Hagel as SecDef?
Posted by Shawn Brimley
Ilan had a great piece on the New Republic's site last week that is worthy of mention. He explores the idea of Senator Chuck Hagel as a potential Secretary of Defense in a Democratic administration. Key quote:
"Appointing a Republican as Secretary of Defense could send a message that Democrats are still too uncomfortable with the military to take on the responsibility of defending our country by themselves. Moreover, there's no reason not to appoint a Democrat. The party has a deep defense bench that includes military and defense advisors for the Obama and Clinton campaigns--many of whom have served in the Pentagon in previous administrations. Some of Chuck Hagel's congressional colleagues such as Senators Jim Webb or Jack Reed are just as qualified to be Secretary of Defense, and have the added benefit of being Democrats."
Totally agree. I think it would send a very positive message for a Democratic President to reach-out and appoint a Republican to the Cabinet, but not to the Pentagon. The Democratic Party is not the party of the 1970s, there are plenty of strong-defense Democrats who would be excellent leaders. During perhaps the most critical national security inheritance in decades, a possible Democratic administration needs to take ownership over the very difficult military issues that will be at play in 2009.