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Hagel the perfect foil to manage military’s decline over Republican objections

Hagel the perfect foil to manage military’s decline over Republican objections

Rarely if ever have I seen David Brooks nail an issue as much as he did on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary.

Because Obama and Democrats refuse to address the escalating cost of entitlements, we are positioned for a choice between guns and butter necessitated not by political considerations or philosophy, but by economics.  Obama is all on board for the choice to be butter (Medicare and Obamacare), and needs a Republican to be the person to manage the decline of our military.

Why Hagel Was Picked (h/t HotAir):

… In a democracy, voters get what they want, so the line tracing federal health care spending looks like the slope of a jet taking off from LaGuardia. Medicare spending is set to nearly double over the next decade. This is the crucial element driving all federal spending over the next few decades and pushing federal debt to about 250 percent of G.D.P. in 30 years.

There are no conceivable tax increases that can keep up with this spending rise…. As a result, health care spending, which people really appreciate, is squeezing out all other spending, which they value far less….

Advocates for children, education and the poor don’t even try to defend their programs by lobbying for cutbacks in Medicare. They know that given the choice, voters and politicians care more about middle-class seniors than about poor children.

So far, defense budgets have not been squeezed by the Medicare vice [sic]. But that is about to change. Oswald Spengler didn’t get much right, but he was certainly correct when he told European leaders that they could either be global military powers or pay for their welfare states, but they couldn’t do both.

Europeans, who are ahead of us in confronting that decision, have chosen welfare over global power…. As the federal government becomes a health care state, there will have to be a generation of defense cuts that overwhelm anything in recent history…

Chuck Hagel has been nominated to supervise the beginning of this generation-long process of defense cutbacks. If a Democratic president is going to slash defense, he probably wants a Republican at the Pentagon to give him political cover, and he probably wants a decorated war hero to boot.


And as Brett Stephens shows in a column in The Wall Street, Hagel has a history of going with the conventional and wrong wisdom:

In each case, Mr. Hagel was articulating a view that was exactly in keeping with received Beltway wisdom. In each case, he was subsequently disproved by events. In no case was Mr. Hagel ever held to any kind of account for being wrong. In no case did he hold himself to account for being wrong.

Hagel sounds like just the guy for the job.  A Republican who loves to butt heads with Republicans.


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No sane observer of the American political scene actually considers him to be a Republican. That he continues to do so speaks more to resume padding than reality, We have lots of RINOs running around. At best Hagel is a Super-RINO; at worst a lying, cheating, dirty, weaseling scumbag. But I repeat.

He’s right about the decline of the military due to entitlements (look at the UK and France: 1 aircraft carrier between the two of them). But he’s wrong about Medicare cuts.

Democrats have no desire to fund Medicare and have enacted drastic cuts to it since Obama took office. $743 Billion in Medicare cuts to fund Obamacare (per CBO Mar ’12 score of PPACA). The D’s are also responsible for the Medicare cuts in the sequester, which the fiscal cliff deal pushed back a mere couple of months.

D’s know that seniors tend to vote R. Obamacare is essentially a massive transfer of federal entitlement spending away from seniors and in favor of low income, poor (and therefore mostly young), working age adults. In short: away from R constituents and in favor of D constituents.

The D’s simply don’t want to be BLAMED for the cuts to Medicare. They are desperate for those cuts to actually be enacted. So far, they’ve been very successful both in cutting it and blaming the R’s.

    Completely agree.

    And I suspect that if you look at fiscal policy, Obama is engineering a transfer of wealth from the Republican rich to the Democrat rich, with the supposed tax increase being more than offset by under-the-table stuff to the D’s.

      Browndog in reply to gs. | January 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      So glad you didn’t say “redistribution”, and called it what it is.

      (I personally prefer “confiscation of wealth”)

      If you’re correct, and I have few doubts on the issue, this development could indeed be ironic payback for Elite Republican RINOs (again I repeat myself) who’ve courageously licked Dhimi boots for years to ensure federal boats are never, never rocked whilst THEY are around to protect the smooth operation and gentility of congress, and not incidentally – their career’s.

        Having hedged by saying I suspect, I won’t take issue with your reservations.

        No doubt transfer of wealth from rich Republicans to Obama’s rich supporters is only part of his fiscal skullduggery.

Welfare, Education, Pensions and Healthcare make up 62% of Federal outlays. Defense makes up 24%. Those are the 2013 numbers. Instead of cutting entitlements by 20%, say, you’d have to cut defense by 50% to achieve the same savings. That’s not to say there can’t be meaningful cuts to the Pentagon; it’s just like taxing the rich at 90%; it won’t make much difference to the deficit.

There cannot be military cuts until we have a rational domestic energy policy (i.e. nuclear, coal, oil, natural gas, windmills/solar panels/etc. in that order)… and Europe, China, India, etc. are left to recover energy and other natural resources from some of the most dysfunctional societies in our world.

Midwest Rhino | January 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Communists and tyrants around the world love Obama, for weakening the US and our global interests. Replacing the military portion of our economy may not be so simple though.

As Obama continues to terrorize free markets and small business, it will be harder to attract good workers to a demanding field like health care. (or at least, GOOD health care is demanding)

After the third $trillion coin, Obama might succeed in trashing our currency, and putting Americans “in their place”. To Obama, that means turning us into a banana republic before the end of his third term. Can the left really start confiscating guns and property, turning U.S. over to the crime syndicates and the unions?

