There were a number of standouts last week, in the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing in particular. Any one of the GOP senators could have been the pick. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) tied Hagel up in knots on gay marriage. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) took him apart on Iran. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was devastating in showing Hagel to be both wrong and stubbornly wrong on the surge.
But for sheer theatrics Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was my personal favorite. Enjoy:
The body language conveys just the right amount of dismissiveness. “It sends chills up my spine,” is just about what fair-minded people are thinking at the prospect of Hagel heading the Defense Department.
Less discussed was Hagel’s budget ignorance. Gary Schmitt writes that “somewhat obscured by that exchange [on the ‘Jewish lobby’] was Senator Graham’s previous question to Hagel about the size of the defense budget relative to the country’s GDP. Hagel, clearly guessing, answered: ‘Well, we are, I think, it is probably 5% in that area.’ Well, actually, it’s not Mr. Hagel. The national defense budget is 4% of GDP, with war funding included, and the base defense budget is only 3.4%. No wonder Chuck Hagel thinks, as he is quoted as saying, the Defense Department is ‘bloated.’ ” Once again Hagel was shown to be ignorant of or confused about basic aspects of the Defense Department.
For all of that, well done, Sen. Graham.