Our Long National Nightmare…

… of actually having a Democratic Secretary of Defense in a Democratic administration will soon be coming to an end when Chuck Hagel is confirmed. Assuming Hagel serves out Obama’s second term, we will have had a Democrat as SecDef for precisely 19 months out of the past 20 years running from Clinton’s second term to the end of Obama’s admin.

I actually like Chuck Hagel… but, you know, I vote for Democrats because I like the idea of having actual, no shit, Democrats in charge of important stuff, like the Fed and DoD. Call me crazy if you will. I have to admit, this is a better situation than having Michele Flournoy in charge, but we actually have a reasonably deep bench of very qualified folks — John Hamre, Richard Danzig, Sam Nunn, Wes Clark, Ash Carter, etc.

It rubs me the wrong way.

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221 replies
  1. 1
    TR says:

    Wes Clark, yes.

    But fuck Sam Nunn up the ass with the original text of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    I like Wes, but I think he’s taken himself out of politics.

    I read that Obama and Hagel have a personal connection and that, to the extent party affiliation mattered, it was because of a desire to have a Republican take the lead on reducing the size of Defense.

    I guess we’ll see how well that works out.

  3. 3
    gf120581 says:

    I understand your complaints, but given that the choice of Hagel is essentially a big middle finger to the neo-cons, I don’t really care about his party affiliation. From the way the GOP has largely treated him, he’s all but left the party anyway.

    Oddly enough, the one Democrat we have had as SOD (Panetta) started out as a Republican.

  4. 4
    Raven says:

    What outfit were you in again Bernie?

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    @TR: DADT was a liberalization of existing policy. Before DADT they could and did ask and you had damn well better tell.

    I’m ok with having a republican at SecDef when budget cuts are coming. He still takes marching orders from the White House and there’s one less Dem who is blamed for doing what needs to be done.

  6. 6
    Ash Can says:

    If Hagel does a good job, I don’t care what fucking party he belongs to.

  7. 7
    Keith G says:

    Who the fuck cares? The Prez sets policy. He and Hagel are simpatico. This is going to work out just fine regardless of concerns about arbitrary labels.

  8. 8
    Hill Dweller says:

    Republicans are trying to block Hagel because they know Obama wanted Republican cover for significant military spending cuts.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    @Baud:

    I also vaguely recall that Wes is tied with the Clintons, so I can see why Obama might not want him as Sec Def.

  10. 10
    dr. bloor says:

    Sam Fucking Nunn over Hagel, because Hagel has an R after his name?

    I’m moving to Guatabelizedominica when it becomes President Finel.

  11. 11
    Raven says:

    @Baud: Wes was a fucking general. Chuck was a line doggie. Fuck some generals.

  12. 12

    @Ash Can:

    If Hagel does a good job, I don’t care what fucking party he belongs to.

    Thank you. Moreover, if this pick is a strategic “No, but seriously, FUCK YOU” to the neo-cons, and a way to insulate President Obama during a full-court reduction of the defense budget, I really don’t see the point of all this whining.

  13. 13
    Corner Stone says:

    @Raven: Why?

  14. 14
    Mandalay says:

    @gf120581:

    the choice of Hagel is essentially a big middle finger to the neo-cons

    This.

    I have no idea what Hagel said or did to win over that stinkfuck Schumer, but I sincerely hope blackmail and deeply incriminating photos were involved, and retained for possible future use.

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    @Raven:

    Fair enough, but I don’t think that played a part in Obama’s selection.

  16. 16
    Raven says:

    @Corner Stone: Is your name Bernie?

  17. 17
    Corner Stone says:

    @Baud:

    I also vaguely recall that Wes is tied with the Clintons, so I can see why Obama might not want him as Sec Def.

    Why? You concerned we might secretly bomb Srebinca?

  18. 18
    burnspbesq says:

    Hagel can preside over significant cuts at DoD because he’s equivalent to Nixon-to-China.

    I am curious, however, to find out just what Obama had to give away to get Schumer’s vote.

  19. 19
    dr. bloor says:

    @Mandalay: Schumer was never going to shoot his wad to keep Hagel out. He keeps his ammo dry to keep the money boys comfortable.

  20. 20
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mandalay:

    I have no idea what Hagel said or did to win over that stinkfuck Schumer, but I sincerely hope blackmail and deeply incriminating photos were involved, and retained for possible future use.

    Hagel probably promised not to drone anyone making more than seven figures a year in income.
    Chuckie was good with that.

  21. 21

    It rubs me the wrong way.

    It would appear that you and your delicate feelings have no idea what it’s going to take to win The Long War.

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone:

    No. Pure politics. Obama wants someone who is fully behind his agenda, and a Clinton ally might make decisions with an eye toward a possible Clinton run in 2016.

  23. 23
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Baud:

    I like Wes, but I think he’s taken himself out of politics.

    HA

    I believe if you review the history, it’s clear the Democratic powers that be TOOK Wes Clark out of politics.

    He was saying way to many true and uncomfortable things.

  24. 24
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Raven:

    What outfit were you in again Bernie?

    WTF?

  25. 25
    Corner Stone says:

    @Baud: You mean like the Sec State for the last 4 years?
    Paranoid fuck.
    Erhmahgawd! It’s HillBilly Clinton!

  26. 26
    Todd says:

    Maybe if Obama weren’t so busy selling us out and kicking hippies in the face, he could recess appoint Bill Ayers as SecDef after the inevitable filibuster.

    Or better yet, he could go for the gusto and name Catherine MacKinnon for SecDef, and recess appoint her after she isn’t even voted on. Sure, she’s no Andrea Dworkin, but would that be progressive enough?!?

  27. 27
    Todd says:

    Maybe if Obama weren’t so busy selling us out and kicking hippies in the face, he could recess appoint Bill Ayers as SecDef after the inevitable filibuster.

    Or better yet, he could go for the gusto and name Catherine MacKinnon for SecDef, and recess appoint her after she isn’t even voted on. Sure, she’s no Andrea Dworkin, but would that be progressive enough?!?

  28. 28
    Mandalay says:

    @Baud:

    I also vaguely recall that Wes is tied with the Clintons, so I can see why Obama might not want him as Sec Def.

    I think it is more likely that Clark disqualified himself by palin’ around with Todd Palin in a weird reality TV show.

    http://www.tnr.com/stars-earn-stripes-wesley-clark

    I once thought that Wes Clark was awesome, and wanted him to become our President. Now I have no idea what the hell I was thinking.

  29. 29
    Todd says:

    Maybe if Obama weren’t so busy selling us out and kicking hippies in the face, he could recess appoint Bill Ayers as SecDef after the inevitable filibuster.

    Or better yet, he could go for the gusto and name Catherine MacKinnon for SecDef, and recess appoint her after she isn’t even voted on. Sure, she’s no Andrea Dworkin, but would that be progressive enough?!?

  30. 30
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mandalay:

    I have no idea what Hagel said or did to win over that stinkfuck Schumer

    Hopefully it doesn’t involve sucking Avigdor Lieberman’s dick.

  31. 31
    Doug Galt says:

    Sam Nunn…really?

  32. 32
    dogwood says:

    @burnspbesq:

    He didn’t have to “give away” anything to get Schumer’s vote. Chuck was always gonna support Hagel; he just had to put himself in the spotlight for awhile, that’s all. Schumer is a tv Senator, nothing more.

  33. 33
    Baud says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I just recall reading that he was doing consulting and other types of private sector work, with only minimal public exposure. I really haven’t followed the whole story with him.

  34. 34
    Maude says:

    @Raven:
    Hagel will make a difference at DoD. For the good.

  35. 35
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Raven: FTW.

  36. 36
    scav says:

    Did we somehow fail to elect Bernard again?

  37. 37
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mandalay:

    I once thought that Wes Clark was awesome, and wanted him to become our President. Now I have no idea what the hell I was thinking.

    Why?

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Ha. Nothing paranoid about it. Obama essentially made a political deal with Clinton which gave her State as her fiefdom and helped unify the party. Politics as well, but different calculations.

