The Special Reportpanel took turns berating former Senator, Chuck Hagel in the wake of his contentious Confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Thursday.
First Steven Hayes took some swipes, reading off his list of the most egregious moments from the hearing. Then the Washington Post’s Charles Lane said something, (edited out of the video.)
Then Dr. K dripped the hammer; “His problem isn’t a paper trail. His problem is a demonstrated, incredibly remarkable lack of competence,” Charles started. He continued to blast the poor guy for his “astonishing lack of competence”, honesty, and borderline anti-Semitism. He concluded by asking, “is this the best mind that Obama could find to run the largest entity on the face of the earth?
Regular readers of this site know that I have not been in favor of former Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination—but even his biggest detractors did not expect the performance he gave today during his senate confirmation hearings. It wasn’t that he said things that people disagreed with, or got caught with some sort of scandal–he looked totally unprepared and out-classed. He was pathetic.
The guy knew what he would face…his own statements and record, many of them were posted here. Chuck Hagel had weeks to figure out responses–and OH MY GOD, he didn’t even understand what containment means.
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stepped before two congressional committees on Benghazi this month, she was ready for every question fielded at her and, save for the infamous “what does it matter” moment, didn’t crumple under the pressure.
Today, President Obama was likely wishing some of that preparedness would have rubbed off on his Defense secretary nominee.
Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing before his former Senate colleagues was, in a nutshell, a minefield despite the simple, predictable questions lobbed his way. In short, he appeared exceptionally uncomfortable and unsure for a man who would command the most powerful military on Earth.
Hagel himself doesn’t matter. He won’t make foreign policy. Obama will run it out of the White House even more tightly than he did in the first term. Hagel’s importance is the message his nomination sends about where Obama wants to go. The lessons are being duly drawn. Iran’s official media have already cheered the choice of what they call this “anti-Israel” nominee. And they fully understand what his nomination signals regarding administration resolve about stopping them from going nuclear.The rest of the world can see coming the Pentagon downsizing — and the inevitable, commensurate decline of U.S. power. Pacific Rim countries will have to rethink reliance on the counterbalance of the U.S. Navy and consider acquiescence to Chinese regional hegemony. Arab countries will understand that the current rapid decline of post-Kissinger U.S. dominance in the region is not cyclical but intended to become permanent.Hagel is a man of no independent stature. He’s no George Marshall or Henry Kissinger. A fringe senator who left no trace behind, Hagel matters only because of what his nomination says about Obama.However the Senate votes on confirmation, the signal has already been sent. Before Election Day, Obama could only whisper it to his friend Dmitry. Now, with Hagel, he’s told the world.
Obama might have played a long shot here. Even the Senate’s Democrats will hesitate before awarding him their votes. However, the probability or improbability of Hagel’s confirmation pales before the political importance of his nomination.
Politically, the Hagel nomination does three things:
It reassures an important component of Obama’s support base that yes, he really does hold America responsible for what’s wrong with the Middle East and the world generally;
It exerts an intense, unpleasant pressure on the Republican caucus in the Senate, whose members are mostly old-line GOP Establishment loath to criticize a fellow Republican even when he richly deserves it;
While adhering cosmetically to the tradition of having one Cabinet member from the opposition party, it simultaneously expresses Obama’s contempt for his political adversaries in the clearest possible terms, thereby maddening his opponents and reassuring his more venomous supporters of his intent to destroy all opposition to his rule.
Indeed, that last bit might be the most important part of all in our all-politics-all-the-time milieu.
Obama is no Lincoln. He has no intention of trying to convert his enemies into friends. His overriding aim is to destroy all resistance to his will. Every move he makes, every word he utters must be studied in that light, for they make no sense in any other.
As a divide-to-conquer move, the Hagel nomination is superb. It pits younger, Tea-Party-style Republicans against the older GOP Establishment, widening the gulf and enhancing the prospects for future strife between them. It could only have been more effective if Hagel possessed John McCain’s war-hero status.
Fran, I’m not sure the older GOP establishment was too impressed with Hagel, yesterday. He gave them every excuse to vote against him. It’s a long shot, because when push comes to shove, Obamacrats do what the Master orders, but this nominee was so egregious Repubs may be able to peel away enough of them to filibuster him.
Via The Washington Free Beacon, this tense exchange between Ted Cruz and Chuck Hagel may turn out to be the death blow to his nomination
He scorched Hagel for agreeing with an assessment that the United States is the “world’s bully”.
“You explicitly agreed with the characterization that the United States is the world’s bully, and…. I think the United States has spilled more blood, more treasure standing for freedom, liberating people across the world — and to go on al Jazeera, a foreign network, broadcasting propaganda to nations that are hostile to us and to explicitly agree with the characterization that the United States is the world’s bully –I would suggest is not the conduct one would expect of a Secretary of Defense.”
Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel claimed he “has never been accused of political expediency” during his Thursday hearing before the Senate Armed Services committee, in response to his comments on the “Jewish lobby.”
