The title of an ABC News article released on January 31, 2013 is “Chuck Hagel, GOP Senators BUTT HEADS at Defense Secretary Confirmation Hearing” (Web-site/URL: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/chuck-hagel-facing-colleagues-defense-secretary-nominee/story?id=18365695#.UQtNLLzARCA.twitter). “butt heads” is HIGHLY CONFRONTATIONAL.
“Facing a ROCKY confirmation process, Chuck Hagel today (January 31, 2013) defended his record before his former Senate colleagues, including an OPENLY IMPATIENT Sen. John McCain”. So a POLITICIAN is “openly impatient”. NO SURPRISE THERE. Hagel’s “confirmation process” will be EXTREMELY “rocky”, at least if Sen. McCain has his way.
“in his opening statement at his first confirmation hearing for secretary of defense”, Hagel said: “I’m on the record on many issues, BUT NO ONE INDIVIDUAL VOTE, NO ONE INDIVIDUAL QUOTE, NO ONE INDIVIDUAL STATEMENT defines me“. This is somewhat DEFENSIVE (Web-site/URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnAY_eXYbI).
“My OVERALL worldview has NEVER changed: that America has and MUST MAINTAIN THE STRONGEST military in the world, that we must lead in the international community to confront threats and challenges TOGETHER“.
“In the hearing’s testiest exchange, McCain grilled Hagel on the former senator’s opposition to the Iraq “surge”, a stance that SEPARATED Hagel from most members of his party in 2007″. Again, this is an issue of PARTISAN POLITICS.
“The Arizona senator championed the “surge” both as a senator and in his 2008 presidential campaign, while Hagel joined Democrats in VOCALLY CRITICIZING the strategy. McCain pressed Hagel at today’s (January 31, 2013) hearing to say whether he believes the surge was a mistake”. NEITHER party likes it when members of THEIR OWN party criticize them.
“When Hagel declined to answer “yes” or “no“, McCain told his former colleague, “I want to know if you were right or wrong. That’s a direct question“, repeatedly accusing Hagel of refusing to answer the question”.
“McCain concluded: “You’re on THE WRONG SIDE OF IT and YOUR REFUSAL TO ANSWER whether you were right or wrong on it IS GOING TO HAVE AN IMPACT on my judgment on whether to vote for your confirmation“. This sounds like A THREAT.
“Hagel also underwent some tough, pointed questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., an ally of McCain’s in the Senate. Graham pointed out Hagel’s decision not to sign letters on Middle East policy during his Senate career, at one point asking Hagel, “Do you think that the SUM TOTAL of your record, ALL THAT TOGETHER, that the image you’ve created is one of sending THE WORST possible signal to our enemies and friends at one of THE MOST CRITICAL times in world history?”
“Hagel said he DID NOT“.
“Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., appeared DISSATISFIED with Hagel’s answers on nuclear nonproliferation. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., suggested Hagel had “FLIP-FLOP[ped]” on Middle East policy since being nominated”. Well, again, IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE. THE GOP also “flip-flops”.
“But perhaps the most aggressive GOP senator in questioning Hagel was newly elected Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who arranged for audio recordings of Hagel to be played in the committee room, as he questioned Hagel about a past interview. He suggested Hagel’s record “demonstrates A GREATER ANTAGONISM for the state of Israel than any member of this body (the Senate)”. And he requested that Hagel read and submit written reaction to a speech by Charles Freeman, a former intelligence nominee who withdrew in 2009 after CONTROVERSY AROSE over his stances on Israel”.
“Senate Republicans and pro-Israel groups have VOICED GRIEVANCES with Hagel’s record, including OPPOSITION TO UNILATERAL sanctions against Iran, SUPPORT for talks with Hamas, OPPOSITION TO deeming IRAN‘s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, and a reference to Israel-backing groups as the “Jewish LOBBY“. That’s the GOP formula: BASHING Iran and FIERCE DEFENSE of Israel.
“Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., acknowledged such concerns as he opened the committee’s hearing, referencing “TROUBLING statements [Hagel] has made about Israel and its supporters in the United States”. This is the first indication of bi-partisan OPPOSITION to Hagel.
“Hagel DEFENDED his Middle East record under questioning from multiple senators”. “When I voted AGAINST some of those unilateral sanctions on Iran,IT WAS A DIFFERENT TIME“, referring to his votes in the early 2000’s. “We were IN A DIFFERENT PLACE with Iran at that time. As a matter of fact, the BUSH administration DID NOT want a five-year renewal of [the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act] at that time because THEY WEREN’T SURE OF THE EFFECTIVENESS of the sanctions“. Again, this seems to be a DEFENSIVE answer (Web-site/URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnAY_eXYbI).
“Hagel said his record of public statements shows he has CONSISTENTLY referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as TERRORIST GROUPS and Iran as A STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM“. The GOP STILL think they have an edge when it comes to “terrorism”.
“DEFENDING his vote against labeling Iran’s guard corps as a terrorist group”, Hagel said: “The way I approached EVERY vote I took in the Senate was what I THOUGHT would be THE MOST EFFECTIVE“. Well it’s clear that A LOT OF PEOPLE DISAGREE WITH HIM and this includes members of the party of THE MAN HAGEL WANTS TO WORK FOR. “What was the situation at the time, how can we do this SMARTER and BETTER?” Also once again Hagel seems to be DEFENSIVE here (Web-site/URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnAY_eXYbI).
Finally, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the committee’s top Republican, said he will OPPOSE Hagel’s nomination”. “Senator Hagel is A GOOD MAN who has A RECORD OF SERVICE“. However, “He is THE WRONG MAN to lead the Pentagon”. THIS IS THE MOST DAMNING CRITICISM OF HAGEL YET.
So, just like the HEALTHCARE REFORM vote that needed 60 Senate votes to avoid filibustering, here 51 votes are required and right now, to be COMPLETELY and BRUTALLY HONEST, those votes MAY NOT be there. So two days after JOHN KERRY was confirmed by a vote of 94-3 to succeed HILLARY CLINTON as the next Secretary of State (Web-site/URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kerry), Hagel’s nomination/chances/prospects of becoming the next Defense Secretary APPEAR TO BE IN JEOPARDY.