As soon as the Senate can confirm them, two new occupants will take over the two most important Cabinet positions: Seretaries of State and Defense. It would appear that President Obama originally thought that any African-American woman named Rice would be a shoo-in for Secretary of State. But Susan Rice, though one might think qualified — she has been Ambassador to the United Nations — is no Condoleezza. And her conduct in the face of the killing of our Ambassador and several others in Benghazi was so disgraceful that she was led to realize her chances were hopeless, and she begged off before her name was formally submitted to the Senate. The proposed nominee is John Kerry, the Massachusetts Senator and Presidential candidate of the Democrats in 2004. Although, to me, it seems like an overly partisan choice, Kerry seems to be popular among his fellow Senators and looks likely to be confirmed. Apparently the other Senators seem to think he will represent us well before the world. (And among Republicans, the chance that the resulting vacancy will be filled by Scott Brown seems a plus.)
The other position, Secretary of Defense, is more problematic. A former Senator, Chuck Hagel, is President Obama's choice. As a Republican, this even looks as though the President is making an attempt to reach out to the GOP. The problem is that Hagel, though a moderate on domestic affairs, has a record on foreign policy that shows him as quite hostile to Israel — some call him anti-Semitic, though at least one posting I saw says that calling him by that adjective goes farther than is justified. It does not matter whether Hagel is a true anti-Semite; he will not be confirmed, since the Senate is more sensitive to Israel policy than President Obama is. It is obvious that the President will have to come up with another name.
Against Civic Division - In *National Review*, I dig into the implications of Bret Stephens's satirical proposal to deport poor Americans.
1 week ago