William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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HAGEL – AT 10:36 A.M. ET:  Latest reports this morning are that President Obama will, tomorrow, officially nominate Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, setting off an enormous confirmation battle.

It is an awful appointment.  Hagel is contentious, controversial, given to wild statements, and has opposed the very actions against the Iran nuclear program that have gained bipartisan support in Congress.  One must assume that, with this appointment, Obama is revealing his true views, views that are far to the left of even the mainstream of his own party.

Hagel will be presented as a bipartisan appointment, but the fact is that his loyalty to the Republican Party ended years ago.  That "bipartisan" lie will require exposure.  You won't get it from much of the mainstream media.  CNN is already parroting the Obama line about the "bipartisan" Hagel.

As we've said, Hagel's problem falls partly into the "drip-drip-drip" category.  Something negative comes out about him almost every day.  The latest is a statement he made that the Iraq war was wrecking the American military.  Now, one can honestly argue the virtues, or lack of them, of invading Iraq, but Iraq was not wrecking our military.  We fought World War II all over the globe, and it didn't wreck our military.  We have to wonder what next Hagelism will be revealed.

Hagel does get some support, most of it from the anti-Israel crowd and, sadly, from the "pro-Israel but leftist" crowd.  He also gets total support from those who think we've been too tough on Iran.  His appointment will send a message to the Iranians that they have nothing to fear.  Great move, Barack.  Maybe that's why you aren't known as a great international strategist.

It will be incumbent upon Obama to restate the foreign-policy positions of his campaign, especially regarding Iran, if he nominates Hagel.  It will also be incumbent upon Obama to reassure service members that he isn't about to cut defense spending to the bone, which is what Hagel appears to want.

Every move Obama has made since the election indicates that he has chosen a radical, divisive course for his second term.  But Republican disarray and a fawning press may allow him to get away with too much.

January 6,  2013