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Jon Soltz Headshot

On Hagel, Neocons Go Off the Sanity Cliff (Again)

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Watching the right-wing try to scare President Obama from nominating Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense has only reinforced the image of Republicans becoming as nonsensical and crazy as the fringe loons that keep driving them further and further to the maniacal right.

You know, the base of the party who shout with frothed mouths that the president is a secret Muslim who also was a devoted Christian in Jeremiah Wright's church, who was born in Kenya, except when he was born in America to a Communist who isn't his reported father, who is a Communist and a Fascist at the same time, somehow.

Yes, that's who the anti-Hagel crazies remind me of, at this point.

Let's take just a couple of examples.

First, Log Cabin Republicans are running ads against Senator Hagel, for comments he made about Ambassador James Hormel's sexuality nearly 20 years ago. Forget that Hormel and the Human Rights Campaign have both accepted Chuck Hagel's apology, along with his commitment to open service for all -- Log Cabin Republicans say they cannot support someone who made comments like that.

The same Log Cabin Republicans who endorsed virulently anti-gay Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to set the entire anti-equality agenda from the White House.

As a side note, VoteVets.org was incredibly involved in overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and I can tell you, first-hand, that Chuck Hagel is committed to keeping it repealed and allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve honorably and openly.

Then there's the incredibly offensive, yet still amazingly bizarre and confused Senator Dan Coats of Indiana.

"I don't know how you can nominate someone and make them secretary of defense who has had so much disrespect for the military. And said so many public things in opposition to the military, what it stands for, the values that it holds. Chuck has alienated an awful lot of people," Coats told a radio station, last week.

Huh?

Chuck Hagel, who served honorably, with his brother, in Vietnam. Chuck Hagel who was awarded the Purple Heart -- twice! Chuck Hagel who championed legislation in the Senate that limited deployments to 12 months, to combat the issue of Stop Loss, which was, literally, breaking our military. Chuck Hagel, who was the lead cosponsor of the 21st Century GI Bill, with Senator Jim Webb.

That Chuck Hagel has "disrespect" for the military and is against "the values that it holds?"

The list goes on and on with these inane attacks on Senator Hagel. They, quite literally, make no sense and are completely contradictory to the facts.

Why are they going so off-the-rails? It boils down to one thing -- Iraq. Neocons will never, ever forgive Senator Hagel for standing up to President Bush, in favor of a pro-troop, pro-security, responsible approach to Iraq. But, now that it is widely accepted that the Iraq War should have never been waged at all, they won't say that. So what they're left with are lines of attack that are as insane as the wacko attacks against President Obama.

And on what basis do they even make these attacks? As far as I can tell, none of them has ever served in combat -- the Weekly Standard's William Kristol, included. Some of them never even met Chuck Hagel. But, to me, a Jewish-American war Veteran who knows Chuck Hagel well, there's no one I'd want more heading the Pentagon.

And so, on this, President Obama should take a note from his newest friend, Governor Chris Christie.

When Christie appointed a Muslim to a judicial post in New Jersey, the attacks came hard and fast from the right that it was Sharia Law being forced upon the United States. It was the same kind of nonsense, aimed at getting the governor to pull the nomination, just as the right is trying to scare President Obama from making his nomination of Hagel, now. Yet, at a press conference, Christie had enough, and said:

"It's just crazy, and I'm tired of dealing with the crazies... I'm happy that he's willing to serve after all this baloney."

President Obama, have you had enough of the crazies, yet? Then stand up and do something about it.