But I’m guessing there are no honorable liberals in today’s world.
Except for this guy it seems:
Whose Terrible Idea Was It to Nominate Hagel, Anyway?
The man was a walking disaster at the hearings yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, this 10 minute video of Sen. Cruz grilling Hagel was indicative of the day he had.
The man even defended a policy of ‘containing’ Iran. Even though that is not the policy of Obama’s administration.
Obama comes clean on Iran! According to Hagel, the administration favors “containment.” I could barely “contain” my excitement! Despite official denials, many of us had long suspected that, lacking any stomach for preventing a nuclear Tehran, Washington would settle for “containing” them.
…Unfortunately, as Hillary said the other day, “our policy is prevention, not containment.” So five minutes later the handlers discreetly swung into action to “contain” Hagel. “I was just handed a note that I misspoke,” he announced, “that I said I supported the president’s position on containment. If I said that, I meant to say that we don’t have a position on containment.” Hagel’s revised position is that there is no position on containment for him to have a position on.
…Containment? Prevention? What difference does it make? Could happen to anyone. I well remember when Neville Chamberlain landed at Heston Aerodrome in 1938 and announced the latest breakthrough in appeasement: “I have here a piece of paper from Herr Hitler.” Two minutes later, he announced, “I have here a second piece of paper from my staffer saying that I misspoke.” Who can forget Churchill’s stirring words in the House of Commons? “If, indeed, it is the case that I said, ‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall never surrender!’ then I misspoke. I meant to say that we’re keeping the situation under review and remain committed to exploring all options.”
It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re as expert in all the nuances of Iranian affairs as Chuck Hagel. After he’d hailed Iran’s “elected, legitimate government,” it fell to another Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand, to prompt Hagel to walk it back. Okay, delete “elected” and “legitimate”:
“What I meant to say, should have said, is that it’s recognizable.”
“Recognizable”? In the sense that, if you wake up one morning to a big mushroom cloud on the horizon, you’d recognize it as the work of the Iranian government? No, by “recognizable,” he meant that the Iranian government is “recognized” as the government of Iran.
Obama and pals weren’t happy it seems:
“It’s somewhere between baffling and incomprehensible,” a member of Mr. Obama’s own team of advisers on Iran said on Thursday night when asked about Mr. Hagel’s stumbling performance on the question during the all-day hearing. The worry was evident in the voice of the official, who would not speak on the record while criticizing the performance of the president’s nominee. For those who question whether the no-containment cornerstone of the Obama approach to Tehran is for real, or just diplomatic rhetoric, Mr. Hagel clearly muddled the message, he said.
It was an embarrassing performance, but fitting. And still the Democrats are in support of the nomination:
“I don’t think he’s going to lose any Democratic votes, that we know of,” Sen. Carl Levin told reporters after the hearing. “I think there’s at least a few Republicans who’ve already said, publicly, that they support his nomination.” When pushed, he could barely name two. “What I’ve heard—I’ve heard that Sen. Cochran, and I’ve heard Sen. Murkowski. That’s third hand. If nobody in this crew has heard that Sen. Murkowski is inclined, then I will withdraw that comment.”
But so far Sen. Coats, Sen. Kirk, and Sen. Blunt have all stated they will vote no on Hagel. I’m sure the Democrats are hoping for a few Republican defectors but if all 45 oppose him I’m betting a few Democrats won’t walk the plank for him.
We shall see.
The question is whether there are a few good men or women—serious liberals willing to speak truth to power, honorable Democratic senators willing to put country before party—who will step forward to sink the Hagel nomination.
It will be revealing about the state of liberalism and the condition of the Democratic party if there are none. It wasn’t pleasant in 2005 for conservatives and Republicans to oppose a nominee—in this case a close friend—of a president they supported. It certainly wasn’t pleasant to seem to give any comfort to the president’s critics. Still, to use a corny but apt expression, it was the right thing to do. And a willingness to do it was a sign of the health of American conservatism.
American liberalism shows no such sign of health. Liberals are pretending not to recognize that Hagel is manifestly unqualified. A few have the wit to argue in excuse that associate justice of the Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment while secretary of defense is not. On the other hand, the damage an incompetent secretary of defense could do over the next four years is very great. Even a liberal can see that.
Conservatives and Republicans will stand firm in opposing Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. They will do so with a clear conscience, basing their opposition on his obvious unsuitability for the position. Are liberals and Democrats willing to sell their souls for . . . Chuck Hagel?