One last question about newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
Why for nearly two months (a Washington eternity) did this nominee above all others galvanize GOP Senate opposition?
I ask the question in genuine wonderment. After all, there was John Kerry with that giant bull's-eye on his record for giving outrageous aid and comfort to America's enemies by, among other things, entering into negotiations with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in 1971. How does a U.S. citizen tapped to lead the State Department not have to answer to U.S. senators for such treasonous behavior while a young but already noted public figure?
He was never asked the question, that's how. Kerry sailed, or even windsurfed, through his confirmation hearing right into Foggy Bottom with only three little dissenting bumps (no votes from GOP Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas and James Inhofe of Oklahoma).
Then there's John Brennan, President Obama's nominee for CIA director. Sure, the president's counterterrorism adviser still sits unconfirmed on a hottish seat. But I would bet large sums of money that, whether confirmed (likely) or not, senators will never ask Brennan a single question about the gross misinformation or, worse, disinformation that he regularly disseminates concerning the nature and aims of Islamic jihad. Nor will he be asked about allegations from a credible source -- former FBI investigator John Guandolo (whose special expertise is Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood) -- that, as CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, Brennan was successfully targeted for conversion to Islam by a Saudi intelligence operation. And forget about any GOP pooh-bah being bold enough to inquire about the role Brennan might have played in 2008 as CEO of the security company whose employee helped breach the State Department passport records of Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama -- whose new administration, not incidentally, Brennan would join a few months later. Mum is always the word.
But Hagel drew the heavy fire. Why? Let me explain that, except for sharing with Hagel the goal of bringing home American troops from Iraqi and Afghan hellholes and excusing them from nation-building duties forever, I do not share much of the former senator's worldview. But when I look at the red flags the GOP seized on and waved, I remain perplexed.