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Ted Cruz's opposition to Chuck Hagel nomination is reminder about what's wrong in Washington

Ted Cruz's opposition to Chuck Hagel nomination is reminder about what's wrong in Washington

The new junior senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, has an op-ed in USA Today that shows what a sniveling little toad he’s going to be at Capitol Hill. In the piece, he lays out why he’s likely to vote “no” in the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.

If you’re saying “who?” then read this or this. Yeah, that’s who.

A two-time Purple Heart winner, Republican, served Reagan, would be the first enlisted man in that position. Someone whose unflinching support for war in Iraq finally gave way to the reality that young men were sent to die to support a paranoid foreign policy and the lies that supported it. Someone who served two terms as a Republican Nebraska senator but whose outspokenness and honesty has left him a man with no party.

 Watching Cruz roll into town and immediately take on a passionate, committed, smart, reflective American like Chuck Hagel has been awesome and sad for me to watch. 

In other words, a man who is more man than someone like Ted Cruz could ever hope to be.

But because Cruz and our other Texas troglodyte, John Cornyn, are the worst sort of political cowards, they’ve already come out and said they won’t support Hagel’s nomination. The phrase used by Cornyn and other far-right nutjob is that Hagel is “out of the national security mainstream,” especially in his approach to Iran.

That approach? That identifying someone as an “axis of evil” is cartoonish, part of the Rambo-like worldview that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney subscribed to when they ran the country. That we should explore all options when dealing with foreign countries, no matter the brown-ness of their skin. In other words, very much in the national security mainstream but outside the bounds of the far-right nutjobs.

As USA Today puts it in an editorial that runs alongside Cruz’s piece:

On Iran, the rap against Hagel is built on his insistence that a military strike should be taken off the table (which he has recently modified to take Obama’s approach of seeing it as a last-resort option). His prior position was misguided, in our view, but the president, not the Defense secretary, sets foreign policy, and Obama has vowed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

(Also, you’ll see criticism of Hagel because he doesn’t genuflect before Israel, which also makes him smart and principled but a terror supporter in the eyes of people like Cruz and Cornyn.)

Watching Cruz roll into town and immediately take on a passionate, committed, smart, reflective American like Chuck Hagel has been awesome and sad for me to watch. Awesome because I love seeing how the recent election taught the FRNs nothing, how they have such a tin ear to the more moderate, enlightened, fact-gathering America forming around them. Sad because Texas is still behind in its development toward this, and we’re still sending these political dinosaurs to Washington to help us govern.

Is Chuck Hagel perfect? Of course not. For me, his past statements on gays and climate change were extremely worrisome. But if you read about him with an open mind, you see he seems to be the best sort of public servant, one whose opinions are not set in stone, who can change his opinion when the facts overwhelm him, who can admit when he was wrong.

As someone who works for Hagel has noted: “Ironically, his biggest assets for the job — his penchant for putting his country above his party and his willingness to tell hard truths regardless of the political fallout — are precisely why he has a hard fight ahead of him.”

And why his nomination matters, not just to the country but to Texans, as we get an early indication of the small-minded men we’ve elected to sit in judgment of people like Chuck Hagel.

Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel is not qualified to be Secretary of Defense just because he's a war vet. He's qualified because he's challenged war-loving desk jockeys even in his own party.
Ted Cruz sworn in
Ted Cruz says he can't see a scenario in which he would approve the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.