I would like to challenge the meme that Chuck Hagel is a Republican and, therefore, should not be supported in any fashion on the DailyKos. There are a lot of former Republicans who are now DailyKos members in good standing. A very important one once was, in case you didn't know.
People's opinions evolve. The warmongering talking heads are going through everything Senator Hagel has ever said with a very fine sieve to dredge up excuses to keep him from being nominated for Secretary of Defense for two main reasons: he is against going to war with Iran, and he is in favor of "paring down" the "bloated" defense budget.
President Obama has him on his short list for SecDef for a lot of good reasons:
1. Chuck Hagel, a decorated Viet Nam Vet, had Obama's back against fellow Viet Nam Vet, Senator McCain, the first go around when McCain questioned Obama's patriotism.
3. Chuck Hagel criticized the war in Iraq at a time when the warmongers questioned your patriotism for doing so, and spoke in favor of ending it.
Americans voted for Obama based on his reluctance to start a war with Iran, both in the primary against Hillary Clinton, who discussed the possibility of obliterating Iran, and against McCain, who sang about bomb, bomb, bombing Iran. They voted for Obama, because he promised he would end the war in Iraq.
Everyone here is correctly up in arms over the threat to gut Social Security now that the warmongers have recklessly spent us over a fiscal cliff on their endless series of wars based on lies, but no one seems to appreciate the reality that Chuck Hagel is one of the only politicians, who as Secretary of Defense, would have the guts and street cred to stand up to the war machine and cut the sacrosanct and out of control Pentagon budget before grandma is thrown under the bus.
Being a Viet Nam veteran with 2 purple hearts gives him the wherewithal to do this, which is why the war machine fears him and is vehemently smearing him, just as they've done to vets before him.
Let's go back to 2008: Viet Nam Veteran and Republican Senator John McCain vs. Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Before Senator Obama's trip to Iraq with Senators Hagel and Reed, who are both Viet Nam veterans, a WashPo/ABC poll reported 72% felt McCain would be a good Commander-in-Chief, whereas only 48% favored Obama.
That trip Obama took to Iraq with Senator Hagel was a huge boost to his campaign, and Senator Hagel went to bat for Senator Obama over and over again on the MSM talking head shows.
14 years ago, when "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was our nation's military policy on gays, Hagel said:
I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay—openly, aggressively gay, like Mr. Hormel—to do an effective job.In Behind the Ugly Attacks on Chuck Hagel, Amy Davidson in The New Yorker wrote:
Hagel apologized this week “to Ambassador Hormel and any L.G.B.T. Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights,” and more importantly said something about what he would do as Secretary of Defense, leading a post-Don’t Ask Don’t Tell military: “I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to L.G.B.T. military families.” Hormel has accepted his apology.As someone whose own career was damaged by antiquated attitudes about women, I don't like what Hagel said at all, but I think he said it, because he honestly was concerned about how being openly gay at that point in time would be perceived in foreign relations and whether it could hamper his ability to be effective, not out of hatred. How can people learn and grow if they're too afraid to speak their mind and converse freely? He was serving in Viet Nam at a time when the military discharged servicemen for being gay. It's intellectually dishonest to dig up something someone said 14 years ago when the world wasn't as accepting of gays and condemn it as if he said it today in a world that has made enough progress in gay rights to render his concerns essentially moot, and thus reprehensible.
I worked as an engineer over 25 years ago and wrote scientific software, which my company wanted to sell overseas. My company obviously had enough confidence in my ability to hire me and sell my product, but when it came time to send me to Europe, a higher up openly questioned whether clients may be reluctant to buy my software, knowing a woman wrote it. I hate to say it, but what that manager said may have been true at that time. My career was hurt by prevailing attitudes about women in science. I don't think my boss's boss hated me or hated women or thought women couldn't do good work, but I think he wanted to sell the software the best way he could at that point in time. If this incident happened in the context of today, what he said would be really out of whack and be grounds for lodging a formal complaint, but back then, it wasn't as black and white.
