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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Hagel's Confirmation Hearing A Disaster, But Does It Matter To Democrats?

By Susan Duclos

The general consensus from the left, right and down the middle is that Chuck Hagel, Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, blew his confirmation hearing, with retractions of former statements, bumbling and stumbling through question after question,all showing his is weak, untrustworthy and depending on who he is talking to, his answers change on a dime to fit his audience.

The ramifications of this very public display of incompetence by Hagel, if he is confirmed, and Democrats in the Senate control enough seats to confirm him if Republicans do not filibuster the vote, is that allies will not trust his word and enemies will know how weak he is.

None of that will matter to Democrats in the Senate because it is all about politics for them and giving Obama a "win" will matter more than confirming someone who will hold the respect of allies and fear from enemies.

Being a conservative, many who did not watch the travesty of the Hagel confirmation hearings might think I am overstating the damage, so let's take a look at a couple reactions from the far left side of the aisle.

TIME's Winslow Wheeler:

Hagel’s performance in his “confirmation” hearing was remarkable; he spent the day eating his own words under pressure mostly from Republicans—so much so that it is hard to understand what views he might actually hold.

Unlike most effective politicians who are always clever at saying nothing or changing positions, he was so inarticulate at doing so that it is also hard to understand how he ever could have been elected twice to the Senate from Nebraska.

As fumbling and apologetic as Hagel’s answers were to the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, even my low expectations for the performance of the senators on that committee went unmet.

Jonathan Chait asks "Whose Terrible Idea Was It to Nominate Hagel, Anyway?"

As it turned out, the Hagel nomination has been a fiasco. (Clemons’s chins-up take that Hagel “met expectations” is the most optimism any Hagel backers can muster.) It turns out there were reasons beyond the nefarious power of the Israel Lobby or the inexplicable timidity of the Democratic foreign-policy establishment not to nominate Chuck Hagel.


What’s more, Hagel has said lots of things that Obama does not endorse, most of which Hagel himself no longer endorses, and some of which Hagel says he never believed at all.

Hagel repeatedly ran away from his own statements, at one point explaining that he wished he could “go back and edit that, like many of the things I’ve said, I would like to change the words and the meaning.” If he could turn back time, if he could find a way, he’d take back all the words that hurt you.

 A video example of Hagel's stumbling over his own answers after being handed a note informing him he misrepresented Obama's positions:

Another video where Hagel cannot explain his past statements about the Israel lobby: