Where to put Chuck?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will be accompanying Senator Barack Obama on a tour of Iraq — date unconfirmed. This is on the heels of rumors the past week that the two were possibly going to Afghanistan together, which got canceled for whatever reason.

This trip is further fueling the talk of Hagel in a job in a potential Obama administration.

But what job exactly?

When you hear (non-Nebraska) Dems talk about Hagel, they glow with a radiant aura about Hagel – a Republican! – who doesn’t like the war in Iraq. Then in reverential terms they talk about how intelligent he is. How knowledgeable. How well credentialed.

Until, of course, you suggest that he be Vice President.
And you let them know that he’s pro-life, anti-gay marriage and generally votes conservative on a host of other issues.
Then Veep is out.

So the next plumb admin job they suggest is Secretary of Defense! Republican Senator Bill Cohen was Bill Clinton’s SecDef, so presumably another, anti-war, Republican could do the job.

Except that Hagel’s not really qualified. Oh sure he was in the Army, but few would argue that that alone qualifies you for the top Pentagon job.

Hagel’s Senate experience is on the Foreign Affairs Committee. He’s well versed in the discussions of diplomacy, economics, state to state relations, and such. But that’s not really the job of the SecDef. That job entails formulating battle plans, choosing defense systems, manging troops, etc. It’s the job of a warrior. It’s the Pentagon. It’s not Foggy Bottom.

So let’s say that Hagel IS qualified to be a Secretary of State. That’s where his experience lies, and Hagel is the first to tell you that the Iraq War needs a diplomatic, not military solution. So Hagel the diplomat — the lead diplomat — right?

Well hold on there cowboy.

Like V.P., Secretary of State is a PLUMB job. It’s arguably the rock-star job of the administration. Veep — State — Chief of Staff — maybe Treasury — then maybe Defense is arguably how you could rank administration jobs.

But we’ve already ruled-out Veep. Treasury is usually for financial types, which he also wouldn’t fit. Chief of Staff is a little too mundane probably. Above we argue that he’s not really qualified for Defense. So for a top job, visible as a Republican in a Dem admin, you’d look at State.

But is the first Democrat in eight years going to give that high level of a job to a Republican? How do you think Joe Biden, or Bill Richardson, or heck even Al Gore or Hillary would feel about that? You’d hear a LOT of grumbling. Enough grumbling to keep him out? We think so.

Then where to put the venerable Chuck Hagel?
Ambassador to the U.N? (Meh.)
Veterans Affairs? (Feh.)
H.U.D???

Is there an empty chair at Barack’s table for Chuck?

22 comments

  1. asecurityguard says:

    Secretary of Defense doesn’t need someone with extensive military experience to do that job, the requisite skill for that job would be excellent management skills. Was Donald Rumsfeld a general? What about National Security Advisor?

  2. Street Sweeper says:

    The man in charge of the most powerful armed forces on Earth doesn’t need experience?

    Just a manager?

    Well, then Kell Varnson from your local Denny’s is the man for the job.

  3. Uncle Wiggily says:

    How about POTUS limo driver … Chuckie hasn’t lost his driver’s license like another Nebraska pol hopeful has he?

    The old “You don’t need experience, you just have to be a manager” mantra was all the rage back in the 60’s. We saw how well it worked out with McNamara and his Merry Band of Bean-Counters. Since then most knowledgeable folks agree if you’re going to run a company, it’s a good idea to have at least minimal expertise/acquaintance with the product(s).

    That would make Chuckles qualified to … oh, I don’t know … maybe, be a roustabout with a carnival?

    The man has no discernible skills, and certainly no redeeming characteristics – should be ‘zactly what Obama is looking for.

  4. asecurityguard says:

    Read the words again SS and UW. I said extensive military servce, and that is not a pre-requisite. Robert gates served for only a couple of years, same with Donald Rumsfeld. William Perry and William Cohen didn’t have any military experience. Les Aspin had a couple of years, Dick Cheney actively avoided serving in the military. So no, you do not need extensive military service to be the sec of defense. Let me refrain my manager experience statement, I should have said you need CEO type experience, leadership experience for you to be qualified for this job.

  5. Street Sweeper says:

    Not military service, per se, — some work experience related to the military. Such as, at least, committee experience.

  6. Brian Bresnahan says:

    Sweeper,
    What are the odds he’ll switch to the Democratic Party later this summer, making himself eligible for all of the above?
    Would the odds be different before and after the trip to the Middle East with Obama?
    I’d put them closer to a long-shot than a sure thing, but stranger things have happened.
    Besides, it would tarnish the image Obama’s trying to portray.

  7. OmaSteak says:

    Could it be that soon to be ex-Senator Hagel is just courting some favor with a potential Obama administration not for a government position but to better position himself for profit once he returns to the private sector? One should also notice that he hasn’t been overtly critical of Senator McCain, so he’s probably just covering all the bases for his future lobbying career.

  8. md9 says:

    Hagel was McCain’s top supporter in 2000 while Bush, and most GOP bloggers here, were cutting McCain’s guts to ribbons.

    You griped when Hagel was going to run. You griped when he didn’t run. You gripe about Hagel being Conservative.

    Is it that Hagel is more Conservative than Bush or McCain? Or that Hagel might bring some of that Conservatism to an otherwise Liberal Adminstration?

