Hagel fate is tied to political posturing

Liberals embrace this Republican

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“I think another thing that’s going to come up is just his overall temperament, and is he suited to run a department or a big agency or a big entity like the Pentagon,” Mr. Corker said Jan. 13 on ABC News’ “This Week.” “I think there are numbers of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about the way he has dealt with them. I have certainly questions about a lot of things.”

The Washington Times, in a report last week about the worst bosses in Congress, said Mr. Hagel ranked second in staff turnover among senators, just behind former Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican. In 2005, nearly half of Mr. Hagel’s 51 staffers quit.

“He was ‘The Cornhusker wears Prada’ to his staff, some of whom describe their former boss as perhaps the most paranoid and abusive in the Senate, one who would rifle through staffers’ desks and berate them for imagined disloyalty,” former Pentagon adviser Michael Rubin told the Washington Free Beacon about Mr. Hagel.

What appears to be widespread Republican opposition is not enough to stop Mr. Hagel’s confirmation.

No Democrat from the Senate majority has voiced opposition, meaning Mr. Hagel, who arrived in Washington as a staunch conservative Republican, would win the Pentagon job thanks to liberal Democrats.

“He was widely perceived as a lone wolf, and don’t believe there is that sense of fraternity among those who served with him that you normally get for a Senate nominee,” said James Carafano, vice president of foreign and defense studies at the Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Hagel has plenty of defenders on Capitol Hill and at the Atlantic Council think tank, where he serves as chairman.

“I think he brings some unique quality to this job,” Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, said on “This Week” when asked about the nominee’s temperament. “He is someone who’s been involved in issues of national security as a United States senator. But I think one thing that’s terribly compelling — and it goes to his credibility with the forces — he’s been a combat soldier. He’s fought. He has literally walked in their boots.”

Brent Scowcroft, an Atlantic Council colleague and national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush, said: “Sen. Hagel is one of the most well-respected and thoughtful voices on both foreign and domestic policy.”

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