The Cycle | January 07, 2013
>>> chuck hagel if confirmed would be the most antagonist secretary of defense tard the state of israel in our nation's history. long-severed the twice with the republican party . this is an in your face nomination by the president to all of us supportive of israel .
>> if hagel is nominated this is very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which i could support his confirmation.
>> outspoken in foreign policy and defense over the years. the questionn answering if he's the nominee do his views make sense for that particular job?
>> hagel is no stranger to the u.s. senate having served two terms there but could that be part of his problem? we should tell our audience that we all believe that chuck hagel will eventually be confirmed. that's not what we're talking about. i want to bring up what you asked john about, krystal, the gay comments. when you read them, as someone that supports gay rights i find them to be vile and then put myself back in the 1998 mind-set and what the military culture was like them. don't ask don't tell came out of the clinton administration because there was sort of an appetite for that. so he's apologized and i can forgive those comments. i just think it's really interesting that, you know, groups like the human rights council and other gay advocacy groups , people like barney frank coming around to chuck hagel and finding themselves to be very sort of accepting of his apology and i don't think that would have been the case had he been the appointee of a republican president or in a republican administration. i think obama gives him a lot of cover on this issue. i think democrats would call him a pariah if it's happening at a different time. but on the other stuff, israel thing, the views on israel , the views on hamas and previous statements i find to be fairly unpalatable but i think republicans feel the same way about obama 's, you know, policies so there's no real surprise there and that's why i just don't think as valid as the inquiries are and the confirmation process is rigorous, i just don't think he's going to not be confirmed here.
>> we'll ask the questions and move on.
>> right. well to your point of sort of politics of how it went down and barney frank is a great case in point.
>> when hagel was floated as maybe the nominee, they said they're not comfortable with him and now that he is the nominee, barney frank said, actually, i do support him.
>> of course.
>> i think it's worth pointing out that the president by having this leak and letting him twist in the wind for a while, the left would have closed ranks and come behind him much more quickly announced as the nominee to start with.
>> i think you're right.
>> but what's a criticism i'm sympathetic to and voiced myself is a seeming impulse of democratic presidents to want to choose republicans as secretary of defense. you know, this feeling that democrats aren't tough enough or they're not viewed as tough enough to handle the pentagon. and steve clemens on "rachel mad maddow" made a point that swayed me.
>> the democrats that came in many of them that came in with president obama and also part of the concern that americans don't trust democrats to deploy power to be forceful in the world have adopted in many of the institutions they have built in four to five to six years a pentagon hugging strategy of not wanting to reform or cut because of the fear that they will be considered vietnam democrats , anti-military democrats .
>> and i think there's some truth to that and i do think in this time where we are going to be looking at cutting the pentagon's budget and scaling back our military to a certain extent, i do think maybe republican would be better positioned to do that and wouldn't be, especially one who's served in the vietnam war wouldn't be subject to the criticisms in the same way a democrat could be.
>> part of obama 's calculus.
>> i will say i would like to see some women picked for some positions. maybe obama needs to borrow some of the romney's binders full of women.
>> he has own.
>> why did barney frank do aboutface? he's campaigning to be the appointed senator of massachusetts and duval patrick as governor of the massachusetts will not send someone to washington to vote against the white house in the major vote. i also -- i wouldn't, s.e. your comment there struck me as if the left is decided to roll over for chuck hagel specifically on the gay rights issue. tammy baldwin said she'll ask tough questions and assurances from him that his attitudes really changed and in a way to reflect --
>> it's an outlier and good to see.
>> you're saying some special break is made here. this is the nominee of the administration that ended don't ask don't tell.
>> there's built-in trust there on the left and among gay and lesbian supporters because there's an assumption --
>> no doubt.
>> there's an assumption to put somebody in place to end that. if mitt romney was elected, did we ever accomplish what he wanted to do as a candidate? reimplement don't ask don't tell? he never really addressed that.
>> if a republican president were nominating somebody with a history of chuck hagel , there's more cause for alarm but they have such a good record of gay rights .
>> i understand that but democrats i think and certainly groups like hrc would be far less inclined to roll over and come around had this been a republican appointee.
>> that's because --
>> that's part of it.
>> but why should they trust a republican president and trust a republican nominee saying that comment 15 years ago is not reflected in the policies when the republican party has not done anything favorable to them on a policy ground?
>> the gay rights question will not be the big issue in the confirmation hearings. it will be about israel and this attempt by the right to tar him as anti-really and perhaps anti-semitic. the guy voted to fund israel , voted to sanction iran and target hamas . and yet still people talk about hagel has the anti-israeli pro-appeasement of iran and not an option. you know what? i would totally agree that a strike against iran is not helpful for israel because where are they going to retort when they need to respond to that attack? lo look, there's many ways to help israel . say, hey, maybe more settlements is not helpful to israel . and talking to hamas is helpful. we have a dogmatic vision of one way to help israel and not there then you're anti-semitic and that's not right at all. but then, to what you were saying, the president's habit now of floating these nominees and letting them sit out there for a couple of weeks aenl letting the right have their say at them because when you're just floated you can't defend yourself. you can't appear to be campaigning for a cabinet slot. that's horrible business. the president cannot continue to do that. but that's part of what sunk susan rice and making the hague el issue much more complicated. we have to just put a name out and rather than floating them for weeks.
>> gives democrats a chance to get in there. doubly hurtful. i hope that chuck hagel is asked why he refused to designate hezbollah as a terrorist organization .
>>> while we're on the topic of the president's cabinet, secretary of state hillary clinton back at work today. she was out for almost a month with a stomach bug and then fell and got a concussion and doctors discovered a blood clot in her head. there's pics of the first day back. they even gave her a football helmet with the state department logo. because, of course, washington a contact sport. we threw our picks on our facebook page and they're generating great responses. the facebook friend raz lemons says, welcome back, madame president. is your screen name raz lemons?
>> toure, actually.
>> let us know what you're thinking.
>>> dysfunctional politics. last-minute short-term finishes. is washington turning in to brussels on the potomac? that's scary. up next, a guest weighing on america's european moment.