The Washington Post‘s editorial board is the latest group to jump on the God, please, not Chuck Hagel bandwagon:
FORMER SENATOR Chuck Hagel, whom President Obama is reportedly considering for defense secretary, is a Republican who would offer a veneer of bipartisanship to the national security team. He would not, however, move it toward the center, which is the usual role of such opposite-party nominees. On the contrary: Mr. Hagel’s stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, fall well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term — and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him.
Interestingly, the word ‘Israel’ appears nowhere in that op-ed – but the name “Michèle Flournoy” did. Flournoy was a former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy who was rumored to be in the running for SecDef in 2008. Obviously, that didn’t happen – but it’s interesting on how she’s now being quietly touted as Barack Obama’s Plan B. Which would normally be a problem for Obama, except that by now everybody in politics has pretty much internalized that Good Secretary of Defense pick = Republican. If the GOP simply can’t tolerate Obama’s token Republican choice, then, well, that frees him up for the candidate that he wanted*. A historic candidate, no less.
And, honestly? Chuck Hagel would be a bad choice. A really, really, really bad choice; at the very least, he’s got some bad ‘uns going to bat for him right now. As I said four years ago: we could do worse than Flournoy. I mean, I’d prefer a proper Republican in the Secretary of Defense spot, but then I’d also prefer a proper Republican in the Presidential one, so we are working with limited options here.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Or, at least, the candidate that Barack Obama can plausibly claim to have retroactively wanted all along.