Yet there's a bizarre tradition of sorts where Democratic presidents suddenly act like Republicans are right—that only they can run our national affairs—and thus appoint Republicans to head the Pentagon. Like every Democratic president who has preceded him except for Jimmy Carter, President Barack Obama fell victim to that kind of thinking when he first took office. And if the latest trial balloon has merit, he's set to kick off his second term in the same fashion by nominating former arch-conservative Sen. Chuck Hagel.
As Ilan Goldenberg of the National Security Network wrote a few years ago, when this nonsense last came up:
Appointing a Republican as Secretary of Defense could send a message that Democrats are still too uncomfortable with the military to take on the responsibility of defending our country by themselves. Moreover, there's no reason not to appoint a Democrat. The party has a deep defense bench that includes military and defense advisors for the Obama and Clinton campaigns—many of whom have served in the Pentagon in previous administrations.Hagel is a Republican who voted for all of George W. Bush's pet wars. He got a 0 percent rating from NARAL and the Human Rights Campaign as the Pentagon deals with further integrating women into combat roles and implementing the DADT repeal. And yes, while he has reneged on his past support for our nation's disastrous wars, there are plenty of good qualified Democrats who weren't idiotic enough to support them in the first place.
It's time for Democrats to embrace the fact that yes, they know what the hell they're doing on matters of national security.
Sign the petition urging President Barack Obama to select a qualified Democrat to run the Pentagon, and not yet another Republican who got it so wrong when it mattered.