  39. 39
    burnspbesq says:

    Dan Larison’s poorly disguised glee at what the Hagel nomination is doing to the more unhinged folks on the right is really a thing of beauty.

    Continue melting down and eating your young, wingnuts. We have plenty of popcorn.

  40. 40
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: Yeah, that was more silly than usual.

    Gawd, there’s been a lot of that going around.

  41. 41
    Jeremy says:

    Hagel is good friends with Obama and they have similar views when it comes to foreign policy. Obama picked Kerry, Hagel, and Biden as VP because of the relationship he has with them and the similar views they hold. So who cares if Hagel is a republican. Many administrations over the years have included people from the opposite party in a cabinet so now why is it an issue when Obama does it ?

  42. 42
    Raven says:

    Fuck you dopes. The first fucking enlisted man ever as Secretary of Defense and you wanted a general or some goddamn academic. Fuck you.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Raven:

    Fuck you dopes. The first fucking enlisted man ever as Secretary of Defense and you wanted a general or some goddamn academic. Fuck you.

    Get over yourself. You served and that’s over. Quit living in the past.

  45. 45
    Corner Stone says:

    @Raven: Don’t get all pissy with me. I wanted Stan Lee.

  46. 46
    Big Daddy says:

    @Raven: What outfit were you in, Raven?

  47. 47
    mvr says:

    He was my Senator (last R I ever voted for – not that I did it often, but the Iraq war was a fiasco and someone needed to say it and he was at least saying it). His staff actually called me at home one time for my opinion on an issue, I think because they could predict what I would say. His instincts about our wars seemed to me to be right, even if doing much with them as a Republican in the early aughts was difficult. Too often by my lights he had trouble continuing his opposition in the face of overwhelming party opposition. In this administration, his instincts might actually have an impact.

    All in all, I’m happy with this choice and I respect the guy, even if I think he should have stuck to his guns even more than he did. I expect vets will be much better treated as a result of this appointment, and that is a plus.

  48. 48
    gf120581 says:

    @dogwood: Most likely that was it. Schumer was never going to go against a newly reelected Obama, but Chuck has never passed up an opportunity to get some media time. As Bob Dole once quipped, the most dangerous place to be in D.C. is between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera.

  49. 49
    Baud says:

    @Raven:

    I didn’t mean to imply a preference. I just used to like Wes when he was more active in politics. Happy with Hagel (particularly because of his enemies) and am happy for the grunts that they’ll have one of their own in there.

  50. 50
    eemom says:

    @Corner Stone:
    @Raven:

    Y’all two have a nice repartee when you’re not talking about fuckin football.

  51. 51
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Raven: I agree. It just has a whole lot more power from you, as we probably all know what unit I was in, which is to say none.

    @Yutsano: My thoughts precisely. I had no idea I’d offended burnsie so as to deserve that. I’ll be more careful. Ick.

  52. 52
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq: Brain bleach now please and thank you.

  53. 53
    Keith G says:

    @Baud:

    Obama essentially made a political deal with Clinton which gave her State as her fiefdom and helped unify the party

    Change I should believe in?

    I thought it was because he cared about the quality of his administration and was going to be a new kind of political leader. I feel betrayed.

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    @Baud:

    Obama essentially made a political deal with Clinton which gave her State as her fiefdom and helped unify the party. Politics as well, but different calculations.

    Yeah. He said, “Do your job the way I know you can and help me kick some ass around the globe.”
    And she said, “Thank you Mr. President.”
    Fin

  55. 55
    Jeremy says:

    @Baud: Exactly ! There are some Clintonites in the party who still love the Clintons(though I view Bill Clinton as a mediocre president) and were upset because Hillary didn’t win. Obama gave her a position for political reasons.

  56. 56
    Baud says:

    @Keith G:

    You should believe in the change. Clinton was an excellent choice, quite apart from the political benefits.

  57. 57
    Todd says:

    @Raven:

    Fuck you dopes. The first fucking enlisted man ever as Secretary of Defense and you wanted a general or some goddamn academic. Fuck you.

    A thousand times this.

  58. 58
    FlipYrWhig says:

    In my memory at least Sam Nunn is way off the charts anti-gay and on the scale of reliable/faithful Democrats somewhere between Joe Lieberman and Bob Kerrey.

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone:

    When she was selected, I was worried about the possibility of Obama and Clinton clashing a lot and the media eating it up. Their ability to work smoothly together (at least publicly) has been a pleasant and welcome surprise.

  60. 60
    Archrachno says:

    Would you feel better if Hagel switched parties after confirmation?

  61. 61
    Raven says:

    @Big Daddy: Rear with the gear dog. 7th ID Korea, 1st Signal Vietnam.

  62. 62
    Raven says:

    @Baud: That was a beehive round, nothing specific.

  63. 63
    Raven says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Fuck you punk. Go back to your finger painting until your mommy makes you go to bed.

  64. 64
    jmadden88@Hotmail.com says:

    Hagel is, I’m assuming and I tend to believe, the one who can, or at least has the best chance to, ram significant defense cuts past the military-McCain-Sunday Show complex. We’ll see.

    Sam Nunn?

  65. 65
    Suffern ACE says:

    Normally I’d agree, but I’m kind of glad Panetta is gone. He would have been fighting against defense cuts much harder than Hagel will.

  66. 66
    dmsilev says:

    @Raven:Are you sure about that?

    (checks Wikipedia)

    Nope. James Forrestal, Melvin Laird, Caspar Weinberger, and William Perry all served as enlisted men, though all of them did eventually become officers. Perry served an entire hitch in the ranks, and some years later did an officer stint as part of a ROTC program, so that might count as primarily enlisted.

    Side note: Robert McNamara’s middle name is ‘Strange’.

  67. 67
    dmsilev says:

    @Raven:Are you sure about that?

    (checks Wikipedia)

    Nope. James Forrestal, Melvin Laird, Caspar Weinberger, and William Perry all served as enlisted men, though all of them did eventually become officers. Perry served an entire hitch in the ranks, and some years later did an officer stint as part of a ROTC program, so that might count as primarily enlisted.

    Side note: Robert McNamara’s middle name is ‘Strange’.

  68. 68
    Tonybrown74 says:

    Sam Nunn?

    Is you crazy!?

    Were you too young, or do you not remember the 90s when Democratic Senator Sam Nunn (among others) stabbed President Clinton in the back WRT gays in the military? He, and all those disloyal Democrats, along with the Joint Chiefs (including Powell) is why we ended up with the “compromise” that was Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue (Ha!).

    You know, I’ve always thought that a lot of bullshit that Obama goes through, reminds me of the Clinton years. Not because of the scandals (Obama having extremely scandal-free administration). But due to the fact that Obama, like Clinton, was being attacked mercilessly from both the GOP and Democrats/liberals, that I felt compelled to constantly defend him from the crazy, even when there was (and still is) plenty to criticize him for.

    It’s like you cannot have that rational debate, because even our own side is either ignorant of the facts, or flat out lie about what is going on.

  69. 69
    Gian says:

    @dr. bloor: @eemom: for some reason I get flashbacks to the 2000 election and the screaming about ” military ballots”
    Maybe it was the mention of Lieberman

  70. 70
    Bernard Finel says:

    @Raven: No, I wanted a fucking Democrat. We’ve had Bill Cohen, Bob Gates, and now Chuck Hagel. Three of the most recent four Secretaries of Defense under Democratic presidents will have been Republican. It is absurd and it plays into all sorts of prejudices in the military and elsewhere that killing bin Laden aside, Dems are weak on defense. Well, Dems are not weak on defense. There are plenty of excellent Democratic candidates for senior leadership positions in DoD, and there is no reason to nominate Republicans 75% of the fucking time for the top job.

  71. 71
    Big Daddy says:

    @Raven: Roger that. I understand Bernard’s viewpoint, but am personally glad to see Sen Hagel get nominated. I love that his nomination pisses Lindsey Graham off, but more importantly . . . I think Hagel will do a great job.

