William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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NO! – AT 10:51 A.M. ET:  There are reports flying around, including some from sources I respect, that President Obama will tomorrow nominate Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense.  The timing would be no accident.  It is the equivalent of a Friday document dump, designed to get minimum attention.  Announcing a nomination on New Year's Eve would mean most of the opponents would probably be unavailable for comment.

I stress that this report has not been confirmed.  In recent days we've been told that Obama realized how strong the opposition to Hagel was, and that he was looking at alternatives.  If these new reports are true, Obama has decided to stick with a woefully inadequate, defective, and appalling choice.

To show you how appalling the choice is, Hagel was just endorsed by Pat Buchanan, the neo-fascist intellectual leader of the paleo-conservatives.  I consider Buchanan, like Hagel, a turncoat Republican.  In Buchanan's case he turned his back on his party to go far right, and has spent time in the fever swamps of racism and, clearly, anti-Semitism.  He is a man who has no problem insulting the memory of those who died for this country in World War II, writing that the war was caused by Churchill, not Hitler.  Great endorsement.

We hope these new reports aren't true, but I fear they may be.  If they are, we will have John Kerry at State – a man who insulted and libeled his fellow American service personnel in Vietnam; and we will have Chuck Hagel at Defense, a man who, among many, many other sins, favors catastrophic cuts in the defense budget.  I wonder how many professional soldiers will hand in their retirement papers.

December 30,  2012