The left sure seems to have no qualms about expressing their desire to abandon that pesky constitution. And Obama seems to be “flexible” in surrendering our nukes, while also surrendering our missile defense development. That’s his two pronged appeasement/surrender approach.

Meanwhile he spreads the wealth around to his unions and donors with windmills and wasteful solar projects. No fracking way this ends well.

I Don’t know whether Obama’s motive in choosing Hagel was to provide himself with political cover for a massive downsizing of Defense by having a nominal Republican as point man on it or not. If this is Obama’s thinking, though, he must be expecting the public to believe that national defense policy is made by the Pentagon alone and that the president is an innocent bystander. Needless to say, the public would have to be idiotic to swallow that, but one has to admit that the public has recently proved to be idiotic enough to swallow even more ridiculous things. After all, Obama was just elected not once but twice.

    The last election proved that a slight majority have given him a pass for foreign (e.g. military) policy failures (e.g. Benghazi). It’s a shame that his domestic policies are equally dysfunctional; but, with each generation, we must, apparently, follow the rainbow to [re]discover that there is no pot of gold at its end.

I see at Drudge that Iran has endorsed the Hagel choice. ‘NUFF said,’Yo!!

What is there to show for Clueless George’s wars? A wobbly Iraq and the Islamist Spring. Heckuva job. (Of course Obama shares the blame but I call bullshit on those who blame him for everything. Too many people who slam Obama for bowing to the Saudi despot “forget” that Bush kissed him & held hands.)

We need someone who will configure the military to support a grand strategy based on the national interest. I am extremely unconvinced that Hagel is that person.

    NeoConScum in reply to gs. | January 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    gs..”George’s Wars”..?! Oh, please, please, please. Iraq, thanks to President Bush’s steadfastness and willingness to stand firm for Victory & the Long Haul, WAS a huge victory. Then, along came the Boy King Obama and ABANDONED that massive and hard won VICTORY. No troops left there–ya know, gs, like Korea and Germany–by His Infantile Majesty as had been planned by his predecessor. Jeeeeeepers, just looky at what’s happening from Iran and Radical Islamists. Obama RETREATED from a hard won war. A coward and a lout. Our Warriors generally despise him. They loved/love Mr.Bush.

    Afghanistan…? Mr.Young Prince is doing regular huggy-kissy business with The Taliban. He promised General Petraeus the trrops necessary for a Surge and then undercut the commitment, once again breaking his flabby-feckless word.

    “Arab Spring”…? BWHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa..!! Go back and read Obam-Bam’s putrid speech to the Arab/Islamist World in Cairo in 2009. Infamy broadcast worldwide.

      1. You neglected to say that Romney would have won if he’d asked Bush to campaign for him. 😉

      2. Withdrawal of US forces from Iraq was negotiated by the Bush administration. I’m willing to believe that the Obama administration bungled negotiations to extend the deadline (a diplomatic triumph by The Most Popular Woman in America): another problem which Obama made worse. He made it worse, but it was handed to him by Bush.

      3. At the time I thought that Bush’s Second Inaugural Address was nuts. In hindsight, it looks like an invocation of the Islamist Spring. Here again, I am willing to believe that Obama has doubled down on Bush’s mistakes—but Bush’s mistakes came first.

      4. Cheer up, loyalists of The Most Brilliant Man Harriet Miers Ever Met: brother Jeb has been spotted with a tank of helium and a box of trial balloons.

        NeoConScum in reply to gs. | January 9, 2013 at 10:37 am

        (–: Whew..! “Harriet Meyers”, indeed. Bet you were scathing on Condi, Colin, Cheney, Petraeus, Rummy, Wolfowitz, and so many more illiterate-oafish ‘W’ picks, huh? Can we hear a Bronx cheer(in fashion)for Neocon Nasty Devils, Feith, Bolten & Wolfowitz?!!

        Ahhhhhhh…Back to those bygone days to an American Gov’t that knew it was in a fight to-the-death with True Evil. Back to that classless Dummy who had his secret service guys drive him to Ft.Hood within hours of the massacre of innocents by an Islamist Butcher…Whilst The Boy King did “shout outs” to fawning support dweebs in the Upper Midwest and, subsequently, labeled Ft.Hood: “Workplace Violence”.

        Are We Not Blessed,’Yo?

I find Brennan more disturbing. Remember his Goebbels like performance @ the bin Laden death presser?

I think the Professor gives Brooks waaaay too much credit.

Accolades for stating the obvious?

Am I the only one old enough to remember all the ‘Nam vets that openly despised the military and their government?

BannedbytheGuardian | January 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Willa Cather had Hagel pinned down before he was even born.

Captain Obvious | January 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm

David Brooks, Stopped Clocks, Blind Squirrels, Takes a RINO to know a RINO, etc…

US involvement and doing business with tyrants (Islamists, China, Russia, et al) will always bring grief and pain.

They don’t play fair.

However, US foreign policy is inconsistent and lacks integrity; it can change rapidly and radically, turning in a completely opposite direction with every new administration and the character, values and actions of the US corporations and opportunists who trade with foreign countries, and as a whole it is very much like a person with concurrent Borderline, Sociopathic and Narcissistic Personality Disorders.

As we have seen, Dictatorial Tyrants running 3rd world countries love to receive US foreign aid, bribes or surcharges from US and Islamic Greedy Opportunists and liberal social agendites so they can exploit and despoil their countries as they do.

The UN has failed; it is nothing but a farce and a facilitator of exploitation and brutality.