Senate confirms Hagel for defense secretary – First Read

The Senate voted to confirm former Sen. Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama’s next secretary of defense following weeks of dogged opposition by Republican senators to their erstwhile colleague.

The Senate voted 58 to 41 to formally confirm Hagel, on the heels of a procedural vote earlier in the day that cleared the way for Tuesday afternoon’s final vote.

That earlier vote dispensed with a filibuster that Senate Republicans had waged for a week and a half against Hagel, whose confirmation was delayed by Republicans past the President’s Day recess in order to allow for more time to dig into the former Nebraska senator’s background.

via Senate confirms Hagel for defense secretary – First Read.

I’m generally in favor of granting wide latitude to the President in choosing his cabinet members. But, in spite of his infantry NCO background, I’m appalled at the choice of Chuck Hagel as SecDef. Not so much on ideological grounds, but on the fact that he’s just not very bright.

DoD is facing some enormous management challenges in the coming years, and Hagel has shown absolutely no talent for managing complex entities. DoD also faces serious strategic policy issues, and Hagel hasn’t shown much depth there either.

What really frustrates me is that there are any number of people from the Democrat side that would have made pretty good candidates. I might disagree with them (vehemently) on any number of issues, but they at least have skills and smarts to put to the task.

One struggles to find a reason why President Obama has chosen to place the top three national security jobs in the hands of people that are rather dim. I can only surmise that by placing weak people in these jobs, he feels he can maintain closer personal control, and not have strong, independent minded leaders pushing back on his policy directives.

10 thoughts on “Senate confirms Hagel for defense secretary – First Read”

  1. Hagel for SECDEF is the real play. His vision for Defense is far more draconian than even sequestration will be. Because he can be the front-man for slashing our Armed Forces to dangerously low levels, and Obama can deflect blame when the inevitable catastrophe happens, if it does before 2017.

  2. I think Hagel is exactly how you paint him – not very bright, foolish-looking in front of a microphone, and incapable of remembering his own positions, let alone the President’s. He probably thinks he’s extending his career and moving up, but he’s likely to be completely managed by his own staff at the direction of the White House. This is his last round up and he doesn’t even know it.

    I also worry about the message that the ideology sends to the Iranians, but am guessing that Plan B was someone worse.

  3. There was no way on earth that Michelle Flournoy was going to get the nomination. I attended her speech to the ALLIES conference in Boston in January, and she is far too strong-willed and knowledgeable to bend to the ideological machinations of this Administration. She knew it, and the Administration sure knew it.

    Hagel was picked for a reason, not least of which is his somewhat sub-optimal intellectual capability, which will allow him to be manipulated into doing the Far-Left’s bidding and he will think it was his idea.

  4. @ Scott,

    It would have, if it were not precisely the same objective that this Administration has, but is too politically savvy to admit.

  5. Hagel was picked for a reason, not least of which is his somewhat sub-optimal intellectual capability, which will allow him to be manipulated into doing the Far-Left’s bidding and he will think it was his idea.

    URR has the right of it. Hagel was picked because he will do whatever the President wants him to do, and is too stupid to realize it. And David is exactly right that this is the last stop on Hagel’s career, but once again… he’s too stupid to know that. There’s no real reason for Obama to keep picking spectacularly unqualified people for Cabinet seats (Susan Rice? SERIOUSLY? She was literally the WORST pick that he could have made), but I think it is intentional. By picking terrible people, he lets the Republicans look obstructionist by blocking them all. And that’s the narrative he’s pushing. “I can’t get anything done, because the Republicans won’t get out of my way.” He knows he’s not improving the economy, so he’s got to make it look like he’s not responsible.

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