Jennifer Rubin reports that even if Chuck Hagel's nomination to be the next US Secretary of Defense is eventually confirmed, he's damaged goods (Hat Tip: Noah P).
One thing to keep in mind is that Hagel has been so badly scarred in this process and has conducted himself so poorly that neither Democrats or Republicans have much confidence in him. In a remarkable admission, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) says that Hagel’s performance left him with a “significant challenge . . . I can’t lie about that. It was not generally a very good performance. I don’t think it’s totally reflective of the man; [he] obviously, has a very distinguished career both in the military and the government.”
In sum, when and if Hagel gets through he will be a marginal figure, not likely to be given sensitive tasks and unable to carry weight with lawmakers. For Hagel critics and those privately fretting that he is in well over his head, there is consolation in knowing he’ll be a non-player. The choice of deputy secretary of defense then will take on new importance. Who is really going to run the Pentagon?Hopefully, the Pentagon will be run by career bureaucrats, who care about the country more than they care about the Democratic party.