Chuck Hagel’s Trainwreck Senate Hearing

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Chuck Hagel had been accused of political expediency, of adopting positions that were trending the right way, and then disavowing them when they no longer were. And his Senate hearing turned that impression into fact.

The Hagel who showed up at the Senate hearing was not the principled man that liberals had tried pitching him as. Nor was he a radical, quickly leaving behind his radical views, only to clumsily reinsert them again into his responses and then disavow those responses a second time revealing himself to be a man without principles or views, a politician fumbling his way hesitantly through question after question, wary of traps, wary of committing himself to any position that is in the least bit controversial and incapable of processing even simple questions in a clear and concise manner.

Hagel rarely answered questions, instead he avoided them, drowning the questions in meaningless babble, in the same talking point repeated several times to take up as much time as possible. It’s the sort of behavior you might see from a hack politician during a debate, but it’s an embarrassing performance for a prospective Defense Secretary whose job isn’t to obstruct Congress but to clarify policy in a timely and concise manner.

If Hagel’s job interview is a demonstration of what his tenure will be like, then he will obstruct Congress as much as possible, change his views unpredictably and pretend that there was no change. His policy as Secretary of Defense will be to deny everything and then to deny the denial.

Hagel’s one goal going into the hearing was not to screw up. And he screwed up at that. Republican Senators appear to be shifting away from him, even more so than before. And the Democratic Senators found themselves having to do more than just toss him softball questions, but to actually help him out during the hearings, as Carl Levin did.

It’s hard to believe that Rice could have blown a hearing this badly. But Obama chose to pick a fight over Hagel, rather than Rice, resulting in an embarrassing performance from an embarrassing man who is now Obama’s own pet embarrassment.

  • Chris

    Liberals don't do embarrassment, since nothing is ever their fault. Hagel is a nasty Jew hating hack, so that makes him a perfect fit with the Obama administration. No doubt he'll be confirmed. Barry wants him and what Barry wants, Barry gets. This repellent nincompoop will be our new secretary of defense as our foreign enemies rejoice and Israel prepares for a world with no de facto ally in the US.
    This won't end well.

    • Glenn

      Of necessity, Israel will stand alone against the world, precisely so that THEIR God can accomplish His WILL, proving to Israel and the world that there is only one God and Israel remains His chosen people. When God implied that ALL nations would come against Israel at the end of time, He didn't exclude America. We can only pray that America remain neutral, but so long as Obama is President, that is an impossibility. God needed a Pharoah and He chose one.

  • Mary Sue

    As Guns N' Roses so eloquently put it:

    Double talkin' jive…

    That's exactly what's coming out of Hagel's mouth.

  • Les

    Hagel, has learn Democrat double talk very well

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "Name one person who's intimidated by the Israeli lobby in the US Senate. Name one."

    Hah!

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Obama crews his ship of fools with true dirtbags, people like Hagel, Kerry et. al., are a shame
    and embarrasment to right thinking Americans, can anyone name and appointment made
    by Mullah Obama that is not a turning from right to wrong………………….Hah! and Hah!…………William

  • shloimo

    gevald! from where that guy came to be a defense secretary?
    he barely can defend himself on those videos
    it's just terrible thing

  • Len_Powder

    If Mr. Hagel were being interviewed by the Board of Directors of a Fortune 500 company for a CEO position he would have been dismissed in 5 minutes. But we must remember that in Government it's not the most qualified person that is sought but the most partisan and compliant one. In the latter sense Mr. Hagel is the ideal candidate for the Obama regime. I suspect that in the future Obama will have cabinet nominees be interviewed by Steve Kroft from CBS's '60 Minutes' show instead of the Senate.

  • JacksonPearson

    Chuck Hagel was a train wreck before this hearing. ALL of Obama's cabinet choices are no por ca-ca!