  72. 72
    Raven says:

    @dmsilev: Everyone in the military starts out as an enlisted person. Has nothing to do with the criteria I’m talking about.

    eta You can argue that academy pukes are never enlisted.

  73. 73
    Keith G says:

    @Baud: What I don’t believe in is you shitting on General Clark’s honor in service to his country and having no evidence that he would put base, personal political intrigue above the duties of office and service to his President. I never supported the man, but he paid his dues in service to this country in a way you never have only to have you talk smack about him.

    Way to go, fellow Democrat. Way to go.

  74. 74
    burnspbesq says:

    @Yutsano:

    This party is BYOBB. I thought you knew that.

  75. 75
    General Stuck says:

    I don’t think it’s a slam dunk for Hagel getting confirmed, and yes, I would prefer a dem as well, but for specific reasons at this particular point in our history, Hagel does have some important pluses going for him. One of those, unfortunately for him, and Obama, will be the parade of disgruntled former staffers the wingnuts will let loose in his c onfimation hearing. This was something I had read about years ago, about how Hagel treated his staff like shit and along with Ted Stevens was rated the worst person in congress to work for. I have no idea the individual stories behind this, but we are going to find them out. Maybe being an asshole is what is needed at the Pentagon these days. It is too fucking bloated and big, and a huge nail just looking for the right war mongering hammer.

  76. 76
    Raven says:

    @Bernard Finel: Yea and I want a fucking pony. Xin Loi motherfucker.

  77. 77
    Baud says:

    @Keith G:

    Whoa. Are you on drugs right now? I’ve done nothing but say how much I liked Wes Clark.

  78. 78
  79. 79
    Bernard Finel says:

    @Tonybrown74: Oh, Jeez. The 1990s were a million years ago in terms of gay rights. Bill fucking Clinton signed DOMA for Pete’s sake. Anyway, Sam Nunn would not be my favorite choice, but if Obama was feeling the need to nominate a old white guy former Senator, he might as well have picked a Democrat.

    Also too, Hagel’s record on gay rights ain’t so hot, eh.

  80. 80
    Valdivia says:

    already been said, but worth repeating.
    Nunn? Really? Yikes.

    ETA–a little on the banal said but since no one has said it: I think Hagel is kind of hot. Always found him good looking, even if from pictures he seems height challenged.

  81. 81
    Mike in NC says:

    @burnspbesq: Krauthammer, true to form, shit a brick over Hagel’s nomination. Good.

  82. 82
    Bernard Finel says:

    @Raven: I have no idea what your equine love fantasies have to do with anything.

  83. 83
    General Stuck says:

    @Baud:

    Yea, I didn’t get that comment either to you.

  84. 84
    Raven says:

    @Bernard Finel: So the 90’s was a million years ago but Hagel is held to his position then? I thought you were supposed to be some kind of genius.

  85. 85
    NotMax says:

    If it’s destined to be a Republican, I’d prefer Dick Lugar over Chuck Hagel.

  86. 86
    Jeremy says:

    @Bernard Finel: And we had Leon Panetta as SEC. defense and he is a democrat. Is it that important to have a Democrat as Sec. of defense when you have a man who has similar views to the president on foreign policy but happens to be a republican ?

    Also Obama and the Democrats have eliminated the Democrats are weak on foreign policy as polls show that voters trust Dems more so I doubt having a republican will change that.

  87. 87
    dogwood says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    There’s nothing wrong with your memory. Sam Nunn is a Southern Joe Lieberman. And Wes Clark? People who were hot for Wesley Clark remind me of the John Edwards fans. Both of them are douches as far as I’m concerned. And if Bernard thinks hosting a tawdry reality TV show is part of resume building for a Cabinet post, then he isn’t thinking straight.

    Here’s why I like the Hagel pick:

    He’s a grunt
    He’s not a career bureaucrat worried about his next job.
    He’s not afraid of Republicans.
    He’ll be a good spokesman for the administration.

    In terms of competence, charm, and fearlessness, I hope to see Brian Schweitzer in this next cabinet as well.

  88. 88
    Raven says:

    @Bernard Finel: You wouldn’t.

  89. 89
    magurakurin says:

    @Raven:

    Wes was a fucking general. Chuck was a line doggie. Fuck some generals

    This.

    I don’t have a problem with Hagel at Defense.

  90. 90
    dmsilev says:

    @Mike in NC: But to be fair, Krauthammer shits bricks every time Obama says or does anything. My local paper runs his column for some reason, and I once wrote them a letter suggesting they should just run his byline, the text “I hate Obama” and either save the ink used in the rest of the space or sell the area for ads.

    Oddly, the letter was never printed.

  91. 91
    Big Daddy says:

    @Raven: Whoa! 5X5? What the hell does that mean, old timer? I think that phrase was retired many moons ago. HA!

  92. 92
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mike in NC: I suspect Sam Nunn would not be greeted by the same kind of hysteria from Krauthammer and McCain. The fact that this nomination is so clearly seen by the Beltway, and by the neocons, as a huge fuck you to the neocons, is the best reason to support Hagel, IMHO. Also, Hagel is, I’m assuming and I tend to believe, the one who can, or at least has the best chance to, ram significant defense cuts past the military-McCain-Sunday Show complex. We’ll see.

    I guess I’m not enough of a partisan

  93. 93
    Valdivia says:

    @dogwood:

    co-sign what you said many times. As well as Raven’s comment about having a grunt get the job.

  94. 94
    Liberty60 says:

    Its more of the internalizing of the conservative worldview, where even in a Dem administration we have to be hawkish.

    Its similar to how Dem legisltors have to constantly trumpet how they are “not a politician, but a small businessman” as if competent city managers are the curse of our existance, not sociopathic businessmen.

  95. 95
    Bruce S says:

    I’ll take Hagel over Sam Nunn, who was a total fuck IMHO.

    As it was for me with Clinton, every day Hagel’s enemies rise up against him, I like him more and more. Also, I think there’s some very smart jujitsu in having a decorated, grunt war veteran with authentically conservative bonafides but who isn’t a gungho lunatic preside over what Obama will want to do with the defense budget, as well as all of the saber rattling against Iran. Also, on veterans affairs.

    Given that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good, I think Hagel borders on the “perfect” pick in our present political context.

  96. 96
    eemom says:

    @Bernard Finel:

    Also too, Hagel’s record on gay rights ain’t so hot, eh.

    Oh, so you’re Canadian.

    Explains a lot.

  97. 97
    Mandalay says:

    @Baud:

    Obama wants someone who is fully behind his agenda

    Are you explicitly suggesting that Clark would not be fully behind Obama’s agenda, or that it is human nature for anyone at high levels to have one eye on the future?

    I guess I can go along with the second option, but not the first. As far as I know (which may not be much) Clark has been beyond reproach in terms of loyalty, commitment, service and dedication. And he even seems to keep his dick in his pants, which is more than we can say for some.

    And while Obama may have problems making appointments, it is piece of cake for him to unmake appointments if things aren’t working out; I am having trouble following your argument….

  98. 98
    magurakurin says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Eat shit and die, motherfucker. You worthless piece of dogshit.

    But I mean that in a nice way.

  99. 99
    Jeremy says:

    @Raven: I don’t understand why Hagel being nominated is such a big deal. Obama has a really good relationship and he holds a similar world view. But I guess that the new rule is that anyone Obama appoints is bad.

  100. 100
    General Stuck says:

    The fact the Hagel and Obama are tight, and both think the Pentagon is too big for its britches, is enough for me to give the thumbs up. Time will tell if this was a wise choice. Though Lindsay Graham and fellow propeller heads in a froth is pretty cool to see.

  101. 101
    Baud says:

    @Mandalay:

    If Obama had selected Clark, I’m confident Clark would have done an excellent job. However, a lot of politics at the highest levels is about relationships, loyalties, and personal trust, and in that regard, I believe Clark is associated with the Clinton folks. That doesn’t make anyone a bad or incompetent person, but it does factor in to who gets selected for critical and sensitive positions. That’s all I was suggesting.