And he’s not. While the media is intensely interested in the intellectual capacity of any Republican (unless that Republican is obviously intelligent, in which case they don’t mention IQ at all), they never discuss the intelligence of the dimmer-bulb Democrats or Republicans like Hagel, who can be counted as allies.
Hagel’s dumb. He’s just not smart enough to be Secretary of Defense. Our troops deserve a bright man who understands complex systems and has the intellectual curiosity to discover what he doesn’t know. Not a bumbling dummy whose deepest thoughts are about the “Jewish lobby.”
Following up on Chuck Hagel’s assertion earlier today in the course of his confirmation hearing that the Iranian regime is “legitimate” and “elected,” CNN’s Jessica Yellin asked White House press secretary Jay Carney whether the president agrees.
Carney dodged the question this way: “I think our views on the last presidential election were clearly expressed, the president’s views on that matter and our views on the behavior of the regime in Tehran are expressed again and again and again.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) went on a tear, demanding Hagel answer the question as to whether his opposition to the surge was wrong. Hagel squirmed and evaded and refused to answer. McCain said he would take the refusal to answer in considering his vote. It was a powerful moment, giving reason for virtually every Republican senator to oppose the nomination. McCain also got Hagel to concede that he opposed the surge in Afghanistan. Hagel’s ego was noteworthy and will create problems for him if he likewise refuses to say he was wrong on opposition to unilateral sanctions, the Global Zero report, etc.
Although the State Department Accountability Review Board sent its findings and recommendations to Congress back in December, Rep. Darrell Issa and three other House committee chairmen are not satisfied. They’re requesting more information from the State Department about the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
Issa said, “Unfortunately, the (review board) did not address some important questions about the attacks in Benghazi, which we believe may contain crucial lessons learned for other U.S. facilities abroad to follow.”
Issa, Edward Royce and Jason Chaffetz co-wrote a letter Tuesday to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that asks for the State Department to provide emails, cables and memorandums sent or received by her and several others that pertain to security in Benghazi, a complete list of every individual interviewed by a special review board and video footage of the attack by Feb. 11.
Issa, R-Vista, is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Royce, R-Brea, chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairs the Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security.
The letter states the board failed to interview several senior officials at the State Department, including Clinton, and calls it a critical omission of the facts leading up to the attack. The letter also questions why a security support team was withdrawn from Libya.
Fox News reports that while Obama may have exaggerated a teensy little bit when he said that he goes skeet shooting all the time, he has gone at least once. Maybe twice. And even though he has “profound respect” for the traditions of hunting in this country, and “has a strong record of support for our 2nd Amendment rights” *cough* … he couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
News of President Obama’s apparently long-secret fondness for skeet shooting came as a surprise to those who say they have witnessed the president’s “awkward” attempts at pinging the (clay) pigeons.
This has only happened with the president at Camp David, at most, a couple of times, according to a source who says he has been to the retreat on a half-dozen visits with Obama.
“The only time he shot skeet was for President’s Cup,” said the source, referring to a shooting competition tradition involving the presidential Marine guards. “I was there. He stayed for about five minutes, and couldn’t leave fast enough.”
Skeet shooting “is very hard,” said the source. “Especially for someone not used to guns … He couldn’t have been more uncomfortable.”
Don’t hold your breath waiting to see if he accepts Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-Tenn.) offer of a skeet shooting contest.
The new Breitbart site I told you about, The Conversation, just launched this morning! Ace, Iowahawk and John Hayward have been particularly active – which is a good thing because they’re some of the best writers we have on the right. Go check it out!
The FBI raided the offices of an eye doctor suspected of providing free trips and even underage Dominican Republic prostitutes to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. Also, the Dominican hookers are speaking to reporters.
President Obama and the bipartisan Gang of Eight in Washington who want to create a “pathway to citizenship” for millions of illegal aliens have sent a message loud and clear to those who follow the rules: You’re chumps!
Have you patiently waited for months and years for the State Department and Department of Homeland Security to slog through your application? You’re chumps!
Have you paid thousands of dollars in travel, legal and medical fees to abide by the thicket of entry, employment, health and processing regulations? You’re chumps!
Have you studied for your naturalization test, taken the oath of allegiance to heart, embraced our time-tested principle of the rule of law, and demonstrated that you will be a financially independent, productive citizen? You’re chumps!
First up — the Sequester. If the Republicans do nothing, $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years in spending cuts from the baseline (what we were going to spend on our current course), go into effect. That includes $600 billion in defense spending Republicans and conservatives don’t want to cut, and $600 billion in domestic spending cuts Republicans and conservatives do want.
The Republicans can handle that – doing nothing. They should let the sequester spending cuts go into effect, and come back passing the full defense appropriations needed in the House, daring President Obama and the Democrats to fail to provide adequately for the nation’s defenses.
And Praise the Lord, that seems to be precisely what the Republicans are going to do, let the sequester spending cuts go into effect.
Republicans also have the upper hand under the Continuing Resolutions (CR) that are now provide for federal spending. The current CR runs out on March 31, which means there will be a government shutdown then unless a new CR authorizes further spending. This gives the Republicans the leverage to impose a federal spending freeze on federal discretionary spending.
