Upon President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, Politico celebrated the move as proof of Obama’s “bipartisan spirit.”
Politico notes that Hagel has detractors on both sides of the aisle but posits that this makes him a great choice:
But inside the White House, the choice makes sense. It appeals to Obama’s bipartisan spirit — and the optics aren’t bad, either — to have any Republican as Defense secretary when Obama is seeking to end the war in Afghanistan and dramatically reduce the Pentagon’s budget.
Obama’s mythic sense of “bipartisanship” is deftly laid low by Peggy Noonan, who wrote last week that Obama just loves to taunt.
Politico buries at the bottom of its long piece any listing of just why Hagel is opposed by some on the left and right.
To name just some of Hagel’s problems, in 2006 he used the derogatory term “Jewish lobby” to rail against Jews in the U.S., showing a penchant toward anti-Semitism. Hagel stood against putting pressure on Hamas claiming that both the U.S. and Israel should negotiate with the terror group. And for those on the left, Hagel has shown a callousness toward gays.
Former Clinton operative Lanny Davis is one Democrat calling for Hagel to explain himself over his many anti-Semitic remarks. Politico does have another post detailing some of the critics’ case against Hagel.
It might seem ideal for Obama to have a nominal Republican installed as Sec Def. right at the time when he’s poised to slash the military’s budget. Being able to blame a Republican for such cuts would help give Obama cover, and a fawning press will be happy to assist in that effort.