It’s fascinating, actually, to see a nominee of this importance do so poorly. Chuck Hagel, nominated for defense secretary, has gone from awful to atrocious today, having to deny the obvious meaning of words he previously authored (on Global Zero), correct himself repeatedly (no, he didn’t mean Iran’s government was “legitimate”) and find himself simply unable to explain himself. Forgetting about his views, he does not radiate the confidence nor project the intelligence the job demands. It is unclear whether he was not prepped properly, whether he refused to be coached or whether he simply isn’t bright. A long-time Capitol Hill Democrat astounded by the hearing tells me, “It is very clear from the testimony that Sen. Hagel will not be bringing the potato salad to the next Mensa picnic.”
via Hagel sinking.
I disagreed on policy with many of the decisions of SecDef Panetta, but there was no denying he is a smart guy, and a competent manager. But Chuck Hagel is something of a dim bulb, as his performance has shown, both as a (GOP) Senator, and most recently and visibly, in today’s confirmation hearings in the Senate.
It’s interesting that President Obama, who tended to choose fairly bright people for important national security posts in his first term, has swung to nominating such intellectual lightweights as John Kerry and Chuck Hagel.
But don’t worry. Even if he’s confirmed, “I won’t be in a policymaking position.”