A tough Sunday for Hagel

Chuck Hagel didn’t have as bad a Sunday as the Tennessee Titans did, but his Sunday was bad enough. The Green Bay Packers outplayed Tennesse on offense, defense, and (to a much lesser extent) special teams. Hagel took hits on the Sunday talk shows from a leading Republican, a leading Democrat, and (to a much lesser extent) a leading independent.

On Meet The Press, Lindsey Graham said that he expects widespread Republican opposition if President Obama nominates Hagel as the next defense secretary. According to Graham, “lots of Republicans are going to ask him hard questions and I don’t think he’s going to get many Republican votes.” Graham added that Hagel’s positions “are really out of the mainstream and well to the left of the president.”

In my opinion, Hagel’s positions are actually close to Obama’s views. However, Graham is correct that they are to the left of the president’s stated positions.

Meanwhile, also on Meet The Press, Chuck Schumer showed zero enthusiasm for a Hagel nomination. Schumer could not even say he would support Hagel in the event of confirmation proceedings Instead, he told David Gregory, “I’d have to study his record; I’m not going to comment until the president makes a nomination.”

Clearly, Schumer hopes that this is one study project he won’t have to undertake.

Joe Lieberman won’t be around to pass on future cabinet nominations, so his views aren’t nearly as significant as those of Graham and Schumer. Nonetheless, Lieberman carries the respect of more than a few Senators on national security issues and matters relating to Israel.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Lieberman described some of Hagel’s votes on national security issues, particularly those pertaining to Iran, as “very outlying.” Lieberman also predicted that, if nominated, Hagel would have a tough battle to be confirmed.

In light of Schumer’s reservations, Lieberman may be right.


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