Where was the Neocon outrage when Obama appointed Larry Summers Treasury Secretary? In 2005, Larry Summers made a speech questioning whether the reason women were not proportionately working in science was due to a "different availability of aptitude at the high end," not discrimination. I called his office and offered to tell him how I was repeatedly told not to go for my Ph.D by several professors who threatened me that they or friends of theirs would unfairly administer the prelim to eliminate me. The prelim is conducted by individual departments, and in many cases, you don't get it back. I can attest first hand experience that it is not a fair and incorruptible national or state exam like the Med Board or Law Board, fields that also require the left side of the brain where women have excelled. Summers never returned my call. I doubt he raised the politically incorrect issue to start a dialog to help women, yet that didn't stop Obama from appointing him Treasury Secretary.
The MSM is also unduly focusing on Chuck Hagel incorrectly referring to the Israeli Lobby, as the Jewish Lobby and stating that he was a US Senator, not an Israeli Senator, during an interview with Aaron David Miller for his book, The Much Too Promised Land.
The MSM doesn't bother to provide the context of those two quotes in Miller's book, in which Miller laments:
[P]olitical pressures have taken a serious toll by conditioning a key branch of the American government to be reflexively pro-Israel at a time when serious questions need to be asked and debated about Middle East policy.
and made it clear that he admired Hagel for thinking outside of the box and telling it as he sees it:
Of all my conversations, the one with Hagel stands apart for its honesty and clarity.Paul Woodward in his post, ‘I’m a United States Senator. I’m not an Israeli senator’, also admires Hagel for his courage in speaking his mind:
How many American senators have the courage and integrity required to say this? At least one, but not many others. That one was the senator being quoted: Chuck Hagel.Senator Max Cleland, lauds Senator Hagel's outspoken veracity and critical thinking more colorfully:
There are two things I think are wonderful about Hagel. One is his experience as a combat infantryman in Vietnam; the other is experience on The Hill as a U.S. Senator.Former U.S. national security advisers, James L. Jones, Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Frank Carlucci wrote, In defense of Chuck Hagel, in the Washington Post:
But he also has the wisdom of Washington, and his years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. You can't piss on his boots and call it rain.
We strongly object, as a matter of substance and as a matter of principle, to the attacks on the character of former senator Chuck Hagel. Mr. Hagel is a man of unshakable integrity and wisdom who has served his country in the most distinguished manner in peace and war.This anti-Hagel attack ad, which aired on cable tv in the Washington DC area, menacingly depicts President Obama's and Senator Hagel's faces cut in pieces, shown through shards of glass. At the end of the ad, a pane of glass over Chuck Hagel's face explodes. The violent imagery in this hateful attack ad is appalling and unjustifiable.
He is a rare example of a public servant willing to rise above partisan politics to advance the interests of the United States and its friends and allies. Moreover, it is damaging to the quality of our civic discourse for prospective Cabinet nominees to be subjected to such vicious attacks on their character before an official nomination.
This nasty ad attacking Chuck Hagel brings to mind another against Max Cleland, a Viet Nam Vet, who lost three limbs, in which Senator Cleland's face was seen along with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, questioning Cleland's patriotism and falsely implying Cleland voted against homeland security after 9/11.
Chuck Hagel proved once again his courage and integrity to "cross the aisle" and support a worthy Democrat by offering Max Cleland to appear in an ad that would rebut Republican Saxby Chambliss' ugly ad.
Senator Max Cleland:
Saxby Chambliss got wind of what Hagel had proposed. He called Chuck seven times in one day begging him not to side with me. Hagel asked him to take the ad down. Instead, Chambliss modified the ad somewhat, but still ran it.
Cleland still burns with indignation when he recalls the campaign and the negative ads that hurt McCain during the 2000 primary in South Carolina and the Swift Boat Veterans ads that helped defeat John Kerry in 2004:Here we go again. Another decorated wounded combat veteran being swift boated.
"The attacks on McCain, Kerry and me, all decorated wounded combat veterans, are a shameful legacy of the Bush administration, and among the most shameful political stunts in the nation's history."
The timing of the vicious attacks against Chuck Hagel to intimidate Obama not to nominate him for Secretary of Defense, coming on the heels of thwarting Obama's first choice for Secretary of State, Susan Rice, puts President Obama in a difficult spot. If Obama allows the extreme right to veto yet another nominee, especially a man who crossed "enemy lines" to support his presidency, he will not appear as an unfettered Commander-in-Chief, but squarely under the thumb of powerful PACs and their dutiful smear machine.