President Barack Obama seems intent on following the Biden Rule when nominating individuals to cabinet posts for his second term. The Biden Rule, of course, states that anyone sharper than “Good “Ol Joe” should not be given consideration. This naturally brings us to the exciting spectacle of the recent Chuck Hagel Senate confirmation hearings for his nomination for Secretary of Defense.
The Hagel hearings were exciting because Mr. Hagel seemed genuinely surprised that he was actually asked hard questions, especially questions about his own past statements. (Those were really hard!) He presumed it would be much like an Obama press conference, where tough questions are as rare as a car shopper purchasing a Chevy Volt. (To his credit, unlike the Volt, Hagel did not catch fire.) Nevertheless, Hagel provided answers to questions that gave one pause if he had been applying for a job as a convenience store clerk, let alone the Secretary of Defense.
For example, Hagel said of the Defense Department, “There are a lot of things I don’t know about. If confirmed, I intend to know a lot more than I do.” That single response inspired me and I quickly shot off a resume to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I included a cover letter stating that I don’t know a lot about quantum physics, but if I get hired to be the dean of MIT’s School of Science, I intend to learn more about all that physics stuff.
Next, Hagel stated that he would not be in a policy-making position. So, he said that he doesn’t know anything and won’t be making any policy decisions. Heck, Obama could have just brought in a guy from Accountemps and avoided the whole spectacle. Hagel was also asked why he received the endorsement of Iran, a government known to despise the United States almost as much as Israel. His response would have generated plenty of laughter in the hearing room had the committee members not already been in full guffaw mode from previous Hagel answers. In response to Iran’s endorsement of him he said in effect that aw, shucks, he didn’t know much about American politics, to say nothing of geo-politics.
To quote President Obama, “Chuck Hagel is the leader that our troops deserve.” To quote our troops, “Yikes!”
Fortunately for Obama, John Kerry sailed through his Senate confirmation for Secretary of State. By “sail” we mean that almost literally as he initially considered sailing his yacht up the Potomac and docking it next to the Lincoln memorial. He was eventually told that there are rules against such things. He was heard to respond, “I’m going to work in the Obama administration, there are no rules.”
Once sworn in, Kerry said, in reference to Hillary Clinton, that he had “big heels to fill.” We’re not completely sure if this was a reference to Hillary Clinton’s rather large hooves or Kerry’s own penchant for red pumps. Lastly, he stated he was very excited to begin his new job, just as soon as he remembered in which state he had registered his yacht (to avoid those pesky high Massachusetts taxes). It was Rhode Island, Maryland or Kansas. He forgets.
Curtice Mang is the author of the new book, The Constitution – I’m Not Kidding and Other Tales of Liberal Folly. He can be contacted at www.mangwrites.com, where one can also purchase his book; or contact Curtice at mangwrites at cox.net.