The Conversation

Chuck Hagel "Being There"

In response to Chuck Schumer: Chuck Hagel Didn't Know That Jews Had Been Subject to Discrimination and Suspicions About Their Loyalty, and When I So Informed Him, He Nearly Cried:

Rush Limbaugh did a funny bit on Hagel a few weeks ago - the day after his terrible confirmation hearing - that I think you'd enjoy, Ace. It cracked me up...

It seems Rush had Hagel pretty well pegged in 2002:

 RUSH: I'll take you back to this program and me back in 2002. This is Chuck Hagel, and I need to do a tiny bit of table setting here. In 2002, the media loved Chuck Hagel. Chuck Hagel was off the Republican reservation by then. He's a Republican senator from Nebraska. By 2002, he's questioning everything. He always was a RINO, a Republican-in-name-only. He was always a moderate Republican, but I'm telling you...

Back then, he was constantly disagreeing with Bush, and at this point he's McCain's best friend. Back in the 2000 campaign, McCain said that he would offer Hagel secretary of defense if he was elected. They've since had a falling out because Hagel endorsed Obama in 2008, not McCain. That's why McCain humiliated Hagel on his thoughts on the surge in Hagel's hearings. But to understand this sound bite, you've got to believe me on this.

Trust me, if you weren't around, that the media and everybody loved Hagel, and not just that. They thought he was brilliant! They thought that he had a special intellect that set him apart. That's why, by the way, the entire ruling class -- Republicans, Democrats, elected officials, media people -- are beside themselves. They're shocked at how poorly Hagel did yesterday. They're shocked at how ill-prepared he was. They are stunned at how unprepared he was. They are overwhelmed by how stupid he sounded.

But just 11 years ago, this guy was among the smartest politicians around, and I saw the need to comment on it.

RUSH 2002: Upchuck Hagel from Nebraska, who (sigh) I swear I don't know what he thinks. He just asks questions but everyone answers them. He gets all this credit for asking a bunch of questions.

"Shall we go it alone or shall we do it with others?"

"Oh, what a brilliant mind is Chuck Hagel!"

"We have choices to make in the twenty-first century. We can be a nation of peace or we can be a nation at war."

"He's brilliant! Would you listen to this?"

It's almost like Peter Sellers in that movie. Oh, what was the name of that movie? He played... (interruption) Who? Being There. Right. He says nothing, and everybody thinks he's the most brilliant guy in the world. "Well, in the spring, the plants grow," and he's a guest on all the talk shows for having a brilliant mind when it comes to politics.

RUSH: Peter Sellers played that character. "There's growth in the spring." Oh, yes! Chauncey was the character. But it was Hagelmania back then. That's why they were just shocked yesterday.

On a more serious note:

Daniel Pipes' open letter to Chuck Schumer is a must read. I learned some things about the Senator from New York that I did not know - like....

 As you noted with pride in an April 2010 interview, your family name "comes from the word shomer, which means guardian" in Hebrew. You mentioned that your ancestors were guardians of the Jewish ghetto in the Ukraine, adding: "I believe HaShem [God], actually, gave me my name, as one of my roles that is very important in the United States Senate is to be a shomer for Israel. I will continue to be that with every bone in my body."


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