Had those 41 Republicans all had the simple wherewithal to vote no on cloture, Chuck Hagel would not be secretary of defense. Had the American Israel Public Affairs Committee opposed Hagel publicly, I do not think he would have been confirmed. Had any Democrat who considers him or herself to be responsible on national security broken ranks, I am certain others would have followed and Hagel would not have been confirmed. Had there been a responsible president in the White House, Hagel would not have been nominated.
But none of that is part of the political realm in which we inhabit. These two statements from very different groups tell you everything you need to know.
From the shockingly hypocritical National Jewish Democratic Committee:
“NJDC congratulates Senator Chuck Hagel’s confirmation to be Secretary of Defense. We were encouraged by and applaud Senator Hagel’s statements during the nomination process in strong support of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and against a policy of containment as well as his clear understanding of the importance of achieving the two-state solution. We know Secretary Hagel will support President Obama on these issues that are critically important to the Jewish community.”
How they did not gag on their own words, I do not know.
Contrast that with the predominantly Christian conservative Concerned Women for America:
The confirmation of former-Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next civilian head of the United States Military doesn’t make American families feel safer, because we as a nation are more vulnerable under his leadership. Hagel does not have a sound understanding of the global threats facing America, nor does he have the discernment needed for a workable defense policy.
The Senate has failed to properly vet this candidate. As if his shaky, inconsistent committee hearing wasn’t enough to show his lack of qualifications, we can also add his failure to submit critical documents. Motives follow money, and Hagel’s refusal to submit financial documents, as well as his omission of funding sources, reiterates his real motives.
Our national security interests stand at a threatening juncture. Hagel’s record shows his lack of knowledge when it comes to nuclear disarmament, and his vision for how to deal with these issues is dangerous to American families. While in the Senate, he voted to adopt Global Zero and reconfirmed his opinion by saying, “How can we preach to other countries that you can’t have nuclear weapons but we can and our allies can?” Countries like North Korea and Iran are on the verge of nuclear power; it’s naïve to put false hope in the fact that anti-American countries would cease their pursuit of nuclear capability if we disarm ourselves.
By confirming Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, the Senate has catered, once again, to the president’s wants and overlooked the needs of the American people.
Now that is what the pro-defense and pro-Israel lobbies sound like.
Let’s be clear: We have two parties: the Hagel Democrats and the pro-Israel Republicans. Only one party considers national security serious enough to place it above loyalty to the White House.
One can hardly wait for the Hagel Democrats to appear at the impotent AIPAC’s conference next month to express their support for robust Israel-U.S. relations. Sometimes, even the most cynical of us find that Washington hypocrisy is truly stomach-turning.