  102. 102
    Corner Stone says:

    Can someone articulate why a “grunt” is desirable to run a bureaucracy like DoD?
    Because they will do…? What, exactly?

  103. 103
    Jeremy says:

    @Liberty60: First of all Hagel is not really a hawk. He believes in force as a last resort and if you followed his career you would know this. The guy was highly critical of Bush and how he was conducting the wars.

  104. 104
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @Bernard Finel:

    Yes it was.

    But Sam Nunn has been out of the limelight for, what, 15+ years, and you just bring his name out of the blue?

    You criticize Chuck Hagel for not only his party affiliation, but also his positions WRT Women and Gays. Those are legitimate concerns. Sam Nunn, of all fucking people, was a MUCH bigger of an asshole on these issues than anyone I remember.

    Look, I actually see your point (and agree to some extent) that it would have been excellent to get an actual Democrat in the position. And Chuck Hagels statements on gays affects me on a personal level (I did want to be in the Navy once upon a time). But of all the names you could have listed, Sam Fucking Nunn? Without knowing his history?

    That is just ignorance to the Nth degree.

    I don’t want to accuse you of just pulling names out of your ass, but else am I supposed to think?

  105. 105
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Liberty60: I think we’re just hawkish.

  106. 106
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @dogwood: Hear, hear.

    And I must say it’s, ah, invigorating, to see front pagers wading into comments to insult commenters. Kind of keeps things interesting.

  107. 107
    Cacti says:

    Well, if it rubs Bernard the wrong way…

    Who really gives a shit?

  108. 108
    Corner Stone says:

    @Baud:

    I believe Clark is associated with the Clinton folks.

    When are you going to wake up and understand that over Obama’s presidency about 2/3rds of the people he’s had around him are “Clinton” folks?
    Where the fuck do you think Panetta came from?

  109. 109
    Joel says:

    Call me cynical, but the ratfucking element of the Hagel pick has to rate as a significant factor in the pick.

  110. 110
    Corner Stone says:

    Fucking unbunch the goddamn panties for once in 4+ years, for motherfucking god’s sake.

  111. 111
    Jeremy says:

    Also can we stop the notion that Democrats are adopting conservative ideas for foreign policy. Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, supported interventions and at times were aggressive when it comes to foreign policy.

  112. 112
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone:

    First, I freely admit that I was speculating about the reasons Obama might not have selected Wes Clark, assuming he was on anyone’s radar screen to begin with.

    Second, people have different levels of “closeness” with the Clintons, and it was my impression that Wes was especially close to them compared to others.

    Third, even if it was a consideration at all, there are a lot of factors that Obama probably considered in deciding who to select for Sec Def (and other high level positions), so being a Clinton person is never fully disqualifying for anything.

  113. 113
    Ted & Hellen says:

    The ex military types on here reliving their grunt fantasies and resentments thru Chuck Hagel is kind of…pathetic.

    You are not in the military any more. If you ever were, since I have no idea who you are.

    Get. Over. Yourself.

  114. 114
    Bruce S says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It’s a “diversity” thing. Hagel has a perspective that is rare in Pentagon circles. It’s like the notion of having a woman at HHS in context of having a deeper appreciation and understanding of women’s health issues. It’s not “enough” but it’s a major asset that can’t be replicated by “good intentions.” His biggest bona fide though, IMHO, is that he broke with the neo-cons over Iraq and is detested by creeps like Graham and McCain. That, frankly, borders on being “enough” to make him qualified. Hagel also helps underscore the intellectual, moral and political disarray within “conservatism” and the GOP. That’s why Lindsay gets the hives when he sees Hagel “in his face.” Hagel is a much bigger deal from a partisan Democratic perspective in terms of fucking with the GOP than a typical Big Defense Dem would be. I think it’s one of Obama’s most saavy appointments, and that’s been a pretty high bar in this administration (except for Timmy IMHO.)

  115. 115
    General Stuck says:

    I could run the Pentagon. With corner stone and the Mighty Mup by my side. We could bomb the Liliputians, then declare permanent whirled peas.

  116. 116
    Maude says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Panetta was in the House.

  117. 117
    WaterGirl says:

    @Keith G: Dear Diary,

    I completely agreed with something Keith G said today.
    What do you think that means?

    Signed, Me

  118. 118
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: I LOVED Wesley Clark in 2004 and grew to LOATHE him in 2008.

  119. 119
    Ash Can says:

    @Bernard Finel: Sorry, you’re just sounding like an ideologue here. Fuck appearances, fuck tradition, fuck CW. Get the damned job done.

  120. 120
    Tonybrown74 says:

    Look, if you want to have a debate as to why we should choose a Democrat over Chuck Hagel, I think that is a legitimate debate to have.

    However, bringing up Sam Nunn as an option tells me you were not serious at all. You didn’t even review his history.

    Jesus H. Christ!

  121. 121
    Valdivia says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I confess to this affliction too. :)

  122. 122
    Bruce S says:

    I just want to say – on the side-issue of GOPers in the Obama administration – that although Ben Bernanke was a GOPer hold-over, he’s been an excellent Fed Chair. Although the Fed Chair is a constrained position and he can’t do what really needs to be done to repair the economy, he’s been the guy who has come through with modest stimulus when the politicians couldn’t a damned thing. He also, in his statements, is pretty straightforward. And seems to have a clearer grasp of the problems we face than most. And not a large ego. What a relief after that bloated douchebag Greenspan.

  123. 123
    Corner Stone says:

    @Maude: May I suggest you best check yoself befo you wreck yoself?

  124. 124
    Baud says:

    @WaterGirl: @Valdivia:

    I never grew to dislike him; he just sort of dropped out of the picture for me. I assume he was on Clinton’s side in the 2008 primary, but I didn’t pay much attention to what he was saying then.

  125. 125
    WaterGirl says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I know. So well played, I laughed out loud when I read raven’s comment.

  126. 126
    Keith G says:

    @WaterGirl: Whaaa!!?

    I’m hurt by the implication. I’m not always thoughtful, but probably grade out at least about average for this joint.

    @Maude: Remember that Leon also was the Big Dawg’s Chief of Staff for a bit.

  127. 127
    El Caganer says:

    @Maude: Wasn’t he Clinton’s chief of staff for a while, too? Doesn’t really matter for the situation at hand – if the President thinks Hagel is the guy for the job, then that’s the ball game regardless of what party Hagel is.

  128. 128
    eemom says:

    @Cacti:

    Well, if it rubs Bernard the wrong way…
    Who really gives a shit?

    Paradoxically, I sort of do, because I don’t really give a shit about the Hagel nomination. That, in turn, enables me to appreciate Finel’s glorious cluelessness in a way that I can’t when actual concern about an issue enters into the equation.

    The “rubs the wrong way” phraseology is kind of an extra icing on that cake.

  129. 129
    Maude says:

    @Corner Stone:
    You’re very touchy today.

  130. 130
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I LOVED Wesley Clark in 2004 and grew to LOATHE him in 2008.

    Why did you loathe him in 2008?

  131. 131
    Baud says:

    OT, but TPM just posted this:

    The NRA has launched a new ad campaign calling President Obama a ‘hypocrite’ for allowing armed Secret Service agents to protect his school aged daughters.

  132. 132
    Keith G says:

    @Ted & Hellen: His sweaters.

    Edit

    @Baud: That’s cool. Quite a sign of desperation. This will backfire. Leave the kids alone.

  133. 133
    Maude says:

    @El Caganer:
    His political foundation is the House.
    That’s where he started.
    It helped him as DoD.

  134. 134
    General Stuck says:

    @Baud:

    Idiots, with a definite whiff of depraved desperation. Big Backfire.

  135. 135
    eemom says:

    @Keith G:

    Better than average, I would say, even though I don’t always agree with you.

