I have to say in all my years of studying politics that I never thought I’d see an uglier confirmation hearing than even the battle over Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, who I had the pleasure of seeing speak at my alma mater.
The most disturbing element of that whole charade was when several members of the American Bar Association (ABA) rated Bork as “unqualified” to be on the Supreme Court, even though he served on the DC Court of Appeals, one of the highest judicial posts in America outside the Supreme Court, to say nothing of the rest of his distinguished legal career.
Clearly, some on the ABA just didn’t like Bork or his opinions, or they wouldn’t have lied about his qualifications. But that’s politics in Washington for you.
A similar injustice is about to be done to another Republican. The Secretary of Defense nominee, Chuck Hagel, has been attacked for being “unqualified.” It’s just the latest barrage against him that has been ongoing before he was even formally nominated.
Hagel would be one of the few Defense Secretaries to ever serve on the front lines, which he did in Vietnam. Saying he’s unqualified is a slap in the face of anyone who served in our armed forces. The fact that he’s a decorated veteran only adds insult to injury. It may shock you to learn that the Texas Senator launching these attacks never served in the military.
Hagel was also a successful businessman, before he got into politics. Didn’t Republicans insist that we need more people with business experience in Washington, DC in the last election?
Hagel also served as a two-term GOP Senator from Nebraska. His enemies have accused him of being a liberal. His American Conservative Union lifetime rating is 83.7 conservative, twice that of Maine liberal GOP Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and almost the same rating as Iowa Senator Charles Grassley.
Republicans even sought to claim that Hagel shouldn’t be confirmed as Defense Secretary because he held anti-gay views. How Orwellian is that?
One of our most conservative political science majors, Chip Dobbs, even interned with Hagel, and had nothing but positive things to say about him, and working for him.
In my own internship experience, I worked for Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold. Years ago, there was a controversial vote on whether or not conservative Missouri Senator John Ashcroft should be George W. Bush’s Attorney General. Feingold noted that while he disagreed with Ashcroft on a variety of issues, it was his job to determine whether the nominee was qualified for the job. And Ashcroft was. Ashcroft was narrowly confirmed, thanks to people like Feingold who didn’t abuse their job to settle petty ideological scores.
If you think we should have a decorated veteran, businessman, and conservative senator as our leader of the Pentagon, contact Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, and let them know to stop the filibuster and those who attack Hagel as “unqualified.”