The Senate voted to confirm former Sen. Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama’s next secretary of defense following weeks of dogged opposition by Republican senators to their erstwhile colleague.
The Senate voted 58 to 41 to formally confirm Hagel, on the heels of a procedural vote earlier in the day that cleared the way for Tuesday afternoon’s final vote.
That earlier vote dispensed with a filibuster that Senate Republicans had waged for a week and a half against Hagel, whose confirmation was delayed by Republicans past the President’s Day recess in order to allow for more time to dig into the former Nebraska senator’s background.
I’m generally in favor of granting wide latitude to the President in choosing his cabinet members. But, in spite of his infantry NCO background, I’m appalled at the choice of Chuck Hagel as SecDef. Not so much on ideological grounds, but on the fact that he’s just not very bright.
DoD is facing some enormous management challenges in the coming years, and Hagel has shown absolutely no talent for managing complex entities. DoD also faces serious strategic policy issues, and Hagel hasn’t shown much depth there either.
What really frustrates me is that there are any number of people from the Democrat side that would have made pretty good candidates. I might disagree with them (vehemently) on any number of issues, but they at least have skills and smarts to put to the task.
One struggles to find a reason why President Obama has chosen to place the top three national security jobs in the hands of people that are rather dim. I can only surmise that by placing weak people in these jobs, he feels he can maintain closer personal control, and not have strong, independent minded leaders pushing back on his policy directives.