It turns out the GOP is even less politically astute than we thought, if that’s possible.
Today the Washington press corps is reporting that Republican Senators are going to mount an all-out assault on Chuck Hagel, Obama’s Defense Secretary nominee, because he was opposed to the Iraq War.
Apparently the GOP is under the impression that it’s good politics in America to defend a war that cost a trillion dollars, took the lives of 5,000 young adults, permanently disabled tens of thousands soldiers, was initiated under false pretenses and deception by our leaders, and produced no tangible military result except to delay the ultimate capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden because of the diversion of resources. Americans know that we should never have allowed this giant, wasteful frolic by a foolish President. But for some reason the GOP doesn’t realize this or doesn’t care about it. Perhaps these Senators taking aim at Hagel are using the same pollster to gage public opinion that Mitt Romney used.
The GOP is irate that Hagel, a Republican Senator, has been tapped by Obama. And in general, few things enrage Republicans more than a defector to the other side. It hurts even worse, I suppose, that in this case Obama is the beneficiary.
Another bee in the GOP’s bonnet is that Hagel, if confirmed, would be the first Defense Secretary since the early 1970s to have experienced military combat. He had a horrific experience in a firefight in Vietnam, in which he and his brother were badly wounded and burned by a grenade. He has, for that reason, always looked askance at anyone banging the drums for war. In vain, he tried to persuade his caucus and President Bush that an invasion of Iraq would be ill advised. Recall, too, that virtually nobody on George Bush’s inner team had ever experienced combat. They had experienced little more than the ivory towers of government, academia, think tanks and corporations. The charge was often leveled that the Iraq War was the brainchild of people who didn’t know war, and this accusation always got under the GOP’s skin. Now it’s going to really itch.
Building on the disastrous 2012 election, the GOP is self-flaggelating, seeming to find pleasure in inflicting lasting damage upon itself.