Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Getting the Neocon Band Back Together Again

Today, President Obama officially nominated John Brennan to direct the CIA, since the previous director made a sudden departure (note to prospective Brennan biographers: Watch your step), but the other appointment, of former Nebraska Republican senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, is what got all the attention. Republicans dutifully trooped to the cable cameras to say somberly that they are "troubled" and "concerned" by Hagel's nomination. Though Hagel was once their esteemed colleague, he made them very angry by turning against the Iraq War after having voted for it in the first place. Because, as they will tell you, the war went swimmingly, and anyone who fails to understand that may not have the judgment to lead the Pentagon.

Though they'll almost certainly lose the battle over Hagel's nomination and look like extremists in the process (noticing a pattern here?), Republicans are plainly spoiling for a fight. Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard has gone all-hands-on-deck to oppose Hagel; the magazine's website was promoting four separate anti-Hagel pieces today. And let it not be said that Kristol ever fails to deploy all the resources at his disposal; his Emergency Committee for Israel, whom we last heard from airing ads advocating the bombing of Iran, has already cut anti-Hagel ads (if all that is reminiscent for you of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a pressure group that grew out of Kristol's Project for a New American Century with the purpose of promoting the Iraq War, you've got a good memory). Today Politico reported that the Hagel nomination is just the first piece of Kristol's plan to remake the Republican party in his image. They're getting the neocon band back together! What could possibly go wrong?

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