Hagel's Skill: Saying What We Want to Hear
Bret Stephens: Former senator is no GOP maverick
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 8, 2013 12:43 PM CST
In this June 26, 2008 file photo, then Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., speaks on foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

(Newser) – Chuck Hagel showed courage in Vietnam—but those who hail him for the bravery to stand against his party have it wrong, writes Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal. The truth is, Hagel is just good at taking views "exactly in keeping with received Beltway wisdom." Take his 1998 attack on Clinton nominee James Hormel for being "openly, aggressively gay," then his apology last year. Or his support for Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 1999 and his rejection of it "when his name made Mr. Obama's shortlist for secretary of defense."

Then there's his support for force in Iraq in 2002, and his call for an exit from the unpopular war in 2006. And when he's been wrong, he doesn't "hold himself to account," Stephens writes. In the Washington Post, however, Dana Milbank feels quite differently. Hagel faced multiple mine explosions in Vietnam: "This is not a man who is going to shrink from a fight with the chicken hawks of the Senate." As for President Obama, "who has too often shied from forceful leadership, the Hagel nomination was a welcome sign that he is willing to pick a fight in his second term." Click for Milbank's full piece, or Stephens'.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Hagel's Skill: Saying What We Want to Hear is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 13 comments
Jan 9, 2013 10:44 AM CST
(R) 2014 & 2016 Gov. RICK PERRY Report: If (R) Chuck Hagel is going run Pentagon, UT-Austin and Texas A&M University like Chuck Hagel to fund a budget to design a next-generation Tank's 360-degree inside simulation 3-D viewed outside of battle ground, anti-missile ground-to-air Laser weapon; much advanced than German-made tanks. Of course Germany is good in design the sensor device.
Jan 8, 2013 5:06 PM CST
Chuck Hagel comes across much like President Eisenhower did. Unfortunately, he shows too much "common sense" for all those lawyers in Congress. If those in Congress were going into battle , who do you think they would want protecting their "6" -- Lindsey Graham or Chuck Hagel?
Jan 8, 2013 3:23 PM CST
Mr. Cantor, you know zip about Chuck Hagel. He WILL give an honest opinion to The President. Ultimately, it's not Hagel but The President who has the final word in the executive branch of govt. Joe Biden has known Hagel for many years & they've worked together when both were in The Senate. Mr. Cantor, check the video of Hagel criticizing himself & Congress when it comes to support for the war in Iraq.