Why Republicans Should Confirm Hagel

Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Brennan

President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense has rightly provoked the ire of Senate Republicans. Chuck Hagel, whose service both in Vietnam and in the United States Senate merits tremendous praise, illustrates exactly what is wrong with the current administration’s foreign policy.

Despite his centrist rhetoric, President Obama has done severe harm both to America’s relationship with Israel and to its military readiness around the world. In Chuck Hagel, President Obama has found a Secretary of Defense whose views place him to the left of even some mainstream Democrats. Hagel’s wildly inappropriate comments on Israel and his bizarrely naïve policy on Iran suggest the White House may be planning a dramatic foreign policy shift this term.

And that’s mentioning how Hagel’s positions on social issues, notably gay rights, place him among the most bigoted cabinet appointees in recent memory. Hagel, if confirmed, will be responsible for overseeing the transition out of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy,” yet if a Republican President had nominated a man with such homophobic record, there would be hell to pay. Just as he was with his blatantly opportunistic with his position on gay marriage, however, President Obama seems permanently immune from accusations of hypocrisy.

Despite all this, Republicans should still vote to confirm Chuck Hagel. Conservatives remain the party most loyal to the principles and (more importantly) the words of the American Constitution. Over the course of the past few decades, the institutional integrity of the United States Congress has been almost entirely discredited.

The traditional rules and regular functioning of both chambers have been dramatically upset–nowhere has this been seen more clearly than with the Presidential appointment process. Beginning with the wholly political Democratic rejection of Robert Bork in 1987, the process has turned into nothing but a spectacle. Chuck Hagel will be a bad addition to an already dismal foreign policy team, but it is not the role of the United States Senate to filibuster nominations as a way of making political statements.

Conservatives must stand up for the institutions of government, hold their noses, and confirm Hagel.

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