Monday, March 3, 2008

Obama: Hagel for top Cabinet Position

Sen. Obama (D-IL), supremely confident in his chances of success in the Texas and Ohio primaries, has already begun talks of cabinet choices with his top advisers. Among names brought up by Obama and his aides for the office of Secretary of State or Defense is the name of the one and only, Sen. Chuck Hagel. Hagel is probably the most outspoken Republican critic of the Iraq war and not seeking re-election in 2008 (due to opposition in Nebraska by Republicans who cannot see past his stance on Iraq to see he is one of the most conservative voices in the Senate).

That kind of talk produces a few questions:

1.Would that appointment wise?

A: For Obama getting a few Republicans on his side would be a top priority for the Senator rated the most liberal in the past session. Hagel is a very knowledgeable person when it comes to the military and the state of affairs in the world. As a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs and Select Intelligence Committees (but not the Armed Services Committee) he certainly spends at least a couple hours a day pouring over intelligence reports and examining foreign policy. So in terms of knowledge the guy knows his stuff for the job of Secretary of State.

Final Answer: No, Obama has so many (Democratic) options for Sec. of State that there is no real reason to appoint Hagel

As for Secretary of Defense, Hagel seems perfect but he does face a few problems...
Sen. Hagel is a decorated Hero of Vietnam, a Purple Heart recipient (twice), one of two members of the Senate involved in ground operations during the Vietnam Conflict, former head of the USO, a former deputy administrator in the Dept. of Veteran Affairs under Reagan, he has fought tirelessly for benefits and protection for the military, and has c0-authored many bills and amendments relating to assistance for military families. On the other hand, his outspoken opposition to the Iraq War has led to his being labeled as being a person who 'opposes the mission of the DoD'. He is well-known for his aggressive and sometimes blunt questioning of Bush Administration and Military officials about the way the War is being conducted. Obama obviously agrees with this kind of questioning but since his departure in 1982 from the Department of Veteran Affairs he is now seen more or less of an outsider who is neither a friend nor a foe of the Dept. of Defense.

Final Answer: Yes, Hagel has a passion for Military Affairs and definitely has the ambition to serve to evolve the Department of Defense.

2.Will this result in sort of odd couple similar to Sec. of Defense Cohen with President (Bill) Clinton? or is this just talk to persuade anti-war Republicans to vote for Obama in a showdown with Sen. John "Gung-Ho" McCain?

A: Hmmm. Let's think to ourselves of famous Generals or Military related figures who are Democrats.. three names come to mind Rep. Murtha, Gen. Wesley Clark and Sen. Jim Webb. Now, let's review why they won't work: 1) Murtha is the member of Congress using earmarks for absolute Pork the MOST, 2) Gen. Clark is in love with the Clintons and is too political, 3) Webb would be a pretty good choice but he is a bit green and could run for president in '12 if McCain wins the presidency or run in '16 if Obama/Clinton win. So it does seem like a great option for Obama to pick Hagel however he will have to be careful not too ruffle Hagel's feather's too early otherwise Hagel will reject him and Obama's bipartisan cred will be quite low.

Final Answer: Right now it looks like there is a 65% chance that an appointment of Hagel to an Obama cabinet would work.

3. Would Senator Hagel accept?

A: Tough Question. If he were pressured early to stand up or support Obama against McCain he would automatically turn down Obama. After all, Hagel is loyal to the Republican Party and would never try to hurt one of his best friend's chances of seizing the White House (no matter how much of a War Hawk McCain may be). Let's not forget that McCain and Hagel are still very close friends, have neighboring offices in the Senate, and (besides votes on the Iraq War) have very similar records. Also, there is no way Hagel will come out in any direct way against McCain
unless he has been guaranteed a spot with Obama and there is no way Obama will guarantee Hagel a spot before the Election (publicly) without a lot of serious heat from Democratic Party insiders who remember either all of his positions on social issues or his virulent opposition to Bill Clinton.

Final Answer: If Obama played his cards right, he could snag Hagel as Secy of Defense if elected.

Think I'm wrong? Feel free to comment!

P.S. Sorry about the short hiatus, more on the way soon!

1 comment:

BodyOdorFunk said...

I must admit, that's a very good analysis.