Politics apparently continued over the winter holidays. What did that crafty Barack Obama do while the rest of us were worshiping the Baby Jesus or whatever? He is suggesting that America allow Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense, that's what! Who would let Chuck Hagel do something as important as overseeing the continued American defeat in Afghanistan, when he has controversial opinions about The Gays and Israel?
But, like all cabinet battles, the controversy around Chuck Hagel is both a) limited to Politico reporters/editors and the people who actually read the Politico, and b) not really about the Defense Department but actually about right-wing Christians who hate gays and love when Israel bombs those Muslim babies, because the Bible says (?) that's okay.
In the case of both the Israelis and the Gays, it seems Hagel is actually just showing a polite man's distaste for aggression. He just has old-fashioned manners!
In 1998, Hagel opposed President Bill Clinton's nomination of openly gay James Hormel as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. The Nebraska senator said an "openly, aggressively gay" man should not represent the U.S.
As for Israel, it's not that the Republican politician dislikes the Jewish race. Since the 1980s, Republicans have loved the Jews. (Prior to that, Republicans simply didn't care for Jews living in Republican American neighborhoods, that's all!) Hagel's beef with Israel is all about manners.
"The political reality is … that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here," Hagel told former Mideast peace negotiator Aaron David Miller in a 2006 interview. "I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it's in the interest of Israel. I just don’t think it’s smart for Israel."
Love the sinner, hate the sin! That's all this is about, totally normal American Republican assholery.
Hagel also hates senators of either party, so he's pretty much square with majority American opinion on that. Good luck leading our nation to failure in whatever 12-year-long wars you happen to inherit, Chuck!
Photo via the Secretary of Defense.