By Christine Todd Whitman
January 7, 2013
The news over the weekend that Republican senators are preparing for a tough nomination process for former Sen. Chuck Hagel reveals political posturing at its most feckless and trivial. Sen. Hagel will be named President Obama’s next nominee for Secretary of Defense today; he would succeed Leon Panetta and be the first former enlisted soldier to run the Pentagon.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. noted on CNN’s State of the Union, “This is an in-your-face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel. I don’t know what his management experience is regarding the Pentagon — little, if any, so I think it’s an incredibly controversial choice.”
While I have disagreed with several of President Obama’s decisions in the last four years, I am appalled to find members of my party criticizing his choice of a former Republican Senator for Secretary of Defense. Hagel was a senator from the conservative state of Nebraska for twelve years and is a Purple Heart recipient from his service during the Vietnam War. I cannot imagine a more reasonable choice for a Democrat president to make to head the Pentagon than a former Republican senator and war hero.
This reveals the dismal reality in Washington today – anything proposed by one party is immediately criticized by the other rather than recognizing when a party makes a reasonable proposal. Further, the requirement that all members of a party be in lockstep on every matter is contrary to our way of governing, no original thought is allowed. In this case, a member of our own party finds himself in the line of fire for no good reason.
Sen. Hagel’s nomination is a perfect opportunity for Republicans to show they are interested in working with President Obama for the good of the country. If they can’t approve of a nomination so obviously skewed in their favor, it is highly likely that nothing will be achieved in Washington this term.