Earlier this month, we covered a suspect symposium being sponsored by a pro-Obamacare organization, designed to provide journalists with “specialized education in health care reporting”.
The anticipation of media bias was palpable. Previous revelations of this relationship prompted one reporter to write, “this sounds like a program to teach reporters to write supportive stories about the health care reform law.”
The latest symposium held on the 17th and 18th of January, was sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund and hosted by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW). It was held at Reuters headquarters in New York City, and had a featured student body of 17 mainstream reporters – including the Dallas Morning News, Reuters, and Money Magazine.
Now that it has since come to pass, concerns of blatant media bias should be even more heightened in the aftermath.
The SABEW has posted a recap of events at their ‘Business of Health Care Symposium’ on their web site, and the emphasis is clearly directed at the positive aspects of Obamacare.
For example, in a section titled ‘Spreading the Word to America’, speaker Rachel Klein explains to the reporters that “a key challenge” in messaging lies in “informing consumers of how the ACA (Affordable Care Act) will benefit them”.
Klein adds that, “The majority of uninsured Americans don’t know the health reform law will help them.”
The key subplot to Rubio’s immigration push, of course, is how much of a headache it’ll be for him with conservatives in the 2016 primaries. The talk-radio charm offensive is mainly designed to get grassroots opinion-shapers like Rush to at least wait and see what the bill looks like before lobbying against it, but more broadly it’s designed to move the Overton window on what positions are acceptable for a good conservative to hold. Rubio can afford to have immigration reform fail; he can’t afford to be RINO-ized over it. Like I said yesterday, whether or not a bill ends up passing, he’s already achieved something significant by getting Rush et al. to acknowledge that “recognizing reality” in terms of a grand bargain on immigration is something “admirable and noteworthy.” No matter what happens now, unless he ends up voting for a watered-down Democratic bill with token enforcement (which he won’t), he’s got that as a soundbite for his primary ads in 2016.
I heard the man in the black balaclava before I met him. “I love this crowd!” he boomed, shortening his stride so as not to run into the people in front of us. He looked at the throng and smiled so broadly that snow found no purchase on his mustache. “It’s great to be pro-life, isn’t it? I’d hate to be on the other side of this issue. I mean, how can you support abortion unless you go out of your way not to think about it?”
I couldn’t tell from his tone if the question was rhetorical, but I agreed with him. We appraised each other in an instant. He was big, and apart from the “40 years too many” sticker on his chest, his outfit and close-fitting cap looked almost medieval. He would have been the man who pointed you to the armory if you asked for directions in an unfamiliar castle.
We were North and South, bearded and clean-shaven, monochrome and motley, veteran marcher and wide-eyed rookie, one of us expansive and the other reserved, but kindred spirits anyhow, and we knew it. Intrigued by his comment about the power of denial, I said, “Some of the people on the other side say they’re into science and we’re not.” The man laughed. “They say ‘science,’ but if you show them an ultrasound, they run away!”
Remember how, right before the election, we had about three weeks of media hype about declining unemployment and hopeful signs of economic recovery? Yeah. They lied through their teeth:
Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — decreased at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Most economists predicted that the economy slowed in Q4, but I don’t know that anyone expected a negative number. Business Insider notes that the expectations were around 1.1% for Q4, which would have been a big drop in itself from Q3?s 3.1%.
CAPITOL HILL — During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill about how to prevent gun violence, Senior Fellow of the Independent Women’s Forum Gayle Trotter was loudly heckled by anti-gun advocates in the crowd after she suggested women need firearms to protect young children in their homes.
“An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies at her home becomes a defense weapon,” Trotter said as jeers erupted. “Guns are the great equalizer during a violent confrontation.”
I will have more about this in a separate post – if there’s video of the heckling…
I found the video, but the heckling wasn’t picked up enough on the video for a stand alone post. You can hear a faint outcry at the end of Totter’s statement, when she says I speak for millions of women…”
The Obama White House reacted to the horrible news today that the economy is shrinking by blaming the decline on Hurricane Sandy and the defense spending cuts. White House Spokesman Jay Carney had the gall to blame Republicans for the GDP number and defense cuts. The Hill reported:
“Our economy is facing a major headwinds, and that’s Republicans in Congress,” Carney said.
Of course, the sequester idea came from inside the Obama White House.
The letter itself is measured, matter-of-fact, and echoes many of the themes we’ve covered here before.
They find the lies of “assault weapons” to be disingenuous. They find the threat of banning standard capacity magazines to be a maneuver towards banning entire classes of firearms. They note that the very firearms Congress and the President are trying to outlaw are those that are most protected under the Founder’s original intent as affirmed in Miller, Printz, and Heller by the U.S. Supreme Court. They point out that the 1994 ban had no effect on crime. The bring up the McMinn County War as a example of how citizens have had to go to war against corrupt Democrats as recently as 1946 to depose tyrants. They point out that gun control always precedes tyranny.
They pull no punches, and make a very eloquent, rational defense of the Second Amendment and the Constitution in general, and suggest an eight-step course of action.