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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Hagelian dialectic

Senate Tea Party star Ted Cruz thinks Barack Obama has "drunk the tea" with his nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. I'm wondering what he and his fellow Republicans have been smoking.

The Senate GOP has served noticed that Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam-decorated, two-term moderate Republican Senator from Nebraska, is an inappropriate choice to lead the Defense Department in Obama's second term.

Fresh off their success in swift-boating Susan Rice for Secretary of State, the GOP, led by Lindsay Graham and newly elected Texan Cruz are looking to torpedo a former Senate colleague who they allege is soft on Iran and Israel and in a twist of downright chutzpah, offensive to gays.
‘I think this is a president right now who has drunk the tea,’’ Cruz said on ‘‘Fox News Sunday.’’ “He is feeling very good about himself; he is feeling like there can be no opposition to his position. And so, it doesn’t seem — he doesn’t seem terribly concerned that there’s not a lot of support for Chuck Hagel in the Senate.’’
The blunt spoken Hagel has belatedly apologized to James Hormel, Bill Clinton's choice for Ambassador to Luxembourg, for calling him "openly, aggressively gay" in opposing his 1998 nomination. But I'll just let the hypocrisy of GOP senators allegedly caring about gay rights speak for it self.

Of greater concern should be the allegations that  Hagel is somehow anti-Israel or anti-Semitic because he once described pro-Israel lobbying groups as the ‘‘Jewish lobby.’’ Or that he is soft on Iran because he once opposed several bills to impose unilateral sanctions on Iran.

Five former US Ambassadors to Israel have backed Hagel in the fight and supporters note he has backed several rounds of sanctions aimed at preventing Iranian weapons proliferation. He also supported the Iran Freedom Support Act in 2006, which imposed sanctions but also provided funding for human rights and pro-democracy groups.

Graham and the hard right have been manufacturing controversy over Obama's relationship with Israel -- aided and abetted by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and financed by Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson. It was largely an (unsuccessful) effort to peel off Jewish voters from Obama.

Here are the facts, directly from Obama:
“Israel is a true friend, it is our greatest ally in the region and if Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel. I’ve made that clear throughout my presidency.”
What's really in play here is a Tea Party Tantrum, with not-so-subtle overtones of McCarthyism, which Graham tries to cover with glib Sunday morning yak show verbiage:
‘‘This is an in-your-face nomination of the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel,’’ Graham said on CNN. ‘‘I don’t know what his management experience is regarding the Pentagon — little if any — so I think it’s an extremely controversial choice.’’
I don't know what any nominee's Pentagon management experience is like until they have done it. And the only recent repeater is Donald Rumsfeld, a fact that makes a great argument for a fresh start.

Cruz's comments are far more troubling than loquacious Lindsay's. In declaring there is "not a lot of support for Chuck Hagel" he is either unaware that Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in seats or that the GOP intends to filibuster Hagel's nomination.

The party before country crowd is looking to take the nation hostage for rejecting their candidates and beliefs. That's closer to treason than McCarthyism.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why there can't be a Democratic nominee?

January 07, 2013 11:04 AM  

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