Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's Up with the "Hagel Thing?"

What’s Up with the “Hagel Thing”?
P. Schultz
February 27, 2013

            Well, a question I have is what was the Hagel thing all about? It wasn’t really about Israel because nothing is going to change with regard to our policy toward Israel. Just not happening. And of course when the opposition is based on reports of Hagel connecting with a fictitious “radical” group, you know it isn’t about that.

            So here is what I think. It was all about hiding the weakness of the Republican Party at present. I mean, like a child’s tantrum, which is always an illustration of the child’s powerlessness, the Republican Party threw a tantrum and like a child hoped no one would notice that it was powerless. It was, of course, powerless to stop the approval of Hagel’s nomination, just as it is powerless to affect in any meaningful way his actions as Secretary of Defense. The party is powerless because it lost the last presidential election and those who lose elections lose power.

            But an even more interesting question for me is: Why do the Democrats play along? That is, why don’t the Democrats just call “a spade a spade” and ram through a nomination like Hagel’s? Why do they, the Democrats, that is, play along and let the appearance of a real conflict prevail?

            Now, first, the question itself is interesting, as I have not heard anyone raise it. This might even be more interesting than possible answers. But, second, regarding possible answers the one I like is that the Democrats play along because then, when the powers that be in that party want to justify their compromises with the Republicans, they can do so by pointing the what is alleged to be a deeply divided Washington. “Hey, folks, we had to agree to those cuts in Social Security, in Medicare, and in Medicaid even though we didn’t want to agree to because, well, because Washington is so deeply divided between two parties of relatively equal power.”

            Of course, they really did want to make those “adjustments,” which will help to preserve, they think, the status quo. But at the same time, they cannot say that they want those “adjustments” without threatening their own power. And so, the Democrats play along with the Republicans and pretend that they cannot  govern without the Republicans. Just watch and see what happens with the sequester and I wager that Obama will pretend he was forced to compromise with the Republicans.

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