William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE SPECTER – AT 8:35 A.M. ET:  There is a specter hanging over America, the specter of an absolutely awful presidential appointment, one that would put a disgrace into a sensitive Cabinet position.

There is widespread speculation, backed by good reporting, that President Obama will nominate former "Republican" Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to become the next secretary of defense.  I put the word in quotes because Hagel's relationship to the Republican Party is about as strong as my relationship to the Arab League.

Hagel is a Republican turncoat, whose views on foreign policy are well outside the mainstream of both political parties.  They are the views of the Barack Obama left wing.  Hagel was actually John McCain's campaign manager in 2000, but then turned sharply against the Bush administration and his own party, refusing even to endorse McCain in 2008, and recently endorsing Democratic candidates on a number of levels.  His wife ardently campaigned for Obama in 2008.  Hagel was essentially forced out of the U.S. Senate because he couldn't have gotten his party's renomination for his job.  He has since become a harsh critic of the Republican Party.

The Obama-owned press is already rewriting history, its general job, and asserting that Hagel's appointment to the defense post would be a sign of Obama's "bipartisanship."  Yeah, right.  That would be like Britain, during our Revolutionary War, sending Benedict Arnold to the House of Lords and claiming that King George was reaching out to the colonists.

Hagel was a determined opponent of the Iraq war and the successful surge.  He opposes sanctions on Iran and always has.  He wants to eliminate American nuclear weapons.  He is decidedly anti-Israel, and was one of the few senators who refused to embrace the American-Israel alliance.  He doesn't seem to have much of a problem with dictatorships.  He is all the things we really think Obama is.

From Adam Kredo in the Washington Free Beacon:

Democrats and Republicans are expressing opposition to President Barack Obama’s possible selection of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R., Nebr.) as the next secretary of defense.

Hagel, who is reported to be on Obama’s shortlist to head the Pentagon, has long raised red flags on Capitol Hill for his controversial foreign policy views, which include sharp criticism of Israel, supporting the elimination of America’s nuclear arsenal, and pushing for direct unconditional talks with Iran.

Hagel’s foreign policy views placed him in the minority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle during his 12 years in the Senate. His recent work to strip the U.S. of its nuclear arsenal has isolated him even further.

Hagel’s ascension to the nation’s top defense post could imperil U.S. national security at a time when increased threats are emanating from a Middle East in flux, insiders warned.

This is the second time that Hagel has been placed on Obama’s shortlist for the post. It is believed that he “would be a comfortable ideological fit for the president,” according to Foreign Policy magazine’s Josh Rogin.

I'm afraid that's right.  Obama would be knifing in the back many individual groups and voters who supported him just a month ago.

Key aides in the Senate are already indicating that Hagel would have a tough time winning approval from Congress should he be nominated.

“Chuck Hagel embodies the ‘blame America first’ approach to foreign policy,” said one senior GOP Senate aide who would be involved in a possible confirmation process.

“He is anti-Israel and prefers a softer approach to Iran,” the aide said. “If you wanted to carry out a full-scale American retreat from the world and sell out U.S. allies along the way, Chuck Hagel is the right man for the job.”

And...

Hagel voted against tightening sanctions on Iran multiple times during his tenure in the Senate and positioned himself as a vocal supporter of increased relations with Tehran.

Critics consider his approach toward Iran as dangerous, particularly as the regime inches closer to obtaining nuclear status.

And...

Anti-Israel groups have praised Hagel for his work to weaken the U.S. alliance with the Jewish state.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) awarded Hagel its “Outstanding Public Service Award” in 2008.

And...

Hagel’s efforts to abolish nuclear arms have also caused concerns among foreign policy observers who fear that further cuts to America’s nuclear arsenal could leave the country vulnerable to China, Russia, and other nuclear powers.

He has worked on behalf of Global Zero, an anti-nuclear organization that seeks to eliminate the U.S.’s intercontinental ballistic missile force and prevent America from responding to a nuclear strike for at least 24 to 72 hours.

“The nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense, should it happen, would mark a further, worrying leftward lurch of the Obama administration,” said Frank Gaffney, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.

COMMENT:  Nice, huh?  The nomination of turncoat Hagel would be a signal to Iran that we have no intention of doing anything about its nuclear-weapons program. 

And what message would it send to American men and women serving in uniform around the world?  I'd watch for a plunge in morale.

I think that even many Democrats would be dismayed by a Hagel nomination.  But would either Dems or Republicans in the Senate have the spine to reject him?  I wonder about that. 

That Hagel is being considered at all tells us what we need to know about Barack Hussein Obama.  I'm hopeful that, in the end, Obama will back down and realize that Hagel is a jerk too far.  And to call Hagel a bipartisan appointment would bring laughter, not cheers.

Announcements may come as soon as next week.

December 11,  2012