Chuck Hagel, come on down! I’m sure by now you’ve seen plenty of clips of Chuck Hagel’s less-than-erudite Senate confirmation hearing last week. In one of the most disastrous and embarrassing confirmation hearings in history, Hagel stumbled and fumbled for eight hours. Here’s just a brief list of his colossal missteps: he didn’t know that the sequester cuts come from the Budget Control Act; he didn’t know that our policy on Iran is one of NO CONTAINMENT (unless he was accidentally telling the truth, which I’ve long believed, that this Administration does in fact believe in the containment option); he believes Iran’s government is legitimate and elected; he wouldn’t back down or couldn’t come up with excuses for the absurd claims he’s made in the past, such as, that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is not a terrorist entity and that the surge in Iraq didn’t work. He couldn’t name one example to back up his claim that “the Jewish Lobby intimidates lawmakers.” He spent a lot of time unsuccessfully attempting to walk back his previous statements by using the phrases, “what I meant to say,” “if I could go back and edit myself, I would,” and “I only said that once publicly.” Finally, in a breath-catching statement that should disqualify him immediately if the above isn’t enough, Hagel concluded that he doesn’t know a lot about this job and will have to learn as he goes…and we shouldn’t worry because he won’t be in a policy making position anyway. Say that at your next job interview and see what happens.
Even the Democrats were appalled by the performance, with one declaring that it’s clear, “Hagel won’t be bringing the potato salad to the next Mensa picnic.” Hilarious. And frightening, because this man will undoubtedly be our next Secretary of Defense. Democrats will never vote against their guy no matter how incompetent he may be and Republicans have apparently just given up. It would be nice if a little courage and common sense were displayed, like when the Republicans refused to confirm George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. She wasn’t qualified for the job and they believed someone better could be found…and someone was. For once, it would be wonderful to see a Democrat, or this Administration, do what’s right for the country instead of the party. Please nominate Michele Flournoy. In that hearing, Hagel looked like a man who doesn’t even know to put the shower curtain inside the tub before he turns on the shower. A man with nothing between his ears except perfectly fresh air. And that’s what the rest of the world saw too. The Iranian regime must feel as if all their birthdays have come at once.
A close second this week is another man of less-than-mediocre intellect and integrity, our new Secretary of State, John Kerry. Like Hagel and our President, Kerry believes in the comprehensively false, “theory of linkage.” The theory follows that if the Israeli-Palestinian peace process could be resolved, global jihad and conflict in the Middle East would disappear. It would be a “placid lake” in Hagel’s own words. This is a false and dangerously naive conclusion, as is Kerry’s ludicrous assertion that Pakistan is a true ally that deserves our money and didn’t receive enough credit for helping us find bin Laden. What the fuck are you talking about? Our leaders don’t understand the situation in one of the most volatile and hostile regions of the world. We could be in for a frightening four years and beyond as a result of this incompetence.