Who is Chuck Hagel, and why are people saying these awful things about him? He’s not a bad guy by all appearances, with a solid war record in Vietnam resulting in several decorations, two of which are purple hearts that he won without hitting himself with ricochets, a la John Kerry—and hey, Kerry’s going to be Secretary of State, for gosh sakes. Compared to the Ketchup Gigolo from Massachusetts, Hagel looks like Tony by-God Herbert! So why all the sudden cries of opposition to this squishily moderate, moderately intelligent and entirely pleasant chap from Nebraska—home of Henry Fonda, Dick Cavett, Fred Astaire, and all sorts of other inoffensive, pleasant folks? We don’t really get it! A country that could accept putting Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court and seemed just fine placing Tim Geithner at Treasury, and still doesn’t seem to mind leaving Eric Holder to run amok at Justice, should have the hippy-hippy-shakes over the handsome Nebraskan with real-deal combat “cred” and membership in the Republican party? Did everyone suddenly get a case of the meanies? After all, one might expect the execrable Barney Frank to have kittens over anyone to the right of Perez Hilton getting Obama’s nod, and of course a stalwart or two on the right will be offended by Hagel’s classically centrist naiveté, but what’s with the rest of the troops? Well, in fairness, it seems that Chuck has found time to offend almost every special interest imaginable in some way or another, albeit in a pleasant kind of understated Nebraskan way. Let’s review the doo-doo buckets he’s managed to place his Guccis in over the past decade or so, and to such an extent that all sorts of people on the left despise him as well as Conservatives and even and all sorts of middle-of-the-road Republicans for whom strong emotions are typically foresworn as rather unsportsmanlike.
Now first we have Hagel’s entirely moderate, entirely sensible, University-brand denunciations of the trade embargo against Cuba. Why, after all, should we continue those old hostilities when common sense recommends reading Fidel into the club and treating him to a few perks? He’s widely admired on the Left, and heck, Ted Turner worships
the guy—and all those Hollywood people like him, why not see Fidel as just another victim of Nixon and HUAC? We could bring him a cargo lift of Omaha Steaks and a few cases of Dorothy Lynch salad dressings, and that bald parrot guy who recorded that one good song once–Jimmy Buffet, that’s his name, right? He’s a big Castro and Obama fan—he could go over on the plane and sing about freedom, and fail to see the irony! See, there’s just nothing very shocking about this attitude—why almost all Nebraskans probably feel this way about Cuba—and most Rockefeller-wing republicans—the ones we now call “Country Club,” would be okay with it. So why can’t Chuck want to hug Fidel, too? Well, that hot headed young Marco Rubio, the somewhat conservative Senator from Florida, has let it be known he’ll resist Hagel’s nomination for DefSec unless Chuck reverses his position on the U.S. trade embargo. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn! And we here at WOOF? Well, we wouldn’t personally endorse any Secretary of Defense who didn’t want to toss Fidel Castro naked into one of the dungeons he keeps all those Gay Cubans in—but that’s just us, and we’re known to be extreme.
Oh, and hey—speaking of Gays—they all seem to have a real problem with Chuck too, and we don’t just mean Barney Frank. The beef seems to stem from his fifteen-year-old assertion that James Hormel should be dropped from consideration as ambassador to Luxembourg because, Hagel said, he was “openly, aggressively gay.” To homosexuals who feel slighted by Chuck’s apparent reluctance to send a flamer into the diplomatic venues of Ruritania, WOOF says, chill! Good grief, it was only a few months ago that President Obama wouldn’t accept
the idea of Gay marriage, but he spent 24 hours evolving once the Gay vote seemed crucial to the survival of the Regime, and now he’s all for it—and who doesn’t admire a man who can transform himself spiritually with such sublime ease and philosophical dexterity? So why not assume Chuck will do likewise? He has already apologized for his remarks, and if his apology seemed raspy and generic, it may only be that he has not yet learned the correct technique of evolving. As soon as he comes to the necessarily de rigueur insights—you know, about evolving, and all—he’ll be every bit as acceptable to the LGBT community as our Beloved Helmsman, the man Newsweek Magazine (shortly before its long-overdue death) saw fit to apotheosize as our “first Gay president!” (Evidently Tina Brown didn’t know about James Buchanan, but that’s not important now).
