William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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YEAH, RIGHT – AT 8:10 A.M. ET:  The Chuck Hagel sales job has begun, and it is taking the usual form when a nominee has messed things up or is controversial. 

Hagel is making the rounds to "reassure" people in the defense establishment that he's actually on their side.  And, as usual, he's claiming that his views have been "misrepresented."  Gee, you'd think that if they'd been "misrepresented," he'd have done something to correct the record long before now.  From AP:

In private meetings with top military and defense leaders and staff, Obama's pick for defense secretary counters critics who say he is soft on Iran and would be the most antagonistic secretary toward Israel.

U.S. President Barack Obama's pick for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, is meeting with senior Pentagon staff to try to set the record straight about his stand on Iran, saying he backs strong international sanctions against Tehran and believes all options, including military action, should be on the table, defense officials said Wednesday.

In private meetings with top military and defense leaders and staff this week, Hagel sought to counter critics who say he is soft on Iran and would be the most antagonistic secretary toward Israel. Senior defense officials who have met with Hagel said he told them that his views on Iran have been misrepresented and that he has long backed international sanctions.

And...

A handful of Republican senators, including Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., have already announced opposition to their former GOP colleague, and some Democrats have expressed unease with the choice. But it is likely that, in the end, senators will confirm the Vietnam veteran — who was twice awarded the Purple Heart — as Obama's third defense chief.

COMMENT:  That's the current betting in Washington, that eventually Hagel will be confirmed.  The sales job will work.  But if this man's views have been so "misrepresented," what does that say about his ability to articulate his positions?  As secretary of defense, he will have to deal with foreign nations.  He will be walking on eggshells.  He cannot be misunderstood.

Is Hagel really going to argue that he was actually for the very successful surge in Iraq, when in fact all his statements were against it? 

The fact is that Hagel hasn't been misrepresented.  He has a long and disturbing record.  Surely the president was aware of that record, of Hagel's habit of shooting off his mouth, blaming America first, and favoring deep cuts in defense.  While Hagel is presented as a "bipartisan" pick because of his past in the Republican Party, surely the president knows that Hagel hasn't really been a Republican in years. 

I fear that Hagel was appointed exactly because of his real views, and that we're in for a deceitful four years...pretty much like the last four.  The president is moving this country further left, and the cheering you here is from the American media, and from those parts of Obama's base that believe they'll get larger and larger checks from the government.

January 10,  2013