In a sign that Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense may have been long anticipated, several prominent left-wing figures have emerged as supporters of a forthcoming biography of Hagel.
The biography, Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward, by University of Nebraska journalism professor Charlyne Berens, is due out July 1, 2013, and appears to be part of a larger effort to position Hagel for bigger things.
For example, John D. Podesta, former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton and 2008 transition team leader for president-elect Barack Obama, recommends the book thus:
[This] terrific biography brings Chuck Hagel’s straight shooting, courageous character to life. The Senator is one of kind on Capitol Hill, and Beren’s book leaves the reader waiting to witness the next chapter in Hagel’s remarkable political career.
Podesta is also the president of George Soros’ Center for American Progress. In that role, he steers the left-wing agenda in Washington, supervising a network of institutions and activist groups that moves the “progressive” agenda forward and keeps the left’s personnel employed.
Another blurb came from former Senator Bob Kerrey (D-ND), who wrote:
After reading Charlyne Beren’s very thorough study of Chuck Hagel, I am more than ever proud to call this fearless, outspoken, passionate, and principled man “friend.” Choosing conscience over conformity, he represents the best of bipartisanship and patriotism.
The fact that Podesta and others would weigh in on a lowly journalism professor’s book suggests a strong interest within the institutional left in promoting Hagel and his views.
There is also an overlap between Podesta and Hagel on Israel, in that Podesta’s organizations frequently push criticism of Israel to an extreme.
For example, one of Podesta’s employees at the Center for American Progress, Zaid Jilani, left last year after a scandal over his use of antisemitic language (“Israel firster”) on his personal Twitter account. He now blogs for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee PAC. Faiz Shakir, who faced criticism over aggressive hostility to Israel on the Center for American Progress blog, also left and now works for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Another Podesta-linked organization, Media Matters for America, faced similar accusations over antisemitic comments by Senior Fellow M. J. Rosenberg, who subsequently left Media Matters.