Esquire's Charles Pierce hit the nail on the head with his assessment of this Thursday's confirmation hearing of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense -- and you can watch part of Sen. Lindsey Graham's petulant display during the hearing in the clip above.
It was a bizarre, devotional exercise. Hagel was not being asked for his qualifications to lead the Department Of Defense — which, it should be noted, is largely an administrative one when it comes to the country's foreign relations. He was being asked to engage in a vague kind of theological debate. He was not being asked to profess his faith to Israel so much as to recant his heresies against the policies of the United States that were produced by adherents of a certain sect. He wasn't being asked to endorse Bibi Netanyahu so much as he was being asked to recant his unorthodox opinions as regarding the good works of Bill Kristol or John McCain. He was being asked, en ensemble, by Republicans old and young, essentially the same question John McCain spent six minutes hollering into the wind.
Please admit that we were right.
No. You were wrong. You were wrong in 2003 and you were wrong in 2006 and the Iraq war was a murderous cock-up from start to finish and Hagel, at least, figured that out in midstream.
The whole hearing was nothing more than a show, and we all know that the easiest shows to sell are revivals. The Republican opposition decided to re-litigate the failures of the Bush administration in the context of the world view of Dean Acheson. It was a weird performance.
It was like watching Rent performed on the set of Show Boat. And very little of it had anything to do with Hagel's qualifications to be Secretary Of Defense. Most of the questioning would seem to have been more suited to the hearings earlier this week, when John Kerry sailed through the confirmation process to become Secretary Of State. Hagel's not running to be a diplomat and, frankly, given our experience with that steaming hunk of neocon man-meat, Don Rumsfeld, I'd just as soon not have the Defense Secretary involved in the formulation of foreign policy as much as he is in making sure the grunts who have to carry it out have sufficient body armor.
That, by all accounts, is what Hagel sees the job as being about. What some mullah may have mumbled about him may echo loudly among the stalagmites in Jim Inhofe's brain, but it has absolutely no relevance to the rest of us as far as Hagel's ability to run a Defense department. There is some criticism rising that Hagel was not properly prepared for his testimony. I'm not sure anybody could have been. How could anyone be properly prepared for Jim Inhofe and Ted Cruz in the same day? Those kind of mushrooms are still illegal.
Amen to that. More there, so go read the rest. I'm with Charlie. What a disgusting display we were treated to during this hearing yesterday. Sadly, I'm sure this performance and the others will be rewarded by the lot of them being handed a microphone on Sunday to spew more bile.