    I mean even here on this mess, it’s possible to disagree with someone and still respect their intelligence, open-mindedness, etc., where such are usually in evidence.

    Edited.

  136. 136
    Alison says:

    @Baud: Just saw the ad on The Last Word. It’s…just as fucking despicable as you’d imagine. Bastards.

  137. 137
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @eemom: Excellent characterization of a thread perspective. I do actually care about the Hagel nomination, as I find it savvy as an appointment and also cool that he was a grunt.

    But an appreciation of glorious cluelessness is an artful turn of phrase, and the “rub” is just the extra je ne sais quoi. Thanks.

  138. 138
    Cacti says:

    @Baud:

    The NRA has launched a new ad campaign with Ted Nugent saying “That piece of shit can suck on my machine gun!”

    Oh wait, that happened already.

  139. 139
    Mandalay says:

    @Baud:

    The NRA has launched a new ad campaign calling President Obama a ‘hypocrite’ for allowing armed Secret Service agents to protect his school aged daughters.

    They have since pulled it down.

  140. 140
    Baud says:

    @Mandalay:

    That was quick.

  141. 141
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: It was an integrity issue for me. Actually, the lack thereof. I felt like he started saying things in 2008 that were not true, but he said them in support of Clinton because they were buddies. Shared the same hometown, even, I think.

    I loved him in 2004 and before because he was against the Iraq war and seemed to have the integrity to say what he really believed and buck everyone who was pro-war. Then to find out that the integrity I thought he had was all an illusion, well, let’s just say that when he fell off his pedestal with me, he hid the ground hard.

  142. 142
    Maude says:

    @Mandalay:
    It’s still on Yahoo News and other Twitter news tweets. They didn’t pull it soon enough.
    Nice to watch them implode.

  143. 143
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m a grunt, and that’s question I would ask.
    Yes, I think having seen war up close and personal gives one a little extra oomph when taking on the Chickenhawks that permeate the Conservative and (especially) the Neo-Conservative movements. The ability to look Bill Kristol in the eye across the table at Press The Meat and say “ONE of us actually understands the nature of what you want to do, and it’s not you” would be invaluable, but only if our notional SECDEF were to actually do that. I think that having been a prior member of the military is essential in an organization is far more about people and their lives than most non-Vets realize.
    Having said that, I think you need a manager, a bureaucrat, and an executive type more than anything else.
    But you should definitely have somebody on close staff who knows what its like to slog in the mud, do the mission, and still wonder if everything’s fine back home.
    I think Sen. Hagel will be a fine SECDEF. I think it will be easier to trim the DoD from a political stand point if we can say that a Republican Veteran is managing it.
    But I also agree with Bernard that it’s past time to put paid to the idea that Republicans are better on National Security than Democrats.

  144. 144
    WaterGirl says:

    @Keith G: You could at least be flattered by the diary entry? :-)

    Your comments seemed pretty negative to me in the run-up to the election, so we didn’t agree a lot. But maybe that won’t be so true now.

  145. 145
    Cacti says:

    If Sam Nunn isn’t available, would you settle for fellow Georgia Democrat Zell Miller?

    Whaddaya say, Bernard?

  146. 146
    Baud says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Understood. That primary was a pretty trying time, so I’m more inclined to forgive and forget. But that’s easy for me to say since I don’t recall much of what he actually said at the time.

  147. 147
    MomSense says:

    @Bernard Finel:

    meh. The country has moved on – a land war in Asia will do that.

    A Democratic President named Barack Hussein Obama who had every soft on defense/palling around with terrorists charge thrown at him won twice and they weren’t squeakers.

    The country has moved on, well at least 73% of us have.

  148. 148
    WaterGirl says:

    @Maude: Do you have a link to the ad?

    Maybe the NRA doesn’t like the idea of the secret service serving a blah president and his blah daughters.

  149. 149
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @eemom:

    Finel’s glorious cluelessness

    I would suggest this as a tag, but that may instigate trouble.

    It is spectacular to behold.

    Sam Fucking Nunn … For realz!

  150. 150
    Corner Stone says:

    @Baud: Maybe there’s something we can agree on after all.
    I’m really worried this person may be a little too close to the Clintons to have a role here:
    Chelsea Clinton Gets High-profile Inaugural Role
    Do you think we can trust her in a role supporting Obama?

  151. 151
    piratedan says:

    well Bernie is entitled to his opinion and his preferences. I agree that the name dropping of Sudden Sam didn’t strengthen his arguments but I can also see the long game that Obama is playing with the Hagel selection. Obama has a long established track record of playing to the enlisted vet and not so much being endeared to the officer class. I can see Hagel as a guy who is more concerned with truth and results and is reality based in his assessments. Yeah, 15 years ago he has/had an issue with gays. Still may have. Is he enough of a man to change with the times? Good question. There are other concerns though, would he follow the letter of the law, I believe he would. Would he be able to make the hard calls on what is an ongoing boondoggle and what is necessary to keep and develop in these times, I can’t say but his election would serve multiple purposes. Showing R’s that cuts can be made and in a common sense approach by someone who is pretty familiar with the organization and his cred amongst the rank and file vets can’t be denied and its just further illustration that this administration is actually concerned with making positive changes and hard choices in order to unfuck 30 years of constant ineptitude.

  152. 152
    Narcissus says:

    I want an actual grunt to take the seat. I also want a meow and a belch in the cabinet somewhere, too

    Basically we should go full onomatopoeia on this bitch

  153. 153
    👽 Martin says:

    Some background:

    For Obama it was an opportunity to see Hagel, with whom he’d developed a kinship on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in action. As people on the trip remember it, the future president was struck by Hagel’s rapport with the enlisted men and women they met throughout the trip. Hagel, a decorated Vietnam vet, mingled with the soldiers with ease and authenticity. “The troops knew he’d been in the line of fire,” recalls Reed. “He connected with them not on an intellectual level but on a deep emotional basis.”

    Obama, said Reed and others, noticed something else about Hagel, too: for all of his empathy toward the grunts, he could be a hard-ass with their commanders. In Baghdad, the senators were briefed by Gen. David Petraeus, then the commanding officer of all U.S. forces in Iraq. A virtuoso briefer, Petraeus poured it on with elaborate charts and slides, all aimed at showing that the “surge” of troops in Iraq was working. Violence was down and stability up. But it was too soon to begin a rapid drawdown of troops, the general warned, bolstering his case with a blizzard of stats and metrics.

    A former aide recalls that the senators received the presentation with “a heavy dose of skepticism.” And as Petraeus rambled on, they began to grow impatient. Finally, Hagel cut the general off. They hadn’t traveled halfway across the world for a one-way conversation, he said. They had a message they wanted to deliver: with the economy in a tailspin and the patience of the American public growing thin, the era of perpetual occupations was drawing to a close. This war was going to end. By then, Obama was the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee and, all the polls indicated, Petraeus’s soon-to-be commander in chief. “It was a helpful intervention,” says Reed dryly.

    Hagel and Lugar, both foreign-policy realists with an appreciation for international cooperation, became two of Obama’s closest colleagues and mentors in the Senate. With Hagel and Obama, there was an ease to the relationship that Hagel’s aides say their occasionally cantankerous boss did not always have with other colleagues.

    Ironically, the reason may have been generational. Hagel was one of just a small handful of Vietnam vets serving in Congress, and the fact that most of his peers had managed to stay out of the war introduced a certain level of tension in his relationships—especially when the subject of committing American troops to combat came up. “Chuck and I came of age during a volatile time and a lot of our contemporaries for whatever reason didn’t serve,” says Senator Reed, a former Army Ranger and West Point graduate who spent 12 years in active duty but didn’t see combat.

    Obama seems to genuinely believe (though it’s fair to be skeptical given some of his specific decisions) in the virtue and utility of proper representation.

    When we go to war, some of the generals go too, but they get a cush ride. They get to fly home and see their families, they get to bring their dog, nobody is fucking shooting at them. Going to war is easy for them. Turn the 12 year war into a 14 year war? Sure, no problem. Easy peasy.