    There are people who, if they see that the GOP cannot win, they pray that a Democratic Administration will utterly destroy America so they can say, “Naaaa, I told you so.”

  9. Street Sweeper says:

    I don’t know any Republican who hopes for the destruction of America. That’s more of the Dem’s line of thinking.

    And it’s Hagel who seems to be joining the socialist movement of Obama. Hagel’s going to make him more conservative, huh? Wow, a secret double-agent. Who’d a thunk.

    (Btw, this blog didn’t exist in 2000. I don’t know too many that did…)

  10. One Out In The Third says:

    Uncle…

    POTUS Limo Driver is reserved for Speed Racer while the Lovely Ms. Jane continues to provide liberal traffic reports on Fox News.

    Hagel appears to me to be more of a flipper than McCain. The man has no loyalty but to himself and his mirror.

    I’m thinking Jim Webb will be Obama’s pick as SECDEF…if it gets that far. He is more in tune with Obama and one with the party.

    The hope is that the American public although not pleased with McCain will see the light come November and Hagel will again have hitched upon the wrong star. Did I say turncoat anywhere?

  11. Anonymous says:

    When are you folks going to get it? Hagel has always said he is a United States Senator before he is a Republican Senator. Smell the coffee folks, your boy W has wrecked the GOP and heavily damaged the US image around the world. We are loosing a damn good Senator…..too bad there’s not more like him.

  12. One Out In the Third says:

    I will agree that “W” has plunged during his lame duck term and there probably aren’t a whole lot of conservatives happy with him. I will also point out that our Congress is right down there with catfish dung in their good to excellent approval rating…9 percent…first single digit approval rating since when? Since forever.

    Are we talking about the same “Chuck – I voted for the War (in 2002) Before I Was Against It – Open the Borders and Give ’em Amnesty – Hagel?” Would a “U.S. Senator” openly tell our troops their mission is the biggest blunder since Viet Nam? Have a voting record on immigration/border security not in the best interests of Americans?

    I am certain the Obama Tour in Iraq will get a cool reception even with the blistering heat in the 110’s to 120’s.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Out there in the third, get your facts straight……the Senate voted in 02 on a resolution to go to war “IF ALL ELSE FAILS”. But W didn’t do that because he was in a big hurry to get the man “WHO TRIED TO KILL MY DADDY”. Instead he got us into Viet Nam II. Maybe try to get out of the Third District once in a while.

  14. Right Wing Professor says:

    I think I’ve identified the perfect job for Chuck: White House butler. He looks good in a tuxedo, he’s got a bland midwestern accent, and as far as we know, he’s never hit anyone.

  15. One Out In The Third (in a cave) says:

    anon…

    So Hagel was hoodwinked? Shame on him being on the Senate Intelligence Committee and all. Hagel himself admitted he voted for the authority to go to war…then he waited 3 years to go critical.

    Political hindsight is also 20/20…and it gets even better with time. The problem for Hagel is the surge is working and the Iraqi’s are inching toward a better standard of life and Hagel will have to dream up some new tales to justify his and your perception of history. I prefer my life in my dank dark cave out here in the Third. You must be from the enlightened Second.

  16. Anonymous says:

    No, your right Caveman from the Third….Iraq is going JUST SWELL…hey, maybe now we can INVADE Iran…..W for ever!!

  17. ptg says:

    I’d suggest Chuck for Ambassador to Viet-Nam. Unless he can shake a black ancestor out of his family tree or prove he was secretly an SDS member in college, what else is there?

    I just wish folks would quit using his name in the same sentence with ‘Nebraska’.

  18. oildriller says:

    ” And, a few other things the Republicans should talk about:
    1995 — Oil at $18 a barrel: Democratic President Bill Clinton vetoes oil exploration in ANWR.

    1998 — Oil at $20 a barrel: Democratic President Clinton issues executive order banning offshore oil and gas drilling.

    2001 — Oil at $28 a barrel: Democrats Bonior, Stupak and Kaptur lead efforts to block Great Lakes oil exploration and drilling in Gulf.

    2005 — Oil at $45 a barrel: Democrat Rahm Emmanuel blocks BP’s refinery expansion plans.

    2006 — Oil at $70 a barrel: Democrats block oil exploration in ANWR.

    2006 — Oil at $75 a barrel: Democrats block US companies from drilling off the coasts of the U.S.

    2006 — Oil at $75 a barrel: Democrat Pelosi helps block access to Gulf of Mexico ‘natural gas’ trove.

    2008 — Oil at $145 a barrel: Judge appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton blocks oil drilling in Michigan.

    Last week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that “Drilling is a hoax! It’s an absolute hoax!” “

  19. Mission Not Accomplished says:

    Regarding the comment above on oil prices, Chuck Hagel has voted every time to open ANWR to drilling. In fact, Hage has been a vocal proponent for doing so going back to 1996.

    Ben Nelson on the other hand has voted each and everytime to filibuster drilling-in-ANWR bills.

    From 2003-2006, Republicans easily had the majority of votes to open ANWR and bring new oil supplies to the U.S. market. Sometimes, as many as 57 or 58 senators supported it.

    But Nelson joined the Dem minority and 3 or 4 liberal Republicans to prevent the GOP from attaining the necessary 60 votes to break the filibuster.

    Way to go, Ben! How do you like to gas prices now?

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