And of course, as moderate Republicans will, Chuck tends to say unfortunately goofy, Network-worthy, University-issue type stuff—why, he even endorsed Barack Hussein Obama for the Presidency—but so did a lot of Republicans. But it rankles some,
such as Senator Dan Coats (R-Indiana) who was heard to exclaim, “We watched Chuck take positions that are, frankly, many of them…to the left of Barack Obama.” But that is a ridiculous charge prima faci, isn’t it? The man cannot do the impossible, can he? And dear old Lindsey Graham who sometimes takes time away from worrying about the invidious influence of Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham long enough to squeak like a conservative, told FOX News’s Chris Wallace that “At the end of the day, there will be very few votes [for a Hagel nomination].” But that’s just Lindsey talking, and this is a man who, at the end of the day, still thinks he can get some lexical juice out of the phrase “at the end of the day,” and who, at the end of the day, always turns out to be wrong about what the day would bring—so why not just go ahead and accept the Hagelian Inevitability?
Okay, so we were really going to come out in opposition to Chuck Hagel here at WOOF, because we just can’t stand it when American politicians see centrist smarminess as obliging them somehow to excoriate the Jewish State and make goo-goo eyes at the homicidal terrorist sects of the Middle east—but then we thought—wait! Let’s be open-minded about this—you know, open-minded in a kind of Allan Bloom sort of way, that is, and let’s look at a some intelligent discussion on the left—maybe something about this whole Jewish issue –and let’s see what a scholarly, judicious review of the facts by a highly qualified scholar of the Left—maybe one who also speaks for a large portion of the Jewish intelligentsia both here and abroad, has to say about all this. And to paraphrase Tom Laughlin in Billy Jack, we tried, dear readers, we really tried! But our efforts took us ultimately to the Daily Beast and an article by exactly the kind of writer we were in search of—and we were right back to Joe McCarthy and HUAC—can you believe that? And they say there’s no God.
Look, Chuck Hagel is going to be President Obama’s nomination for Secretary of Defense, and he’ll get the job if he wants it, because there aren’t enough rational Republicans in either house to deny The Great Helmsman his druthers in this matter (short of his picking Emily“Yolanda” Harris, maybe—no, she might get it too). And although WOOF has consistently advocated Ted Nugent for the DefSec position, we were almost willing to go along with Hagel. But what really changed our minds was reading the afore-mentioned Daily Beast column by Dr. Bernard Avishai. We don’t pretend to be able to keep up with Dr. Avishai intellectually. How do you keep up with the dianoetic output
of a man who can write the sentence, “We knew for whom an unfair, impatient, insane America would not ‘be good for.’” Admit it, you’re lost too, right? But Bernard Avishai seems like an okay guy to us, albeit way to our Left—and who isn’t? He’s an important fixture at places like Duke and MIT, and International Director of a whole bunch of firms we don’t even know the acronyms for, and technology editor of the Harvard Business Review. Besides Harvard, he is also associated with numerous additional far-left groups and enterpises like The New Yorker, The New York Times Review of Books, Harper’s and a variety of other subversive publications, so when he dashed off a column for the Daily Beast, we tried to get some intellectual ballast out of it—we tried to find the common ground—to reach across the aisle—but all we learned was that Dr. Avishai thought Joe McCarthy was scary and bad, and he was proud that the American Jewish intellectual community, which was good in those days, resisted him. Warming to this remembrance, Avishai writes, “speaking of McCarthyism—the first thick book I read [he was very little, in his defense] was Louis Nizer’s My Life in Court, which was largely about the libel case of Quentin Reynolds against Westbrook Pegler, the impresario of the scurrilous Red Channels.” Right there we were lost again! Did Joe McCarthy secretly morph into Westbrook Pegler and once having done so, secretly publish the infamous pamphlet Red Channels? This is a particularly weird assertion, not only because Joe never actually impersonated Westbrook Pegler, whom he barely knew, but also because Westbrook Pegler didn’t publish Red Channels—it being mainly assembled by FBI agent Ted C. Kirkpatrick under the incautious oversight of Vincent Hartnett, who was in fact sued by John Henry Faulke, not by Quentin Reynolds. For the record, Reynolds sued Pegler for libel because Pegler called him a coward, not a communist. We think that some Straussian-style formulaic re-understanding of history is probably taught at the University of Toronto where Avishai got his doctorate; the kind of codified subtext in which nobody is really who it seems when it seems they should be, while they are often hinted to have interacted with those whom they never met nor were, but whom they might have met or even become had they been who they previously were not—maybe.
