The Battle of Susan Rice Hill was lost when Democratic critics of Rice on African policy and the environment joined with Republican critics to doom her nomination. And Chuck Hagel has his built in booing section in the Democratic Party.
Senator Chuck Hagel, on the shortlist for secretary of defense in the second Obama administration, sits on the board of a bank that is under investigation for allegedly violating United States sanctions on Iran.
Deutsche Bank is reportedly being probed by U.S. authorities for violating a trade embargo on Iran’s oil and energy sector, which is
believed to play a key role in Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program.
Hagel’s relationship with Deutsche Bank raises troubling questions and could pose a serious conflict of interest, sources said.
“Somebody who willingly stands by as an official of a company helping the Iranian regime acquire nuclear weapons capabilities cannot credibly stand up as the secretary of defense for a country that may need to go to war with Iran,” said the senate source.
“He was one of these worst senators in his party in memory when it comes to Israel,” said one Jewish Democratic operative. “It’s a terrible idea.”
Complicating the potential selection of Hagel by Obama is that Jewish Democrats, including one of the men to whom Obama would likely turn to assuage the fears of Jewish Americans, is on record raising doubts about him.
“If [Hagel] was taking a policy role, we’d have real concerns,” Ira Forman, the Obama campaign’s Jewish Outreach Director and the former executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, told The Weekly Standard when Hagel was appointed to the intelligence board.
In 2007, when Hagel flirted with a presidential run, the NJDC blasted his credentials on Israel in a fact sheet, noting, among other items, that in 2006, Hagel was “one of only 12 Senators who refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.”
Forman went on to state at the time that the NJDC would fight Hagel’s appointment “to any position that had influence over U.S.-Israel relations,” according to the Weekly Standard.
Now this doesn’t mean too much because when Obama says “Jump!”, the NJDC asks, “How high?” If Obama puts Chuck Hagel forward, the NJDC will prepare a brief touting his pro-Israel credentials. It’s just what they do. Still there are behind the scenes issues and screwing a constituency does not make for good feelings.
The last time this happened was over Chas Freeman Jr, currently doing interviews with Russian propaganda channels about the evils of Israel. Hagel isn’t as terrible a candidate as Freeman, who took money from China and Saudi Arabia, and suggested that China didn’t go far enough in Tienanmen Square, but he’s bad enough.
And when your loudest endorsement for Defense Secretary comes from Stephen Walt, it’s not exactly a good sign for your prospects.