Some interesting things:
Mr. Hagel, 66, a former senator from Nebraska and a decorated Vietnam veteran who would be the first former enlisted combat soldier to be secretary of defense, often seemed tentative in his responses.
You’d think we would have had one before… well, no, not really. Traditionally the Washington club is, indeed, for the wealthy. No doubt that if he becomes the Secretary of Defense such a part of his history will be celebrated greatly by all the men in uniform.
He was no officer… He works for a living.
There was dismay from Democrats and derision from Republicans about Mr. Hagel’s sometimes stumbling performance during seven and a half hours of testimony.
“I’m going to be candid,” Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat and committee member, told MSNBC, “I think that Chuck Hagel is much more comfortable asking questions than answering them.”
She added: “That’s one bad habit I think you get into when you’ve been in the Senate. You can dish it out, but sometimes it’s a little more difficult to take it.”
Wouldn’t that to be expected? Answering questions for 7.5 hours is no simple task. I think even the best of orators would get to some point of stumbling. However, I assume the fellow must have been groomed for a while.
And then it gets a bit ugly:
The angriest exchange of the hearing occurred with Mr. McCain of Arizona, a fellow Vietnam veteran who was a close friend of Mr. Hagel in the Senate, but split with him because of Mr. Hagel’s skeptical views on the Iraq war. Mr. McCain was a strong supporter of the war, and like many Republicans, he still holds Mr. Hagel’s opposition against him. In 2008, Mr. Hagel did not endorse Mr. McCain for president and traveled with Mr. Obama, then a senator from Illinois, to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Hagel dodged a direct answer as Mr. McCain asked him repeatedly if history would judge whether he was right or wrong in opposing the surge in American armed forces in 2007. The escalation, along with other major factors, is credited with helping to quell the violence in Iraq at the time. When Mr. Hagel said he wanted to explain, Mr. McCain bore in.
“I actually would like an answer, yes or no,” Mr. McCain said.
Heh. Alright. So McCain was legitimately a bit riled up over the issue of Hagel not supporting the Iraq war and quite understandably wanted to razz Hagel. Hagel wanted to give a longer response which was totally justified, even I as a conservative know, but McCain wanted to cut him off…
A bit disgusting but this is Washington and this behavior should be expected.
I assume that Hagel’s best feature is the fact that he is a war veteran against the Iraq war and a former enlisted fellow. I am guessing these are the primary reasons for his nomination.
Let’s see what happens.