Hagel Confirmation Hearing: Crazy Questions, Stupid Answers

Owen Poindexter
Chuck Hagel had his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense before the Senate today. Neither the senators asking the questions, nor Hagel himself fared well.

Chuck Hagel had his confirmation hearings for Secretary of Defense today, and praise was scant on both sides. PHOTO: Reuters

Chuck Hagel had his senate confirmation hearing for the post of Secretary of Defense. Hagel is Obama's current most-controversial nominee (until Obama nominates someone to run the EPA). The general consensus on Hagel's confirmation hearing performance: not good.

CNN's Dana Bash reported:

One senator who is undecided but was not at the Armed Services Committee hearing says it is "all the talk ā€“ I mean all the talk." Fellow senators are "shocked" by how ill prepared Hagel seemed for basic questions about controversial comments he has made, this senator said.

A Democrat on the committee supporting Hagel shook his head in disbelief, saying he was surprised Hagel was not more forceful.

Or, put another way,

However, it wasn't just Hagel getting poor reviews. The Nation's George Zornick compiled ten ridiculous questions Hagel was asked at the confirmation hearings. Here's a sampling.

From Senator James Inhofe (R-OK): "The question Iā€™d like to ask you, and you can answer for the record if you like, why do you think that the Iranian foreign ministry so strongly supports your nomination to be the Secretary of Defense?" Inhofe's no vote on Hagel is a forgone conclusion. He also said that confirming Hagel will "embolden our enemies, endanger our allies."

From John McCain (R-Ariz): "Do you think that Syrians should get the weapons they need and perhaps establish a no-fly zone?" Zornick points out that a no-fly zone would lead quickly and inevitably to an air war with Syria. Republcan noise-making over Hagel was not lost on a lot of commenters.

And, of course, this all matters very little. Hagel will get the 55 Democrat votes and 5 Republican votes he needs or he won't, but today probably didn't change much. It makes me wonder if television is to blame for all the ridiculous grandstanding senators do on days like this.

Send your Hagel related thoughts in the comments below and on twitter.