When Chuck Hagel walks through a metal detector at an airport, he sets it off. He carries shrapnel in his chest from wounds suffered from his service in Vietnam.
Now, multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson and the Right Wing of the Israel Lobby (RWIL), which he finances, are trying to defeat Hagel's nomination to be Secretary of Defense by inflicting on him the slow death of a thousand cuts.
The RWIL does not have the votes in the Armed Services Committee or in the full Senate to defeat his nomination. Nor do they have the votes necessary to sustain a filibuster. Their only option is to prolong the process by having Republican members of the Armed Services Committee, hungry for Adelson cash, file requests for additional information. Information that has not been required of other nominees for Secretary of Defense.
The resulting delay gives the RWIL slime machine more time to throw as much of their product (outright lies, distortions, rumors and quotes from unnamed sources) against the wall to see if they can get any of it to stick.
It's Washington at its absolute worst.
The problem the RWIL has with Hagel has nothing to do with the substantive votes he cast as a United States Senator from Nebraska. He consistently voted for the financial aid packages that enabled Israel to be the recipient of US taxpayer assistance, which exceeded all other countries … combined.
One would think a record like that would give someone extraordinary standing as a friend of Israel. Not with Sheldon Adelson and the RWIL. They want their sheeple to be so giddy about Israel that they say things like, "The Palestinians are an invented people" (Newt Gingrich). Or, "The Palestinians have an inferior culture" (Mitt Romney).
Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Romney were richly rewarded by Mr. Adelson for uncorking these bromides.
Chuck Hagel is simply not the kind of guy who's going to do a trick and hope to get a biscuit. From Sheldon Adelson or anyone else. There are plenty of those folks in Washington already … Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham have a closet full of biscuits.
Chuck Hagel also has a worldview that makes the RWIL uncomfortable. He believes that you talk to your adversaries and that force is always a last resort. Hagel believes that it is always necessary to be cognizant of the price paid by young men and women when trigger-happy chickenhawks like Dick Cheney send them off to fight stupid wars.
The RWIL loves Dick Cheney.
The RWIL is also in a pout about Hagel because he has been reluctant to parrot the "I Really Love Israel A Lot" platitudes with the creepy cult-like consistency and precise verbal formulations they require.
Too freaking bad.
So what is the endgame here? There was a positive development late Friday.
Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, advised the Republican members, in writing, that their requests seeking additional detailed background information on Hagel went "far beyond what has been the custom and practice of the Armed Services Committee." Practices employed during the confirmation of the preceding eight Secretaries of Defense.
It's time to act. Chairman Levin should schedule a committee vote sooner, not later. The full Senate should then do the same.
When a vote is taken, Hagel will win the support of all Democrats and some Republicans. He will have the votes of all Jewish Senators, which demonstrates the fringe nature of the RWIL.
To deny Chuck Hagel a timely vote in order to appease the wealth and vanity of Sheldon Adelson and the RWIL is an obscenity.
Get on with it.
This is a special post. I will post again on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 (or before, if the news flow dictates) and, for the time being, I will post on the first Wednesday of each month.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Name and town if you wish to opine. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.