    We complain all the time about the bullshit the generals lay out to Congress and the public and the President. Everyone worried that Obama would get rolled by them, and with the Afghanistan surge, I think he was, but I think only there can we clearly say that. I don’t think they can roll Hagel – at all. I think Obama trusts that Hagel won’t allow himself to be rolled, and if the generals come by and say we need to stay in Afghanistan for 2 more years, Hagel will need proof that the guy carrying the gun really needs to be there. I mean, if only the officers want to stay – sure, why not – but send the enlisted guys home to their families.

    Yeah, there are a lot of Democrats who would do a good job as SecDef, but I suspect we’ll see a DOD that’s 2/3 size of the current one by the end of Obama’s term, and not even many Democrats want to see that. And certainly not many can sell that. And even those that can do both, everyone’s eye always seems to be on the shiny – the weapons programs and fancy shit, and not on raising pay for the guys at the bottom, getting them off of food stamps, improving opportunities for their families, and making sure they’re cared for overall. Obama knows where he wants to take things in Defense, and he doesn’t need to choose the best open-ended candidate, he can choose a candidate that would best deliver on the specific goals he has.

    We only need another $140B per year in spending cuts or revenue increases to put the deficit/GDP ratio on a slow, but consistently downward slope. Getting that won’t stop the GOP from demanding that we cut spending another 107%, but he can get all of that out of DOD. That’ll turn the deficit from an active problem to a passive problem. Sounds like Hagel would like to do that, where I’m not sure that even Panetta is down for that outcome.

  154. 154
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I don’t. I think Obama made a big mistake when he failed to throw Chelsea into Gitmo.

  155. 155
    Corner Stone says:

    but we actually have a reasonably deep bench of very qualified folks — John Hamre, Richard Danzig, Sam Nunn, Wes Clark, Ash Carter, etc.

    Let’s compromise.
    How about Glenn Danzig?

  156. 156
    Corner Stone says:

    @Narcissus: At first glance I thought this was a kind of cheap shot.
    But then…kudos.

  157. 157
    rikyrah says:

    Hagel was right about Iraq.

    The President trusts Hagel.

    Hagel doesn’t lie prostrate for the 51st state.

  158. 158
    Mandalay says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Hopefully it doesn’t involve sucking Avigdor Lieberman’s dick.

    Unfortunately it does. They agreed on twice a week until Obama steps down.

    The vile but sly Schumer has released a public statement of what he claims Hagel told him when they met. The major points on which Hagel allegedly agreed with Schumer were:
    – Israel can do whatever the fuck it wants.
    – The USA shall do whatever Israel says.
    – Fuck the Arabs.
    – Really, really fuck Iran big time.
    Here are the grisly details: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/.....secretary/

    Is there any Democrat politician more odious than Schumer?

    I really hope an earlier conversation went something like this:
    Hagel: Uh-oh. I have to report to Mr. Schumer. He’s gonna be mean and nasty.
    Obama: Just tell the asswipe what he wants to hear so we get you confirmed. I’ve got your back.

  159. 159
    Corner Stone says:

    @rikyrah:

    Hagel doesn’t lie prostrate for the 51st state.

    Beyond you being a moron, what does Puerto Rico have to do with this pick?
    Does Hagel even speak a second language? Do we know?

  160. 160

    @burnspbesq:
    And… exactly one internets goes to our esteemed counselor.

    Sorry, Bernard. Between all the Swartz talk today and watching Abolitionists right now on PBS, squabbling over which party our President’s choice for SecDef belongs to just seems a little… petty.

  161. 161
    Ash Can says:

    @Soonergrunt: OK, I agree with the idea of deep-sixing the old wives’ tale about Dems being soft on defense. But, in a way, isn’t this what Obama is doing by nominating a respected veteran who’s very much abreast with military issues, and doing it without regard to party loyalty? It’s one thing to be able to say, “Yeah, a candy-ass Dem nominating another candy-ass Dem to SoD.” It’s another to have to say “he’s nominating a grunt.” Obama is saying to everyone who cares to listen, “I’m a Dem president, and I want a smart, savvy soldier as my SoD, and hey, whaddya know, he’s a Republican, and I don’t give a shit.” The overall message here, IMO, is definitely not one of Dems being soft on defense.

  162. 162
    MikeJ says:

    @Narcissus: I want one of those “a whooghah!” horns in there somewhere.

  163. 163
    WaterGirl says:

    @👽 Martin: I agree with every word you said, with the exception of this:

    Everyone worried that Obama would get rolled by them, and with the Afghanistan surge, I think he was, but I think only there can we clearly say that.

    I am pretty certain that Obama was well aware that he had been backed into a corner with the games his generals were playing with the press. So I don’t think he was rolled at all. I think he was completely aware of the box he was in, but he went for the long game and not the short win.

  164. 164
    dogwood says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I loved him in 2004 and before because he was against the Iraq war and seemed to have the integrity to say what he really believed and buck everyone who was pro-war.

    I see your point, but the problem with Clark in 2004, was that his opposition to the war was the only issue he could speak in any depth about. He was terrible on the stump or in townhalls answering questions about anything else. He was often caught flat-footed in interviews when the subject wasn’t Iraq. This is what turned me off immediately. He thought he could ride his military career into the White House without bothering to learn the fundamentals of domestic policy beyond a few soundbites. Undoubtedly, he is a very smart man, so this strategy smacked of arrogance to me. I also felt that many of his supporters were democrats who were obsessed with putting up a military man to go against Bush, and that seemed weak to me. In 2008, he proved his loyalty to Clinton by being a loyal hack in the primaries, and he shifted his hacking to Obama after the primaries were over. Remember, he caused a big stir for the Obama campaign when he claimed, and rightly so, that McCain’s time as a POW didn’t give him foreign policy credentials. That’s was a headache for a week or two. I doubt that the White House had him on any short list. He might have been a great general, but as a politician he’s a loose cannon who doesn’t always do his homework, and who has no real standing with the poltical press. Chuck Hagel can be a loose cannon as well, but he is much better situated to fight his own battles inside the beltway.

  165. 165
    MikeJ says:

    @Ash Can:

    “I’m a Dem president, and I want a smart, savvy soldier as my SoD, and hey, whaddya know, he’s a Republican, and I don’t give a shit.” The overall message here, IMO, is definitely not one of Dems being soft on defense.

    And on top of that, Hagel is the one who is going to cut the DoD budget, not a Dem. Putting a Dem in that spot reinforces the Dems are week on defence, putting a Republican in doesn’t.

  166. 166
    sapient says:

    Sam Nunn is an incredibly smart man. He was wrong on gay rights (although he has recanted). But a lot of old people didn’t get it. If you’re not old, you don’t know that gay rights is something that people had to learn. Sam Nunn has learned it.

  167. 167
    WaterGirl says:

    @Corner Stone: Puerto Rico is the 52nd state, after Israel. Try to keep up. :-)

    Edit: that was an attempt at humor, not trying to be snotty.

  168. 168
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I felt like he started saying things in 2008 that were not true, but he said them in support of Clinton because they were buddies.

    What did he say that wasn’t true?

  169. 169
    MikeJ says:

    @dogwood:

    He was often caught flat-footed in interviews when the subject wasn’t Iraq. This is what turned me off immediately. He thought he could ride his military career into the White House without bothering to learn the fundamentals of domestic policy beyond a few soundbites.

    I think most of it was that he waited too late to jump in. I say that as somebody who flew into to Little Rock and helped on the web site and actually cashed checks from the campaign.

    He was a good guy who thought knowing politics inside the pentagon was the same thing as knowing politics.

    I’ll wear my Clark softball jersey to the next meetup.

  170. 170
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Maybe the NRA doesn’t like the idea of the secret service serving a blah president and his blah daughters.

    It’s idiots like you that make a joke of actual racism with weak bullshit like this. When everything is racissss nothing is racissssss.

  171. 171
    xian says:

    @Bernard Finel: only Nixon could go to China.

