Why don’t Democrats love Hagel, and who would they prefer at Defense?

By David A. Graham

January 31, 2013

When Chuck Hagel walks into his hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, he'll be a favorite (though not a sure thing) to win confirmation as secretary of defense. But he still won't be a favorite of many progressives.

By now, high-profile Democratic senators have gotten in line behind the president's nominee, though not before making their chilliness known. Chuck Schumer of New York -- seen as a crucial vote because of his cachet as a defender of Israeli interests -- announced his backing, in somewhat tepid form, only after a one-on-one meeting. Maryland's Ben Cardin suggested that while he was open to voting for Hagel, the former Nebraska senator wasn't his first choice. The turning point for many on the left seems to have been the harsh criticism he received from conservatives; some liberal pundits explicitly made the argument that the nature of the opposition to Hagel proved he was the right choice.

Still, that doesn't mean there's wild enthusiasm about him in the Democratic defense establishment. I spoke with some wonks to see why they weren't more excited about Hagel. Many of them preferred to speak on background, citing the close-knit circle they ran in, but they offered a picture of the reasons for reservations among progressives.

Read more at The Atlantic


By David A. Graham

January 31, 2013

http://www.govexec.com/defense/2013/01/why-dont-democrats-love-hagel-and-who-would-they-prefer-defense/61011/