The war against Chuck Hagel followed a predictable pattern. It will end soon when the U.S. Senate votes to confirm Hagel as President Barack Obama's next defense secretary.
This is one of those rare occasions in American politics when you may "take it to the bank," that in a struggle between a U.S. presidential nominee, and the pro-Israel lobby, the presidential nominee will win.
The political war the Lobby will lose began when Lobby forces launched their initial attacks against former Republican Nebraska Senator Hagel's rumored nomination.
Led by its media and political "myrmidons" (myrmidon: A faithful follower who carries out orders unquestioningly) the Lobby's plan followed the usual pattern:
"Strike early, suggest a safer nominee, provide liberals with political cover, and then, to whip up emotions from the dark side, play the anti-Semitic card."
Obama made the nomination at the White House on Monday, January 7, where he is shown above with outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left and Hagel, right.
In spite of the attacks the Lobby began against Hagel in mid-December, it failed to block the nomination. What led to this Obama victory?
Take notes because it is a predictable pattern (remember Chas Freeman) and it will, no doubt, be repeated the next time the Israel Lobby giant senses "danger."
The "block Hagel" war was officially launched December 18, 2012, when the Washington Post editorialized that President Obama should not nominate former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel as his defense secretary because the President "has available other possible nominees who are considerably closer to the mainstream and to the president's first-term policies."
Got that, Politics 101 students? To block a nominee before she/he is named, accuse the possible nominee of being "out of the mainstream." Then, in the same opening salvo, bring in a safer, more desirable choice.
The Post offered its "consensus" candidate, Michele Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense, who was described by the Post as "a seasoned policymaker who understands how to manage the Pentagon bureaucracy and where responsible cuts can be made."
The vote on Hagel, as with other new cabinet appointments, will go first to a Senate committee. (You can tell your Uncle Charlie that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has no say in these matters. Sorry, Charlie.)
When the nomination of Hagel reaches the Senate floor, a debate will proceed and a vote taken among 53 Democrats, two Independents (both of whom caucus with the Democrats), and 45 Republicans.
What will drive the debate?
Fred Kaplan writes that opponents of Hagel have "four main concerns" in their disapproval of Hagel.
The first three of their concerns, that he will cut the military budget, "roll over" and let Iran build a nuclear weapon, and be "reluctant" to use military force, are quickly refuted by Kaplan.
The major reason the Lobby has been pushing this war, of course, is Israel, "the third rail" in foreign policy. Kaplan sums up the case the Lobby made against Hagel.
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