I've followed the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense somewhat sporadically. The hearings were carried live and I watched a bit of that circus. It's become conventional wisdom that Hagel's performance was "appalling" or any number of descriptions.
What I watched had little to do with what Hagel knew about defense matters, very little. Hagel did have a prepared statement that was average fare, one might say. But, when the Republicans on the committee asked questions - they didn't ask questions, they pontificated and blustered and ... brought out the innuendo and partisan knives: against a fellow Republican! A couple of questions came up that asked Hagel to specifiy one or another view about Defense. He answered generally and not really specifically, but he was ready to get into the weeds in written responses, or when confirmed and he had the chance to meet with his advisors.
What Hagel did, it seems to me, was come to the committee as a former senator, much like former Senator Alan J. Dixon did in 1994 after he was nominated to be chairman of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. I attended his confirmation hearing before the same committee Hagel came before (Senate Armed Services) when Sen. Sam Nunn was chairman.
The reason I attended had more to do with the fact that I had recently applied for a job with the BRAC commission and not so much that I was interested in politics (though I was and am).
But, here's the thing that seemed similar to the two hearings in one respect: Dixon came without notes. And then? The senators fawned over him for taking a 'thankless' job and confirmed him on voice vote three days later! Dixon answered questions how? He answered them GENERALLY, just as Hagel has done.
Leave the man a alone for chris' sake! Confirm him and get your wing-bat jollies satisfied on Fox News (shitheads). Or, as Seth Myers observed about McCain and Graham on last Saturday's SNL:
MEYERS - "Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham this week said they would not proceed with the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense until the Obama Administration provided more information about last year's Benghazi attack. Then, and only then, will they return to their balcony seats on the Muppet Show."See what you are to the rest of us, senators? COMEDY! Ha!!