Naturally, Dr. Avishai lionizes certain defenders of liberty and the political center against the barbarous incursions of the McCarthyites. He offers us the names of a few of these valiant defenders. He mentions Arthur Miller, whose 1953 play, “The Crucible,” was a transparent slap at the House Un-American Activities Committee before which Miller had appeared as an invited guest, and we are reminded about brave little I.F. Stone who faced the forces of reaction like a mid-century David taunting the titans of militarism and paranoia.There was also, Avishai refelcts, Commentary Magazine, “before Norman Podhoretz lost his mind.” Umm—okay—so we have here a salute to Arthur Miller, known communist, I.F. Stone,
known communist, and Norman Podhoretz who became a leading light of NeoConservatism and is therefore written off as insane? Crypto-communists, it seems, are rational and brave, whereas neocons are nuts—and finally, Podhoretz is portrayed as having gone so utterly bonkers he seems to have taken the whole of Jewish intellectualism with him over to the dark side, because, as Avishai reveals, “…certain major Jewish organizations [he names the ADL, AIPAC, American Jewish Committee, Republican Jewish Coalition]—“are among the most consistent purveyors of McCarthyite-style outrages in America today.” See, we thought when Arthur Miller didn’t tell HUAC that he wrote under a pseudonym for the Daily Worker and was a lifelong communist sympathizer, that was a “McCarthyite outrage”—or when I.F. Stone presented himself as feisty, free-thinking little “Izzy” just trying to “speak truth to power,” without mentioning that the commies had him on salary and his Russian intelligence codename was “Pancake.” But then, who would want to admit that? Maybe you would tell somebody like Dick Cavett, “Yeah, Dick, in truth I’m a clandestine Soviet-style communist agent of influence– been one since the ‘30s in fact!” [but] “And back in Moscow they call me ‘pancake”? Nah—that’s asking a lot.
So let us get this straight, okay Dr. Avishai! According to you, we need to have Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense because a lot of Jewish groups that you are no longer proud of don’t like him, and if they keep him from becoming Secretary of Defense, that’s a victory for McCarthyism. And this might happen because Jewish Americans formed a big conga line in the ‘70s and followed Norman Podhoretz (who lost his mind) to the partial right of the political landscape? And these Jewish intellectuals are the purveyors of McCarthyism today? And the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is now somehow a McCarthyite cabal, because as you write, sir, “Congresspeople will tell you openly that AIPAC has become one of the most feared, and secretly loathed, presences on Capitol Hill.” (And say, if they’re secretly feared, why do these congress—uh—people, tell us about it “openly?”) And another weird thing, Dr. Avishai—did you notice that you never got around to telling us why we should actually like Chuck Hagel? In fact you say you “won’t presume to go through the credentials that make Chuck Hagel fit for appointment as Defense Secretary…”
So darn it, our best efforts just led us right back to where we wound up after we began—(look, now he has us doing it!) You’ve almost single handedly persuaded us to oppose Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Secretary of Defense, Dr. Avishai—not that it’ll matter! It’s a mean season for us poor McCarthyites, Bernard. (By the way, may we call you Bernard?) You might send a kind thought our way now and then. You might try a little bourbon and sympathy. Because the day hasn’t dawned that Lindsey Graham’s tapioca-like resistance can stave off the media-driven destructiveness of Barrack Obama –and thus Chuck Hagel at Defense bestirs the same atmospheric inevitability as flu season in this most hyperborean hour of the American winter. But we don’t care if it’s pointless, dear readers—heck, WOOF has never minded being pointless! WE hereby state our opposition to the appointment of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense—why? Because Joe McCarthy and all those extreme pro-Israeli groups are the only thing between us and Louis Nizer and Arthur Miller…okay, we’re lost again, gentle readers. Just tell your congress “people” out there that you don’t want Chuck Hagel for DefSec—and just to be on the safe side, mention that Emily Harris is out, too!