By Arriana Huffington
If President Obama’s second term includes decision making as bold and intelligent as his nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, his presidency might finally fulfill the promise of audacity and change that rallied so many to his campaign five years ago. In fact, the more ridiculous the claims being made by Hagel’s critics become, the more the real reasons they don’t want him — and the wisdom of the choice — come into stark relief.
The latest canard is about Hagel’s supposed “temperament.” The charge was made this past Sunday by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, appearing on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. “I think another thing, George, that’s going to come up is just his overall temperament,” said Corker, “and is he suited to run a department or a big agency or a big entity like the Pentagon?” Given that this was a new one, Stephanopoulos asked, slightly incredulously, “Do you have questions about his temperament?” Corker replied, “I think there are numbers of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about the way he has dealt with them.”
Ah yes, his temperament. It’s a modern-day male version of the old dig that used to be directed at women, that they might be “PMSing” and therefore shouldn’t be put too close to big boy military equipment. It’s also worth pointing out that this line of attack is coming from a party that thoroughly approved of that shrinking violet of a Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. It’s further worth noting that the opposition to Hagel is being led partly by Senator John McCain, the same guy who thought it prudent to potentially put Sarah Palin second in line to the presidency — and whose own “temperament” has often been called into question.
But if Hagel’s temperament is somehow relevant, it puts me in mind of the quote by Lincoln who, when approached by some of Grant’s critics about the general’s drinking, is supposed to have said: “Let me know what brand of whiskey Grant uses. For if it makes fighting generals like Grant, I should like to get some of it for distribution.”
In response to Corker’s charge, Politico‘s Playbook quoted an email from a senior administration official: “This line of attack is a new low.