The essential problem with the Chuck Hagel nomination.

It’s actually… pretty simple: Chuck Hagel is a bit of a schlemiel.  I’m not actually trying to reference Hagel’s Jewish problem*, here: it’s just that Yiddish has an excellent word to describe a sad-sack bungler, and English wants the useful words.  It wants all the useful words.

…Anyway, Hagel is a schlemiel.  Now, I know what people are thinking: they’re thinking “But… but… but being a schlemiel has NEVER been a barrier to acquiring a Cabinet post!”  And they would be correct.  We – read, both parties – have traditionally taken the opportunity given to us by the Cabinet to store inconvenient, superfluous, and/or ineffectual politicians for a while until they can be safely retired**.  This is, in fact, a time-honored tradition.  The problem here, though, is that we typically do not nominate schlemiels for Secretary of Defense; a quick review of the list of them reveals a group of sharp-tongued, tough-minded, and generally strong-willed men who would have gone through Thursday’s Armed Services Committee hearings like a hot knife through soft butter. (more…)

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