STUPID! Even Democrats had to be embarrassed.

I don’t believe for a minute that Hagel is a dunce, but he did everything he possibly could to prove me wrong. Was he just woefully unprepared, or does he just not WANT to be confirmed?

According to this editorial there’s a third explanation.

I only saw a few snippets on the news, so maybe I missed something, but from what I saw, it seemed like he just wasn’t going to play the game they wanted him to play. He probably knows he is going to get confirmed, and figured he just had to tough it out during the hearing and let Senators like McCain do their grandstanding. Now it’s over. BFD.

If he didn’t want the job he wouldn’t have accepted when it was offered to him. He is apparently doing a woeful job in the hearings- whether that’s because he doesn’t think well on his feet, didn’t prepare enough even though it was clear he was going to get grilled by Republicans, or just picked a bad strategy. He will probably get confirmed anyway. The Republicans would have to filibuster the nomination to block him. That hasn’t happened in a very long time, and it’s not clear they have the votes for it. It’d be that much crazier since he’s a Republican and a former Senator himself.

I saw snippets on hardball, and he was getting a lot of gotcha-type questions. McCain was particularly crotchety, lobbing district-attorney style questions at him, and refusing to let Hagel preface his response with an explanation. At one point, McCain flat out demanded that he answer with only a yes or no, but Hagel refused to take the bait.

Can someone quote something that shows him doing a terrible job? In the parts I saw on the news last night, I thought the Republican Senators looked like jerks trying to score points in front of the camera. Hagel seemed fine to me.

Yes, and judging by his answers at yesterday’s hearing I think he’ll make a fantastic Israeli Defense Secretary.

There does seem to be a consensus that he looked bad - the New York Times says the White House “privately made no argument that he had performed well.” This Washington Post piece includes a few video clips.

When McCain was running for the Presidency, somone asked him who he might appoint as DOD. McCain said that Hagel would be good in that position. (I saw a clip of it on TV.)

I guess if you disagree with McCain on something, then McCain is going to take it out on you in that crude and cruel manner we saw yesterday. But what did McCain’s questions have to do with what would not be a matter for the DOD to decide anyway?

I agree that Hagel was not well prepared. I think he was just honest and often not given the chance to speak his piece. McCain and Graham were a disgrace to the Senate yesterday in their hostility. (And I have previously liked both of them.)

I found the whole thing rather worthless, both the questions and the answers.

How do you answer a question like: “Were you wrong about the surge: yes or no?”. Any useful answer would take at least half an hour, if not more, and include a lot of doubt. Hagel at least tried to say that history would be a better judge, but he could have done far better at pointing out that there is no consensus that the surge “worked” in any meaningful way. His answers on Israel and Iran were similarly vague, non-combative, and ultimately empty. Perhaps that’s the best way to get confirmed - avoid saying anything that could cause public sentiment to swing violently against you.

The only useful thing I got out of the parts of the hearings I saw and read about is that the GOP Senators (and perhaps the party at large) have absolutely no regrets about the War In Iraq. And that, given the chance, they would repeat many if not all of the same actions wrt Iran.

Last night Lawrence O’Donnell made a big thing about how the Republican questions were pointless and were nothing but an attempt at a lot of angry gotchas, while the Democrats were actually asking substantive questions about rape and sexual abuse in the military. Of course, Republicans acting like dicks is more likely to be shown on TV.

I listened to most of the first two parts today. What I learned is that Republicans and Democrats alike (except McCain and Blumenthal) feel an urge to make it clear how much they love Israel. The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is that the Democrats showed concern for the people that make up the military - mental health, women, gays. Republicans showed no concern for the members of the military, at least by their questions. They only cared about nukes and poor old Israel, forever in harms way with their nukes and clear military superiority. Hagel seems to care deeply about throwing soldiers into the line of fire for no good reason.

If I was a soldier I would feel much better about my chances of never being shot at and having adequate medical (including mental health) care under a Democratic administration.

Oh, the Dems have gotten us into senseless wars, too coughVietnamcough. Of course, that was before the two parties got completely sorted out along ideological lines and the martial-tradition Southerners went over to the GOP. And I think the Dems have generally been better on health care – LBJ was responsible for Vietnam, but also for Medicare.

True, I’ll throw a ‘currently’ somewhere in there.