Skip to main content

President Obama announces nominations of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense and John Brennan to be Director of the CIA. 01/07/2013.
The problem with Obama is that he's not Republican enough, say Republicans
Presidential nominations tend to bring out all the worst elements in politics. This article suffers from the usual Politico sickness of treating most tasks of our nation's government as a series of gossipy fights between the cool kids from the cool crowds (not saying they're not, mind you, but oughtn't we at least pretend a bit harder?) but the premise—that the nomination of Republican Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense represents, to Republicans, a particularly egregious snub of Bush era foreign policies—is worth noting.
[T]he conservative opposition to Hagel exceeds — in volume and intensity — almost any other national security uproar of Obama’s first term. And the criticism is more substantive than most Republican attacks on Obama’s foreign and national security policy. (At the height of the 2012 campaign, GOP candidate Mitt Romney struggled to explain how he’d handle conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya differently, except that he’d be stronger than Obama in some hard-to-define way.)

The groups blasting Hagel’s nomination, such as the Emergency Committee for Israel, see him not just as one more data point in a flawed Obama foreign policy but as the most brazen attack yet on long-untouchable tenets of center-right foreign policy.

Again, let's summarize here. The Democratic president needs a new secretary of defense. The president picks a Republican for the spot. The president then faces a "national security uproar" because the Republican he picked for that spot is not seen as Republican enough, with Republicans demanding the president pick someone who is more Republican.

What would have happened if Obama nominated, heaven forfend, a Democrat? Would we have to be delivering a new truckload of smelling salts to the senate?

It's at least a little interesting that the Republican Party considers the nomination of a prominent former senate Republican to the president's cabinet to be Obama trying to snub them, or pick fights with them, or otherwise rub their noses in his recent electoral success. Presumably, the president was never going to pick a hardcore neoconservative because (1) he is not a hardcore neoconservative himself, (2) the president in general picks people he thinks he can at least vaguely get along with, ideologically, and (3) neoconservatism has been conclusively proven in recent real-world scenarios to suck. But the complaints from Republicans are explicitly that Hagel does not endorse the neoconservative checklist of how to efficiently screw up world affairs, and that's somehow an insult to them.

There's something pathological about that. It's fine and expected to be curmudgeonly after losing an election, but to see something as obviously (at least, in past years) "bipartisan" or "centrist"—staffing a top administration post with someone from the opposing side used to be the sort of thing the village op-ed voices would swoon at, so obviously bipartisan and grown-up it was—as an apparent personal insult is just, well, weird.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site