Controversies surrouding Chuck Hagel - Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense
For better or worse, President Obama's nominee for defense secretary "says in public what others only say in private." Walter Russell Mead at The National Interest persuasively argues that "people who want to follow news seriously" should save themselves time and energy by "skipping the froth and frenzy" of journalists and bloggers sifting through Hagel's record for "disqualifying blemishes."
But any "serious observers" who take Mead's advice — "it's a great time to pick up a good book" — will miss a great show, as conservatives take umbrage at Hagel's insensitivity on gay rights and opposition to abortion while liberals support "an old-school western conservative with a history of opposing much of what Democrats stand for," as The New Yorker's John Cassidy categorizes Hagel. Here's a guide to some of the things Hagel has said that are being used against him, fairly or unfairly, as he battles to be the next Pentagon chief:
1. "The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people"
2. The Iraq troop "surge" is a "dangerous foreign policy blunder"
3. And so is the Afghanistan surge
4. "I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down"
5. U.S. ambassadors shouldn't be "openly, aggressively gay"
6. Warrentless wiretapping was fine
7. Hagel voted largely like a conventional Republican