There is something different these days about cabinet post confirmation hearings. President Obama appears to enjoy either sending signals or communicating messages embodies in the very nature and personal history of people he chooses for various positions.
John Brennan, a veteran intelligence employee was grilled by the Senatorial committee charged with vetting, questioning and either confirming or rejecting candidates. Brennan seems to be a straight forward, well-meaning individual. He has a 92-year-old father and a 91-year-old mother. He is married to the same woman for 34 years. He has served under President George W. Bush as well as President Obama. And his political and policy positions reflect those conflicted ways of looking at things.
For example, does he think water boarding is torture (yes and no). Does torture help, he was asked, to extract information from those merchandising in terror that threatens the US (maybe). Is he for or against extra judicial drone strikes against suspected terrorists? He is personally opposed to them but professionally goes along with administering the program essentially, he said, because he himself does not actually press the button or maneuvers the joy-stick or pulls the trigger that releases the drone’s weapons cache.
Hagel is another story. As former Bush administration adviser Eliot Abrams said a few weeks ago, Hagel is just an everyday run of the mill anti-Semite. And that despite the difficulty of fathoming this is the reason he could sit in his Congressional hearing and agree that he said that the “Jewish Lobby” in Washington intimidates people, but when pressed on the subject also said that he could not name anyone who was intimidated by AIPAC or any other kind of organized Jewish influence on capitol hill.
And that’s’ the point—antisemitism and desiring a weak or a weakened Israel does not require logic. Having it in for Jews is the birthright of every anti-Semite out there. This time of hatred or resentment is irrational by its very nature and definition.
What is President Obama trying to tell us by offering up these personalities as his representatives?