    Your political insight seems to go about one level deep, and I’m personally pretty glad you aren’t in charge of picking our battles.

  172. 172
    xian says:

    @Raven: “Everyone in the military starts out as an enlisted person.”

    buh?

  173. 173
    Mandalay says:

    @Maude:

    It’s still on Yahoo News and other Twitter news tweets. They didn’t pull it soon enough.

    Actually I stand corrected – my apologies. At least they are still showing it on their own website’s home page:
    http://www.nrastandandfight.com/

    Going after the president’s kids! I think that ad has to be a co-production by Dick Morris and Bill Kristol…the raw stupidity of pushing that line of attack is mind boggling.

  174. 174
    xian says:

    @Liberty60: ….or because Dems have to worry about their hawk flank, it is *easier* for a Republican (with mil credibility), like Hagel, to buck the pressure from the hawks.

  175. 175
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Fuck you dopes. The first fucking enlisted man ever as Secretary of Defense and you wanted a general or some goddamn academic. Fuck you.

    @Raven: Seconded. For those of you who never served, this will be a sea change in DoD culture unlike anything that’s been seen before. And it is long fucking overdue.

    Officers don’t support the troops, those not on track to be generals spend their careers gunning for the big contractor jobs after they get out. Fucking troops do the dirty work of actually supporting the troops, and Hagel just happens to be one.

  176. 176
    Keith G says:

    @WaterGirl: I might quibble with “negative”. I can be a bit cocky and impatient with excuses. When Obama channeled FDR and said, “Make me do it!” I was a bit taken aback but took him at his word. So when I zip an email to the White House or comment on the President here, I always support and I always challenge – challenge to go the extra mile, to take the fight to a higher level.

    For some that seems negative. My mother was a president of a union local. We learned that being tough, adamant, and doggedly persistent was a good thing and not negative at all.

  177. 177
    rikyrah says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Beyond you being a moron, what does Puerto Rico have to do with this pick?
    Does Hagel even speak a second language? Do we know?

    the 51st state is in the Middle East.

  178. 178
    👽 Martin says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I am pretty certain that Obama was well aware that he had been backed into a corner with the games his generals were playing with the press. So I don’t think he was rolled at all. I think he was completely aware of the box he was in, but he went for the long game and not the short win.

    Maybe. Bucking the generals on the surge would have given the GOP a big hole to dig into during the election. But we wouldn’t have given Bush that kind of credit. The surge failed, as it did in Iraq.

    But Obama getting rolled tactically by the generals isn’t much better of an outcome.

  179. 179
    WaterGirl says:

    @dogwood: I pretty much agree with everything you said.

    Except the part about about what Wesley Clark did after Obama got the nomination. By that point I could barely stand to hear Wesley Clark’s name, so I’m pretty sure I tuned him out.

    In my defense for liking Clark in the first place, I was just starting to re-engage after my despair in 2000. That was shock and awe, alright, and not in a good way. I pretty much had to rock in the corner for awhile, then I had to tune everything out for most of bush’s first term. I know it’s quaint, but until 2000 I actually believed the supreme court was not partisan. ha ha ha ha ha. I landed hard after the shock of Bush v. Gore and had to disengage for a long, long time.

    General Clark came along just as I was poking my head out again, and he gave me hope. I’m absolutely certain that I have a more robust understanding today of who might make a good president and candidate than I did in 2004.

  180. 180
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Krauthammer, true to form, shit a brick over Hagel’s nomination. Good.

    If it’s true that you can judge a man by the quality of his enemies, then Hagel just got bumped up a notch in my eyes.

  181. 181
    WaterGirl says:

    @MikeJ:

    And on top of that, Hagel is the one who is going to cut the DoD budget, not a Dem. Putting a Dem in that spot reinforces the Dems are week on defence, putting a Republican in doesn’t.

    Exactly!

    Hagel is the perfect candidate for the job at this point in time. I think he’s an inspired choice.

  182. 182
    xian says:

    @Corner Stone: because they will think about the consequences for the soldiers and sailors and Marines of Pentagon decision making, and not just about the politics or policy, or careers of political generals.

  183. 183
    Cacti says:

    @rikyrah:

    the 51st state is in the Middle East.

    51st numerically, but always #1 in importance.

    Congress critters could get away with voting against disaster relief for New Yawk and Joisey.

    Imagine the rending of garments in the media if they had opposed Israel’s arms subsidies.

  184. 184
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Can someone articulate why a “grunt” is desirable to run a bureaucracy like DoD? Because they will do…? What, exactly?

    OMG, dude, you finally said something intelligent. I think I can now die a happy man.

  185. 185
    Mandalay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Beyond you being a moron, what does Puerto Rico have to do with this pick?

    I don’t think the poster was being a moron, and I thought what they meant was blindingly obvious.

    But apparently not.

  186. 186
    dww44 says:

    @Doug Galt: Why do you say that? Sam Nunn, though a conservative Southern Democrat, made himself an expert on military matters and especially on nuclear arms. He comes from a storied Democratic family in this state. I suspect that his efforts to reduce nuclear proliferation might be more rewarding than taking on our Department of Defense. He’s a bit older than Hagel, and at the age of 75 probably doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of a Donald Rumsfeld.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t think that Nunn and Obama would have very much in common, but Nunn would deliver to the President some genuine bipartisanship credibility.

    In the end, though, Sam Nunn was an honorable politician and public servant and deserves respect for that. OTOH, Edwin Meese, calling for the possible impeaching of Obama for executive orders not yet issued re gun control, is deserving of hoots of our laughter and wholesale derision.

  187. 187
    sapient says:

    @dww44: word

  188. 188
    TR says:

    @MikeJ:

    But Nunn was the one that announced he would be holding hearings on the proposal. Clinton wanted to come into office to deal with the economy, but Nunn guaranteed that things started off with a culture wars clusterfuck.

    Nunn’s a preening asshole, plain and simple. Fuck him.

  189. 189
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mandalay: I think the little black hand holding the lunchbox is no accident. To me it conjured up images of the fist little black girls who were bused to white schools. I’m certain it’s there to bring race into it, as a red flag to bring up the anger of integration.

    I also thought it was interesting that they had Fluffy in the group of elitists that included Biden, Bloomberg, and Feinstein.

    Oh, and they can take their “Mr. Obama” and shove it.

  190. 190
    Cacti says:

    @dww44:

    Why do you say that? Sam Nunn, though a conservative Southern Democrat, made himself an expert on military matters and especially on nuclear arms. He comes from a storied Democratic family in this state.

    Yeah, after Zell Miller, I’m somewhat disinclined to give old guard Georgia democrats the benefit of the doubt.

  191. 191
    WaterGirl says:

    @👽 Martin: I agree that the short-term outcome was the same as if President Obama had been rolled.

    But it’s a distinction with a different for me, because I think the President is way too smart to have been rolled by the generals. I’ll be he was fuming mad at the disrespect they showed in boxing him in like that.

  192. 192
    TR says:

    @Baud:

    That NRA ad is insane. Jesus.

  193. 193
    Corner Stone says:

    @xian:

    because they will think about the consequences for the soldiers and sailors and Marines of Pentagon decision making, and not just about the politics or policy, or careers of political generals.

    Holy shit. I never thought of this angle. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention as a possibility.

  194. 194
    dww44 says:

    @sapient: Thank you.

  195. 195
    srv says:

    Nunn: “The best case for [Obama’s] position now, for not coming out four-square for Erskin Bowles-Alan Simpson direction – defenders would say, ‘Look, this is tactical. If he endorses it, it will be jumped on by Republicans and it won’t go anywhere.’
    __
    “But in my view, the president has to lead on these matters. Nobody knows how long we’ve got before there’s a run on the dollar. It could be next week, it could be next year, it could be next decade.
    __
    “But at some point, our fiscal policy will be questioned increasingly by the world, and we’ll have very serious problems – with the dollar, with inflation. ‘Going off the cliff’ might be too strong. But it wouldn’t be much exaggerated.”

