William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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DRIP, DRIP, DRIP – AT 7:57 A.M. ET:  It's now a foregone conclusion that Chuck Hagel will be confirmed as secretary of defense.  The Republicans have pretty much given up the fight and will permit an up-or-down vote on the nomination next week, when the Senate returns from recess.

As I said here yesterday, I think the GOP has given up far too early.  Each day, in the drip, drip, drip of politics, new information comes out about Hagel that makes him unacceptable to be secretary of defense.  His defenders are trotting out the traditional leftist charge of "McCarthyism" to describe any factual discussion of his past.  That term is used to shut down discussion, as if examining a man's qualifications for office is somehow criminal.  Consider this, from today's Daily Caller:

A pro-Hezbollah, pro-Hamas candidate for the Iranian presidency, a man linked to Iranian-controlled front groups, brought former Republican Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to speak at Rutgers University in 2007, according to another professor on campus.

Hooshang Amirahmadi, who led Rutgers’ Center for Middle Eastern Studies when Hagel came to campus, is the founder and president of the American-Iranian Council. He arranged for Hagel’s speech on March 2, 2007, the faculty source told The Daily Caller.

Iran’s Guardian Council cleared Amirahmadi to run for the presidency in 2013. Approval of the regime is required before candidates’ names can appear on the ballot. To be approved, candidates must be Shia, male, and committed to the Islamic revolution.

And...

Amirahmadi’s CV discloses that he has received financial support from the Alavi Foundation, a wealthy organization that the U.S. government has called “a front for the government of Iran.”

And IRS records provided to TheDC by FoundationSearch.com show that between 2003 and 2008, Rutgers University received $688,000 from the same foundation.

The New York Post reported in 2009 that the Alavi Foundation contributed $100,000 towards Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia University.

“We found evidence that the government of Iran really controlled everything about the foundation,” Adam Kaufmann, investigations chief at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, told the Post in 2009.

COMMENT:  This is one of a number of troubling incidents in Chuck Hagel's recent career.  Why would he accept that invitation?  Why has he historically taken positions sympathetic to the Iranian regime?  That changed recently, of course, in what is commonly called a "confirmation conversion" in Washington, when he magically changed many of his views in order to become secretary of defense.

Iran will be the top foreign-policy issue on the administration's agenda this year.  And look who the secretary of defense will be.

Hagel could easily have been stopped had the Republican Party not performed disgracefully in Senate races in 2010 nd 2012, losing easily winnable races by putting up clownish candidates in places like Nevada, Delaware, Missouri, Colorado and Indiana, conceding the Senate to the Democrats.  As we noted, Bob Woodward has been reporting that even some Senate Democrats have been calling the White House, concerned about having to vote for Hagel.  But the Dems have enough votes to confirm him, and their members will fall in line to avoid offending the president.  The Republican Party must learn the first lesson in politics:  There's no prize for second place.  When you lose, you lose, and there are consequences.

February 18,  2013