Obama To Nominate Chuck Hagel As Defense Secretary Tomorrow


It’s official. Or it will be soon. Democratic sources tell Politico that President Obama will hold a news conference tomorrow to formally nominate former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next Defense Secretary. Obama will also reportedly name a successor for disgraced Gen. David Petraeus’ CIA job.

Hagel will be the main event, though, mostly because of the controversy over his past comments on Iran, Israel and gay people, the latter of whom he said in 1998 couldn’t represent the nation’s values abroad.

But President Obama, who says Hagel’s apology for those remarks shows a “positive change,” seems confident in Hagel’s abilities and experiences. Said a Democratic insider of the soon-to-be nominee, “Chuck Hagel is a decorated war hero who would be the first enlisted soldier and Vietnam veteran to go on to serve as Secretary of Defense. He had the courage to break with his party during the Iraq War, and would help bring the war in Afghanistan to an end while building the military we need for the future.”

Hagel was also described as a “champion of the troops” whom President Obama trusts: “The President knows him well, has traveled with him to Iraq and
Afghanistan, trusts him, and believes he represents the proud tradition
of a strong, bipartisan foreign policy in the United States.”

It’s unclear how conservatives who question Hagel’s commitment to Israel and liberals who worry about his discriminatory past will react to the nomination: will they launch a campaign to block his nomination? Even those in the Senate, the body that will ultimately confirm or reject Hagel’s nomination, don’t know for sure.

One Democratic Senate source told Politico, “I don’t think Dems just fall in line. Ultimately, he may be confirmed. But at this stage, his fate is totally up in the air. He will really have to work hard to overcome some of his previous statements and positions.”

But do Democrats really want to look like they’re obstructing the president? Wouldn’t they rather leave that to conservatives?


  1. Wayne says

    Since election Obama continues to insist that marriage is a “state issue, has REFUSED to enact ENDA protections through executive order (the primary request of HRC – Which Obama shot down immediately and Obama has also signed a defense bill which offers a “conscience clause” protection for bigoted anti-gay military members and then had the nerve to say his Secretary of Defense would ensure that no anti-gay discrimination occured – And then Obama nominates A KNOWN ANTI-GAY BIGOT to be Secratary of Defense.

    Obama’s betrayal of the LGBT community begins.

  2. andrew says

    An excellent choice. This man is the antidote to the “chicken hawk” neocon military interventionists who send our youth to be wounded and die in needless foreign wars and spend trillions on military wars that could be saved or spent on building up America.

  3. Gast says

    I hate this nomination. Chuck Hagel isn’t fit to lead an integrated military. Can’t the President show bipartisanship any other way? Nominating Republicans to leadership roles in the defense department only serves to perpetuate a false notion.

  4. andrew says

    @Wayne & Gast: Of course the President is the man who makes the final decisions about whether or not we get involved in foreign military interventions. However, he will have two Vietnam wounded warriors in Kerry and Hagel, who have seen the futility and horrors of war, as his senior cabinet advisors in those matters. They are a powerful antidote to the neocon interventionists in the Washington establishment or as it use to be called the Military-Industrial Complex. It has been said that “Hagel is Obama with a war record”. Obama deserves a Sec of Defense that thinks like him on these fundamental issues.

  5. Fahd says

    Here’s an opportunity – if the Senate would withhold its consent over Hagel’s beliefs about LGBT people, the message would be very clear, even to Obama.

    Mitch McConnell, one of my least favorite people, said today that he is taking a sort of “wait and see” approach to Hagel’s nomination. The truth is its more about Israel and Iran. Hegel’s anti-gay remarks are in the “other issues” category.

    If these “other issues” offered an avenue for his nomination to be withdrawn, it would be a victory for the LGBT community. Otherwise, I can’t see a Democratic Senate turning back the President’s nomination.

    P.S. Who represents the LGBT community in the White House?

  6. Diogenes Arktos says

    It’s not like the Cabinet is a democratic organization. POTUS has an absolute veto.

    As a matter of political strategy: Are we still working on a possible gay Secretary of Commerce? If so, it would have been a good idea to shut up here.

  7. Sargon Bighorn says

    If the Israeli lobby does not want Hagel in the job he won’t get it. Any anti-Gay comments in the past will be used as a smoke screen. Gay folk and Gay issues are not important in this context.

  8. jamal49 says

    Nominating Chuck Hagel will be Obama’s second major mistake of his second term.

    His first major mistake is nominating John Kerry as Secretary of State and hanging Susan Rice out to dry.

    Once again, Obama is showing his lack of cojones, foresight and backbone.


  9. Michael Bedwell says

    Why wasn’t I surprised when Belonsky’s name appeared at the end of this Administration rim job, er article? Because whenever he’s in charge, the site might as well temporarily change its name to “Obamaroad.”

    Recapping Barney Frank’s statement:

    “Then-Senator Hagel’s aggressively bigoted opposition to President Clinton’s naming the first openly gay Ambassador in U.S. history was not, as Sen. Hagel now claims, an aberration. He voted consistently against fairness for LGBT people and there does not seem to be any evidence prior to his effort to become Secretary of Defense of any apology or retraction of his attack on James Hormel. And to those of us who admire and respect Mr. Hormel, Sen. Hagel’s description of him as aggressive can only mean that the Senator strongly objected to Hormel’s reasoned, civil advocacy for LGBT people.
    I cannot think of any other minority group in the U.S. today where such a negative statement and action made in 1998 would not be an obstacle to a major Presidential appointment.”

  10. Anthony says

    Sorry but this is a fight worth having. We have the Presidency and the Senate and shouldn’t have to settle for anything but the best. As a member of the military I am disgusted by this nomination. I am calling both of my Democratic senators tomorrow and urging them to fight this bigot. I completely agree with Barney Frank’s statement.

  11. M.Sphardi says

    There is a mutual dependency between Israel and the US that is profound. “Nations don’t have friends; they have interests”. There is no war since 1815 that the US should have engaged in. e.g.had we stayed out of WWI, it is doubtful that there would have been a WWII, etc. Egypt, the Saudis, and Gulf depend on Israel and US to protect them. Israel can take care of its own defense and economy. Hagel will see that the Israelis are absolutely vital to US interests. Russia and China will be eager to develop their own interests thru Israel.There are already a million Russians in Israel arrived since 1989.

  12. Brian says

    I think I want to hear more on this before I make up my mind. Very interesting…

    I hope there’s some interviews or something in the near future with this guy.

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