February 21, 2013

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tells us that tears – make that almost tears! — in Chuck Hagel’s eyes wiped away Schumer’s concerns about Hagel’s votes, rhetoric, and intellect. I suppose he was so mesmerized by the mere prospect of tears that Schumer blocked out what followed – Hagel’s dismal hearing performance, the refusal to turn over financial material, the failure to produce speeches over the last five years (a number of which came to light in the last week) and Hagel’s own disclaimer that he won’t be running anything or making policy.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Now, however, that the cat is out of the bag we can imagine all sorts of teary-eyed pleaders entering Schumer’s office.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could go into sob about entitlement reform.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) could go into sniffle about a border security trigger.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) could go into whimper about a balanced budget amendment.

The Joint Chiefs could go into weep about hollowing out the military.

Better yet, his constituents could go into wail that the hard-headed New York pol (who once offered himself as a protector of the U.S.-Israel relationship) has left his judgment in New York and his principles in an undisclosed location. As for his Democratic colleagues, they should think twice about putting him in any higher leadership position. The last thing they need is a sap whose going to get buffaloed by a weepy Republican.

An additional point is in order. Schumer claimed that not a single major Jewish organization opposes Hagel. (By the way, why does the religion of the groups matter? Christians United for Israel is the largest pro-Israel group in the country and it  vociferously opposes the nomination.) In the Jewish Press, Lori Lowenthal Marcus writes:

That’s not true.

The Zionist Organization of America and the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) have been on record opposing the nomination of Chuck Hagel since President Obama first named him as his choice for secretary of Defense.

The centrist American Jewish Committee has been at least softly opposed to Hagel’s nomination even before the nod was officially given by the president. Back in December, the AJC’s president, David Harris said, “what message would it send to have a Pentagon chief who has very different views on strategies for dealing with Iran, the central foreign policy challenge of our time, than the White House has had to date? Or questions the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group at the same time the Administration is urging the European Union to add the group to its terrorism list?”

And the politically centrist, Democratic Party-leaning Anti-Defamation League joined the AJC in strongly questioning the nomination after information about some of Hagel’s comments, in particular that he was recorded as saying that the “U.S. State Department is an adjunct of the Israeli Foreign Ministry,” at a speech at Rutgers University in 2007.

Much has been made of the lack of opposition by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, but AIPAC never takes a position on a political nomination.

She could have also mentioned the Republican Jewish Coalition’s nonstop lobbying against Hagel and the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wisenthal Center, which have spoke out strongly against his rhetoric and expressed their concerns. How did Schumer get his facts so bollixed up? Well, maybe we should cut him a break. Ever since Schumer saw those tears in his eyes he’s just not been the same.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.