MATTHEW VADUM: BLOODIED HAGEL HEADS TO DEFENSE
In a largely party-line vote, would-be Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was narrowly confirmed by the Senate yesterday after Republicans’ months-long opposition to the nominee crumbled.
The mullahs are no doubt resting easy in Tehran.
Hagel, who is uncomfortably cozy with Islamists, replaces Leon Panetta. The new Pentagon chief could be sworn in as soon as today, clearing the way for Hagel to insult America’s allies abroad and bungle what’s left of the Global War on Terror.
Despite losing in the end, Hagel’s opponents believe bloodying the nominee was worthwhile.
“In order to get Hagel barely across the finish line, the president had to burn up a tremendous amount of political capital to keep pro-Israel and vulnerable Democrats in line while Hagel was forced to disavow every position he’s ever held that endeared him to foreign policy leftists,” one senior Republican Senate aide told Tim Mak of Politico.
“Bottom line: a weakened White House gets a marginalized secretary of defense who had to disavow all of his views and supporters in order to win confirmation. I’d call that a win for the opposition.”
Obama now has two-thirds of his Islamist-appeasement dream team in place. The other two jewels in this tripartite crown of shame are CIA director nominee John Brennan, and John Kerry, the new, pathologically anti-American secretary of state. The Senate Intelligence Committee may vote on the nomination of Brennan, a useful idiot for Islamofascism, as soon as Thursday.
Obama chose Hagel as Department of Defense boss because the two are of the same mind on defense matters. Obama knows he can count on Hagel to dramatically scale back the U.S. military. As the Left sees it, cutting defense spending frees up more money for welfare programs.
Hagel’s support for U.S. nuclear disarmament, dramatic defense cuts, and blindness to the threat posed by Iran have long rankled conservatives.
Yesterday’s confirmation came a day after notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan praised Hagel during a speech at the Nation of Islam Annual Saviors’ Day Convention.
“America needs a man in Congress like that, who’s not a rubber stamp for others. You need a man like Senator Hagel as your Secretary of Defense. A man with a mind like that will keep you out of fighting somebody else’s wars. You need a man in government that has another opinion, that is not controlled. If the Senate does not confirm him as Defense Secretary because of his opinion on Israel, that only proves that the Senate and the U. S. Congress is controlled by the Israeli lobby and it all sentences America to war with Iran for the State of Israel.”
Amazingly, Farrakhan’s endorsement of Hagel had no impact on the confirmation process, in part, probably because the mainstream media suppressed the news. Outside of conservative news websites and talk radio Farrakhan’s comments were not reported.
On Tuesday, the Senate first voted 71 to 27 to end the GOP’s historic filibuster, the first ever of a defense secretary nominee, and proceed to a vote on the confirmation.
The Senate then approved the Hagel nomination on a vote of 58 to 41. Four Republicans broke ranks and voted to approve Hagel: Mike Johanns (R-Neb.); Thad Cochran (R-Miss.); Richard Shelby (R-Alabama); and surprisingly, Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
The libertarian-leaning Paul, who recently visited Israel to beef up his foreign policy credentials and assuage conservative fears about his support for America’s key Middle East ally, had opposed Hagel.
Paul said in the end he voted to confirm Hagel because even he though disagrees with the nominee on “many things,” the president “gets to choose political appointees.”
In fact, the Senate is under no such obligation to do the president’s bidding, especially when the nation’s security is at stake. The Constitution gives the Senate the power to confirm or reject presidential nominees for high appointed office for a reason. Every senator has a duty to do what he or she believes is in the best interests of the country. The president’s convenience or ego-gratification is not supposed to be part of the calculus.
Until a few days ago it was not at all clear if Hagel would be confirmed.
There were so many political setbacks in the confirmation process that at one point Hagel’s prospects were so bleak that some Democratic senators reportedly asked Obama to withdraw the nomination.
The ornery Hagel, a Republican who represented Nebraska in the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2009, reportedly claimed in a speech two years ago that Israel is a treaty-breaking rogue nation that is in the process of becoming an apartheid state.
His confirmation hearing was an unmitigated disaster as Hagel appeared to lack the intellectual capabilities to run the Pentagon. Hagel appeared confused, misstating current U.S. policy.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a rising conservative star, was so effective in questioning Hagel that sputtering leftists experienced a collective meltdown, accusing the freshman senator of “McCarthyism.”
Hagel had great difficulty explaining what he meant when he once claimed “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill, a phrase one might have expected to hear from a professional anti-Semite like President Obama’s preacher from Chicago, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
And yet he survived.
Sadly, Hagel now has four years to help Barack Obama fundamentally transform the United States of America.
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