Left Targets Cruz, Conservatives–but Case Against Hagel Stronger than Ever
Decrying yesterday’s filibuster of the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) as Secretary of Defense, the White House and the media have decided to target his critics, especially Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Yet they should welcome the extension of debate, which provides an opportunity for Senators who once expressed concerns, such as Chuck Schumer (D-NY), to revisit their conclusions in light of new information.
The case for Hagel remains exceedingly weak. Some Democrats claim that he has the necessary qualifications to lead the Pentagon, but not even the Obama-friendly Politico supports that argument, noting Jan. 31 that Hagel’s main qualification was “politician.” Hagel’s supporters keep citing his admirable military record, but it is not a qualification for a primarily civilian post which requires an intimate knowledge of defense policy.
Hagel, by his own admission, does not know much about the Department of Defense. During his two terms in in the Senate, he served on the Foreign Relations Committee, not the Armed Services Committee. He has some broad views about how the country’s defenses ought to change, but these are shifting, and vague. He has argued both for and against defense cuts, for example, and does not understand the defense sequester.