Why Chuck Hagel Is A Disappointing Choice For Secretary Of Defense
Chuck Hagel was (eventually) right about the Iraq War and his apparent skepticism towards Israeli policy is refreshing (in Washington this means he actually considers what Israel says instead of approving it no matter what) but I still think he’s an unfortunate choice for Secretary of Defense.
It’s simple math. Since the position has existed, there have been 23 Secretaries of Defense. Of those 23, fifteen have been Republicans who have served under both parties. Of the remaining 8 Democrats, they have only served under other Democrats. Our two most recent Democratic presidents, Obama and Clinton, both had Republicans serve as Secretary of Defense.
You can’t tell me that Barack Obama can’t find a Democrat to serve.
There is an utterly false idea that Republicans are stronger on national security issues, but this just isn’t true. Our most recent foreign policy disaster, Iraq, was almost completely the creation of a Republican administration. By comparison, our triumphs – World War II, actions in Yugoslavia, Libya, and the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, have come under Democratic leadership. (And I fully acknowledge that Democrats can screw up, as Kennedy and Johnson did in Vietnam.)
Democrats can, and should be trusted to lead on defense. The American people just ratified that at the ballot box, choosing Obama to keep them safe over Romney’s feckless, Bush-style foreign policy.
President Obama should look to his own party, to the party of national security, for the most important point-person on national defense. If he feels the urge to show bipartisanship in his new cabinet, he can follow in the footsteps of the Bush administration and put a Republican in charge of transportation.