    Al Simpson and Sam Nunn are lovers. Sam is the man you Corner Stones want so you can hate Bush 44 more.

  196. 196
    Corner Stone says:

    @srv: Y U bustin’ my chops?

  197. 197
    dww44 says:

    @Cacti: not a good comparison aside from the obvious. Those 2 gentleman are as different as night and day in terms of their education, their backgrounds, and finally and most importantly, their world views.

  198. 198
    Mandalay says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Yes, the ad is a bizarre racist mishmash of venting which seems to have been designed by a committee of drunken wingnuts: the scary voice, Gregory (symbolizing the left wing media?) aligned with the Democrat “elites”, ranting about tax rates, and as you pointed out, a reference to “Mr Obama” to seal the deal.

    Lee Attwater lives!

  199. 199
    👽 Martin says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Can someone articulate why a “grunt” is desirable to run a bureaucracy like DoD?

    Well, a grunt is no more or less qualified to do so as a general or anyone else on that basis alone. Overall, Hagel is qualified to run a bureaucracy like DoD, but just as we don’t want a SecDef that will suck Bibis dick, we also want one that won’t suck Martin Dempsey’s dick or John McCain (or Chuck Schumer’s) dick.

    We have 1.2 million active duty enlisted personnel, plus probably the same amount more as reserves. 90% of the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan were enlisted troops. 30,000 wounded and 4,000 dead. That’s a population comparable in size to New Mexico. Getting some representation at the top isn’t a bad thing.

  200. 200
    srv says:

    @Corner Stone: You’re letting the MUPpets convince you someone other than Jane Fonda should be SecDef.

  201. 201
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    has there been any report that Sam Nunn is even interested in the job?

  202. 202
    Corner Stone says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Well, a grunt is no more or less qualified to do so as a general or anyone else on that basis alone.

    This is stupid. A general runs a number of personnel, infrastructure, etc that a grunt has no understanding of.
    So, yes. If I was simply selecting on a single factor basis then a General would make a little more sense.

  203. 203
    eemom says:

    @Narcissus:
    @MikeJ:

    I want an actual grunt to take the seat. I also want a meow and a belch in the cabinet somewhere, too
    Basically we should go full onomatopoeia on this bitch

    I want one of those “a whooghah!” horns in there somewhere.

    if the “where do you want your internets delivered” thingie weren’t already beaten deader than a rented mule, I’d award y’all the co-prize.

  204. 204
    Corner Stone says:

    This is like asking a secretary where a company should go.
    Except it isn’t.
    Fuck the Hagelian Dialectic of Gruntism.
    It’s stupid. It makes no sense. It’s ridiculous. He’s not a Grunt.
    Hagel will absolutely implement the will and desire of President Obama. Who is simply not a grunt.

  205. 205
    sapient says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I’m happy enough with Hagel. I was responding to all of the posts disparaging Nunn. Nunn was a good public servant, and I don’t get the hatred.

    Sure, he was an old guy and didn’t get gay rights in 1993. Whatever. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was an improvement from what existed before. So, he wasn’t a hater. Just standing up for someone who had a good place in history.

  206. 206
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bernard Finel:

    Anyway, Sam Nunn would not be my favorite choice, but if Obama was feeling the need to nominate a old white guy former Senator, he might as well have picked a Democrat.

    Find me a Democrat with Hagel’s ex-military credentials who was not a vocal supporter of the Iraq War.

    @Liberty60:

    Its more of the internalizing of the conservative worldview, where even in a Dem administration we have to be hawkish.

    That’s what’s kind of fascinating about the Hagel nomination, though — Hagel is less hawkish than 90% of the Democrats who have been named here. Michelle Flournoy would have been a freakin’ disaster given her ties to PNAC and strong support of the Iraq War, but some Democrats would have preferred her because she has a (D) after her name.

    As others have said, one of the big reasons the Republicans are opposing Hagel so strongly is that he’s widely expected to be in charge of making major cuts to the defense budget. If that’s the case, I don’t particularly care what letter he has after his name.

  207. 207
    askew says:

    @General Stuck:

    I don’t think it’s a slam dunk for Hagel getting confirmed, and yes, I would prefer a dem as well, but for specific reasons at this particular point in our history, Hagel does have some important pluses going for him. One of those, unfortunately for him, and Obama, will be the parade of disgruntled former staffers the wingnuts will let loose in his c onfimation hearing. This was something I had read about years ago, about how Hagel treated his staff like shit and along with Ted Stevens was rated the worst person in congress to work for. I have no idea the individual stories behind this, but we are going to find them out. Maybe being an asshole is what is needed at the Pentagon these days. It is too fucking bloated and big, and a huge nail just looking for the right war mongering hammer.

    I thought Barbara Mikulski is known as the meanest Senator and after that McCain. I had not heard anything about Hagel being a jackass to work for. Are any of the Senators known for treating their staff well?

  208. 208
    👽 Martin says:

    @Corner Stone:

    A general runs a number of personnel, infrastructure, etc that a grunt has no understanding of.

    I said ‘on that basis alone’. Hagel’s experience isn’t just as an enlisted service member. It also consists of starting and running large businesses and being a US Senator and running the campaigns that go with that.

    When you hire people, you look for certain experiences and backgrounds to achieve the specific goals of the job. These are unique jobs and it’s not unreasonable to look for a unique package of skills and experiences. Four years on you might want a quite different set of skills and experiences to tackle a different set of challenges.

    SecDef also needs to successfully sway Congress toward the administration’s goals, something that generals aren’t automatically qualified to do.

  209. 209
    taylormattd says:

    BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH

  210. 210
    WaterGirl says:

    @taylormattd: At first I thought you were saying blah blah blah, as in “boring”.

    Now I realize you are likely saying blah blah blah and in the race of the first family.

  211. 211
    Skippy-san says:

    Ashton Carter and Clark are hardly “a deep bench”. Clark in particular because he is pretty much universally despised within the uniformed military, at least by those who can remember his performance as EUCOM.

    Plus you seem to be forgetting an important pre-requisite for being SECDEF. The person should actually have served in the military. You don’t want aquistion hacks running the department-which is why Flournoy is a lousy choice.

  212. 212
    Raven says:

    @Soonergrunt: I’m sure that when I said “he HAD been” I was saying that was his only qualification right sarge? Come on.

  213. 213
    xian says:

    @Corner Stone: any time, dingus

  214. 214
    candideinnc says:

    Yep. You lost me, too, with the bigot Nunn.

  215. 215
    candideinnc says:

    Yep. You lost me, too, with the bigot Nunn.

  216. 216
    Cheap Jim says:

    Whichever joker edited Sam Nunn’s Wikipedia entry needs to learn how to spell “sandals”.

  217. 217
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Mnemosyne: For starters, how about any of the current undersecretaries, other than Michelle Flournoy? I just don’t like idolizing someone and making them out to be salt of the earth sages just because they were enlisted.

  218. 218
    Paul W. says:

    @Mandalay:

    Before getting to read all these comments. Let me just reiterate: WHO THE FUCK CARES WHAT PARTY HE IS IN!?

    Does he support the policies of the President? Big checkmark there, considering he complained we were withdrawing from Afghanistan TOO SLOW, he was one of the few Dems or Repubs to call out the warmongering in Iraq, and he says sensible things about Israel.

    Fuck everything else, this is the weakest line of complaint I’ve ever seen because I don’t care what party a cabinet member is in so long as he promotes the right policies.

  219. 219
    LanceThruster says:

    @TR:

    x2

  220. 220
    LAC says:

    @Keith G: Amen! And if it makes neo-con fucks like Kraken Krauthammer and Jennifer Rubin shit themselves in despair, even better.

    To the author: Take something for the rub, like a quit bitching pill.

  221. 221
    LanceThruster says:

    Out of curiosity, who are the Dems for that position who *don’t* kowtow to Isra-hell?

    That right there makes Hagel a bold choice in itself.

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